Recent history suggests Javonte Williams may not be with Broncos past 2024

Could we be seeing the last of Javonte Williams as a Denver Bronco so soon?

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

In recent years, it has become evident that the running back position—one of the NFL's pivotal roles in football—has been significantly undervalued. Despite shouldering a demanding workload, enduring relentless hits with brute force, and potentially contributing the most to offenses, running backs have become increasingly dispensable, often branded with premature career expiration dates.

Earlier this week, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and Tony Pollard’s names all circulated the web after failing to secure long-term deals with their respective teams before the NFL’s franchise tag deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Monday.

Unfortunately, this looks to be a trend in the NFL that doesn’t seem to be improving for ball carriers across the league.  

NFL reporter Jeff Darlington shared a statement provided to him by an anonymous GM in the league:

“I don’t think this trend of the diminishing contracts is going to end anytime soon. I’d rather draft one high and let him walk after 5 years than pay him big money.”

What does all of this have to do with the Denver Broncos and Javonte Williams, and why is there a possibility of seeing him wear a different uniform after 2024?

Williams is now entering the third year of his four-year contract with the Denver Broncos after being drafted in 2021. Additionally, he is recovering from an injury that resulted in a torn ACL, LCL, and PLC (posterolateral corner) in his right knee.

Although it appears that he is making a swift recovery and all indications suggest that he will be ready for the start of the upcoming season, there is legitimate concern that he may not regain the same level of physicality and dominance he possessed before his injury, particularly as a bruising and punishing running back.

So here’s the catch-22.

If Williams does indeed make a full recovery and reverts back to being the bulldozing ball carrier he was prior to his injury, the Broncos will face the decision of whether he deserves a lucrative contract, and they will have to make that determination swiftly. With just one year remaining on his contract after the upcoming season, Denver will need to proactively consider whether drafting a new lead running back for the future would potentially be more advantageous for the team rather than committing to a second substantial contract for Williams.

So, what if he does shine? What are the chances Denver decides to keep Williams? If history is any indication, the chances are not very high.

In 2013, former first-round draft pick, Knowshon Moreno, finished second place in the NFL's 'Comeback Player of the Year' award voting. He concluded the final year of his contract with 1,038 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, along with 60 receptions for 548 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. Moreno's contributions played a pivotal role in aiding a Peyton Manning-led offense in achieving one of the most remarkable regular seasons in NFL history.

However, despite his production, the Broncos opted to pursue more cost-effective options at the running back position and decided to let him go when his contract expired.

Since then, the Broncos have not awarded a second 'big money' contract to any other running back besides C.J. Anderson. Furthermore, no other running back has remained with the team for more than four years, even including fan-favorite Phillip Lindsay, who achieved consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons but was released after his third season.

What would be the outcome if Williams was unable to fully regain his strength?

The unfortunate reality is Williams would become even more expendable. The Broncos have already signed Samaje Perine to a 2-year, $7,500,000 contract this offseason. If Williams does not exhibit any signs of his former self, it is highly likely that the team will actively seek a potential replacement in the upcoming draft and gradually reduce Perine and Williams’ role until they are ready to rely on the new lead back.


Regardless of the trajectory of Williams' recovery, it appears unlikely that the Broncos will extend his contract beyond his rookie deal. Broncos Country, prepare yourselves, as it seems that we may not have the electrifying running back in orange and blue for too much longer.   

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