The Browns have released the embattled defensive back, head coach Hue Jackson confirmed Monday afternoon. Williams was suspended for two weeks by the Browns on Aug. 17 after a dispute with the staff involving his physical status and playing time, stemming from an ankle injury and turning down the opportunity to have a full workload in preseason action.
Williams signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and burst onto the scene after usurping first-round selection Justin Gilbert on the depth chart, serving as an effective nickel back for a Browns team that finished 7-9. Williams was seen as a promising piece in Cleveland's defense, but sustained a significant setback upon clashing with the new staff this season, ultimately leading to his release Monday.
Williams' release makes the offseason acquisition of veteran defensive back Jamar Taylor that much more important to a secondary that is already vulnerable following the loss of safety Tashaun Gipson to free agency and the release of veteran safety Donte Whitner. It also leaves one less competitor for the third or fourth corner position for Gilbert, who is attempting to salvage his career in Cleveland, which has so far been a massive disappointment.