The team never cleared Williams, who missed the final five games, and he opted to have his left shoulder operated on after the season in order to tighten it up and lessen the possibility of a recurrence, a source said. The good news for Williams is that the recovery won’t keep him out of much. He could miss the beginning of Organized Team Activities, but it’s likely he’ll be back by minicamp and there’s no doubt about him being full strength for the start of training camp in July.
The real question is what team he’ll be playing for at that point. Williams, 25, will become an unrestricted free agent next month and is sure to draw significant interest. When the Dolphins had his rights as a restricted free agent last year, the Patriots brought him in for a visit.
Williams said last December he hopes to be back with Miami and added that any bad feelings about how things went in the 2017 offseason were behind him.
“I’m confident this is where I want to be,” he said. “They understand that. I’m just thinking about my shoulder right now… This is where I want to be. I’ll leave that up to the guys upstairs.”
He had a breakout year under Adam Gase in 2016 with 364 yards rushing and receiving and was third on the team with six total touchdowns.
When the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi in October, they installed Williams as the starter in aa two-back system with Kenyan Drake. In his first three games, he totaled 202 yards (5.8 per touch) and a touchdown. He separated his shoulder at New England on Nov. 26 and never made it back.
Williams made approximately $3.3 million in his first four years with Miami after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014. More than half of that came while playing for a $1.8 million tender last year.
With only Drake and a few unheralded young players under contract for the upcoming season, the Dolphins have the sixth-lowest salary cap total for running backs at $2.7 million. Drake is scheduled to make $910,315 this season and $1 million next year.
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