Saints agree to terms with CB P.J. Williams on one-year contract

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The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with cornerback P.J. Williams on a one-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Williams, 6-0, 196, was originally selected by New Orleans in the third round (78th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida State. He has appeared in 62 career regular season games with 26 starts, posting career totals of 185 tackles (145 solo), two sacks, five interceptions, one returned 45 yards for a touchdown, 26 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four special teams stops. In seven postseason contests with two starts, he has added 16 tackles (13 solo), six passes defensed and one special teams stop.

In 2020, Williams played in 15 regular season games with three starts, including opening the last two games at free safety, and posted 37 tackles (28 solo), one interception return for 30 yards, two passes defensed, a career-high and club-best two fumble recoveries and a career-high three special teams stops. He recorded a pass defensed and one special teams stop in two postseason contests.

New Orleans Saints Cornerback P.J. Williams
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Opening remarks:
“First, I want to start off by thanking Mickey Loomis, Mrs. Benson and Coach Payton for the opportunity to continue my career as a New Orleans Saint. It’s been six great years, about to make it seven which is definitely a blessing to be able to play on a same team for this amount of years. I just want to start out by thanking them and I just felt like this was the best decision for me and my career and my family just being in a place where I’ve been comfortable with, know the coaches, they know me and we equally just have a great understanding of where I am in my career and where I’m trying to go and just (take advantage of) the opportunity.”

What do you mean by that? Just understanding where you’re at and where you want to go. How important was that to you when you were making this decision?
“Just understanding me, who I am as a player. Going to another team, you have to, for sure, prove yourself to be who you are. That’s not a problem, but them understanding me as a player and leader and just knowing what I can do for the room. I feel like that was big with making this decision.”

You’re almost like the old guy in the secondary room. Does it feel like that? And how much does that experience just help you feel like?
“Yeah, pretty much, but I don’t really feel like it. But ultimately, I am. And I feel like just the fact that we have a comfortable room, we’re all comfortable with each other. It’s not really like that, we let people be able to voice their opinions and stuff like that. So it’s definitely a role that I am willing to take on and expand on with my career, just being able to lead the young guys and let them know what is right and what is wrong. Especially being there when it was good and when it was bad as in when we were losing and when we were winning. So that’s definitely a big thing for me.”

I had like a follow up to that too. I wanted to ask you about just, you think about those injuries you had early in your career, how much do you just appreciate still being around and just being a part of all this after going through that?
“Yeah, I’m very appreciative because of that. I know some guys get hurt early in their career and end up out the door. So I love them for being able to trust in me and then feeling like I can come back from that and just seeing my potential and then when I was able to start playing just a mutual feeling. They knew I can do it. I know I can do it. And I’ve been here for as long as I’ve been.”

You kind of did the whole Swiss Army Knife thing last season. Did that make you a better player you feel?
“Oh yeah, no doubt. No doubt I feel like it made me a better player. (Playing) in all those positions and understanding the details a lot more and understanding what’s hard at each position and what’s better. So I feel like that definitely made me better player.”

Does that affect your film study, your study habits, did that affect that also?
“Oh yeah, definitely. It definitely affected it because playing different positions you watch film a lot differently. But ultimately, it helps it as well. But when you’ve just got to focus on one position that week then it’s a lot different than having to focus on (all the positions).”

Did you even consider going anywhere else? Or we’re you just kind of waiting on the Saints to make an offer so you could come back?
“Yeah, I for sure considered it. You’ve always got to consider your options and weigh your options. But ultimately, I just felt like this was the right fit. I definitely was waiting on their offer, but ultimately it was here for me.”

As somebody who’s been with the organization for so long. What’s it been like watching this offseason? There’s just been a lot of change on the roster already with Drew (Brees) retiring and a couple of guys who played big roles on the team the last couple of years going elsewhere. What has that been like for you watching that?
“Yeah, it’s crazy because this team has been pretty much together for so long, they did a great job keeping us together, but losing big pieces like Drew Brees and other guys, it’s just way different. I’m just excited to see how it’s going to be. And just knowing that it’s going to be a new team. Every year, we look at it as a new team, but really, with those big changes, it’s going to be a new team so I’m excited to go in. And I know everybody else is to get where we need to go and ultimately try to be better.”

I guess you’re the only guy on the team that knows that knows what Jameis Winston is like as a starting quarterback having played with him in college. If he wins the job, how do you feel like he could be as a leader of this team?
“Yeah, man, I just feel like he’s the ultimate leader. He knows how to talk to people. He expresses his opinion and he’s just always going to be real with you. Whoever knows him, they know he’s going to keep it real. I just feel like he’s a great leader, having been around him long enough. He’s one of my good friends and also that was a big decision why I came back, just being able to know a guy like that. I know that’s going to help us be able to win.”

How different was Jameis last year to Jameis you knew at Florida State? Or how much was he the same?
“I don’t know. I feel like he was the same for the most part. Once he got comfortable in there, he led the best he can, but just him not starting, you’ve got to take kind of a backseat to the starter, but I feel like he was himself regardless. I feel like if he is to step into that starting role he will expand on his leadership and that’s going to help the people around him.”

What is it about Jameis that makes people around him better? Is it the physical skills, is it the personality? What is it about him?
“I feel like overall his physical ability and just how he is. I feel like him being himself and knowing how to talk to people and know how to make people around him (better), I feel like he does a great job of that. You don’t feel like he’s being fake. Like some people, you may get fake energy from some people, but with him it’s all real energy. And I feel like good players they feed off real energy.”

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