Reporting Grant Paulsen
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Redskins may have found a new starting free safety.
Madieu Williams, an eight-year NFL veteran who played his college ball at the University of Maryland, agreed to terms with Washington on Tuesday afternoon. He will officially sign his new pact with the Redskins on Wednesday, according to a league source.
The 30-year-old free safety was a starter throughout his career prior to last season, when he played in 15 games (mostly as a reserve) for the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFL’s 2010 Walter Peyton “Man of the Year” award winner has been known for two things throughout his NFL career. High character and injury issues.
Williams has played in 16 games just three times since the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the second round of the 2004 draft. He’s only missed three games in the past three seasons, but the 203-pound defender missed 22 games during a four season stretch from 2005 to 2008.
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Born in Sierra Leone, Williams moved to Lannham, Md. when he was nine. Having attended Towson University before finishing his collegiate career at Maryland, signing with the Redskins is something of a homecoming.
Williams has played in 103 NFL games, starting 86 of them. He’s tallied 488 tackles and registered 12 interceptions, defending 35 passes while forcing four fumbles.
With no starting free safety on the roster, the Redskins are expected to have an open competition at the position. Williams would enter training camp the favorite in a competition that would currently also include veteran backup Reed Doughty and second-year Nebraska product DeJon Gomes. But Washington’s roster isn’t a finished product yet.
The Redskins could still sign safety help in free agency and with the draft coming at the end of this month it would only make sense for Washington to add a safety in the middle or late rounds.