Don’t look now, but the Arizona Cardinals front office has done it again. On Monday, general manager Steve Keim added yet another veteran performer to the club’s roster. Safety Shawn Williams, who was signed to a one-year contract, is the latest ultra-experienced player to join the Cardinals in 2021.
Williams, who’ll turn 30 years old in May, will likely compete for the team’s strong safety job. Last season’s starter, Jalen Thompson, missed 11 contests because of a lingering ankle injury. Williams is two years removed from a campaign in which he registered 114 tackles, an interception and three passes defensed for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 6’2, 212 pound Williams, who spent his first eight years with the Bengals, made most of his impact as a special-teamer in 2020. The former third-round draft choice made seven tackles as a wedge-buster, and was credited with a total of 16 stops in his 13 appearances. Williams recorded one pass breakup for Cincy’s defense as well.
Back in 2013, Williams was selected by Cincinnati with the draft’s 84th-overall pick. The defensive back played four seasons for the University of Georgia before turning professional. In 54 games (30 starts), Williams racked up 209 tackles, four picks, 11 passes defensed and one sack for the Bulldogs.
In 2016, Williams became a full-time starter at strong safety for the Bengals. The Georgia native tallied 81 tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups and eight quarterback hits during that campaign. The following year, in 2017, Williams contributed 49 tackles, a pick and three passes defensed in 11 starts.
Williams turned in his best performance as a pro in 2018. In 16 starts, the safety registered 110 tackles, five interceptions and nine pass breakups for Cincinnati. During a late-December loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Williams returned an errant Ben Roethlisberger pass 58 yards for a Bengals touchdown.
In related news, Arizona also agreed to terms with another safety on Monday. Chris Banjo, who flocked to the desert in 2019, was handed a one-year deal to remain with the organization. The Cards currently possess a crowded safety room that includes Banjo, Williams, Thompson, Budda Baker, Deionte Thompson, Charles Washington and Chris Miller.