Having a career year during a contract year can go a long way toward getting a player paid.
Defensive tackle Nick Williams knows all about that after he inked a two-year deal, worth up to $10 million this past offseason with the Lions -- with $4.9 million guaranteed.
It came after Williams, a rotational defensive lineman, recorded a career-high six sacks and 42 total tackles in a career-best 16 games with the Chicago Bears a season ago.
The 30-year-old enters a situation in Detroit, in which he will also be expected to split snaps along the defensive line -- with third-year pro Da'Shawn Hand and potentially second-year player Kevin Strong and rookie John Penisini.
Williams and his defensive line counterparts are ready to prove that the Lions' much-maligned defensive line from a year ago is improved and can make a positive impact in 2020.
"We're just ready to get out there and prove to the NFC North and the 'Black and Blue' division that we can play good football," Williams said Thursday during a video conference with Detroit media. "And we can. You know, we got the pieces, we got the defense to be able to do that. And we believe in ourselves, we believe in each other. And the more we're on the field with each other, the more confidence we'll have in each other, and we'll get the job done."
Adjustment has been "smooth" for Will Harris from year No. 1 to year No. 2 of training camp
Safety Will Harris is one of the second-year Lions players that is expected to make a jump in Year No. 2.
Detroit is certainly confident in Harris' ability to become a better football player, too, as it's been giving the 2019 third-round pick some first-team reps throughout the course of training camp.
Harris has been up to the challenge.
"I feel like it's been smooth," Harris said Thursday about adjusting to his second year of training camp. "In comparison to last year, you know, it's always good when you got your feet under you, you've got some games under your belt, you know, some real live action under your belt. And nothing's really taking you by surprise anymore, as far as practice goes, as far as learning the system, you know, having a whole year of scheme under my belt. So, that definitely helps. At this point, I'm just trying to perfect my craft as much as possible."
It should help that Harris played in all 16 games -- and made six starts -- as a rookie a season ago.
However, he also has a new defensive coordinator to learn from in former Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin.
Subsequently, there could be an adjustment period for Harris and other returning Lions players that had Paul Pasqualoni as their defensive coordinator last season.
According to Harris, third-year Detroit head man Matt Patricia and Undlin complement each other well, though, which should lead to an easier transition from Pasqualoni to Undlin.
"Coach Undlin is a super energetic, fiery guy. You know, comes in and really demands the room. You know, same thing with Coach Patricia," Harris said. "So, it's like we have two ... it's good to have just an extra resource to go to, you know, for advice and things on the field. So, it's been great. It's been a great work environment and a great family environment, more than anything else. So, I'm excited, you know, for the season to kick off and I'm excited for where we can go from here."