It’s always hard for a team to replace a player who has been a consistent 100-tackle-per-year linebacker over his nine-year career, but that is exactly what is going to happen with LB D.J. Williams and the Denver Broncos. The good thing is that the Broncos have already replaced him in the starting lineup with a guy who, in his first year as a starter, had as good of season or better than Williams has ever had.
That guy is LB Wesley Woodyard who posted 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, six passes defensed and one forced fumble in his first year as a starter. Woodyard is a sixth-year pro from Kentucky and is just now 26 years old. Williams is 30 years old and although he can still play at a high level, it is his off-the-field issues that have made it an easy decision to allow Woodyard to step in and become the full-time starter.
Williams served the first part of a nine-game suspension during the first six weeks of the 2012 season for failing the league’s performance-enhancing drug test that was administered in the weeks following the 2011 lockout. He then received a second suspension for three games after he was convicted by a Denver jury on Aug. 15 on a charge of driving while ability impaired.
The Broncos will be just fine without Williams if they let him go and if he stays he could be a great replacement at all three linebacker positions. It’s a win-win deal for the Broncos either way as long as he plays at a reasonable price and stays out of trouble.
It may just be best to let Williams get a fresh start with a new team. The Broncos can’t afford to be risky when their team is so close to being a Super Bowl champion.