The New Orleans Saints are bringing back versatile cornerback P.J. Williams on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
Williams battled injuries and inconsistency early in his career, but he found a niche over the past two seasons as a nickelback with the Saints, playing about 80% of their defensive snaps inside the slot when active. He also filled in at safety when needed because of injuries late last season.
The Saints let cornerback Eli Apple go in free agency, and they switched from Vonn Bell to Malcolm Jenkins at free safety. But they still have a deep, experienced secondary with cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, Williams, Patrick Robinson and Justin Hardee and safeties Jenkins, Marcus Williams and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, among others.
The 6-foot, 196-pounder, who signed a one-year deal with the Saints last offseason for $2.25 million, was suspended for two games in 2019 because of a January arrest for driving while intoxicated. He later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Williams started 23 games, including the playoffs, over the past three seasons and had four interceptions and 27 passes defensed. He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after a 2018 win at Minnesota, during which he helped to force a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.
Williams, a 2015 third-round pick who turns 27 on June 1, played in only two games in his first two seasons because of a hamstring injury and a concussion that landed him on injured reserve in back-to-back seasons.