After being silent over the first day-plus of the legal tampering period (lol), the Ravens reached an agreement with free agent safety Marcus Williams.
Safety Marcus Williams is agreeing to terms with the Baltimore Ravens on a five-year deal worth $70 million, per source. Big market-shifting deal in AFC North.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 15, 2022
Williams, 25, was the New Orleans Saints’ second-round pick out of Utah in 2017. In 76 starts over five seasons, he has 15 interceptions and 38 passes defensed. RSR staff react to the news here…
What this move does for the secondary:
– Settles the secondary; now you can move Stephens to the slot
– Enables the team to play two high & different zone coverages
Compete with the elite offenses when they need that shell coverage approach
– Frees the CBs to take more risks https://t.co/VEhDQABzw1
— Dev Panchwagh (@devpanchwagh) March 15, 2022
Well, you wanted a splash, Flock. This would be that splash.
Assuming a return to health by their top corners, Williams could truly thrive in a single-high look, cheating on outside receivers and cutting off seam routes by opposing tight ends and slot weapons. Williams is very talented playing the ball, and is considered to be a heady player.
There is still some work to do on this Ravens’ roster — believe that. But this is a big move on a still-25-years-old player who can be a longtime solution at an important position. You just have to chalk this up as a win at this point.
A double win in my eyes…Ravens get a better and younger player than Mathieu. https://t.co/EEJfJ2LEOf
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) March 15, 2022
Given yesterday’s rumblings that Baltimore had pursued Emmanuel Ogbah and/or a potential reunion with Za’Darius Smith, I was fully expecting that EDGE was the priority target for EDC and Co. in Free Agency.
Needless to say, I’m VERY surprised to see the Ravens land Marcus Williams. I figured his price tag would be way too steep, and his deal will certainly have implications elsewhere, but that secondary group looks… formidable, to say the least.
On the heels of this move, I’m looking to see how the front office works some money magic and creates more cap space. I have a feeling they’re not done.
Insticitive, rangy, gets hands on the ball, true center-fielder in New Orleans. Always got the feeling he could be even more valuable to a team if asked to do more. He will get that chance in Baltimore. Age and that potential make this a great fit for the Ravens at that price https://t.co/kZbY9EwzJc
— James Ogden (@NflOgden) March 15, 2022
Eric DeCosta is not afraid to spend big money in the secondary, even when money is tight. I think many fans were expecting Tyrann Mathieu as a possibility but Williams is an ascending younger player with probably a better future. At only 25 years old and with already 15 career interceptions it’s clear the Ravens want more turnovers this year. DeCosta addressed this topic at his presser at the end of the season. Kyle Hamilton is not going to fall to the Ravens this year in the draft so in my opinion it was a position well worth investing in.
As the old saying goes, real EDC’s move in silence.
No one saw this coming but the Ravens just got the center fielder they’ve been missing since Earl Thomas was released.
I like it. A front-loaded contract for a young player.
The Ravens gave up a lot of big plays last year on defense. This addresses that.
The secondary looks loaded for next year.
A good argument can be made that a legit, ball-hawking free safety was and has been the #1 need for the Ravens for quite some time. With everyone focused on the pass rush (that will come in the draft) and the offensive line, I feel this was the best way to spend a lot of cap space.
Williams is a true “center fielder” at safety. He is extremely durable, as he has only missed a handful of games in his career. He has 15 INTs in his career and forced 3 fumbles. He has been PFF’s #1 graded FS since 2019, with a grade over 90.
We got lucky that the Saints are in cap hell because players like this do not normally become available, especially when you consider that he doesn’t turn 26 until early September. For all the Ravens fans that wanted Honey Badger, this is a much better signing.
He also allows the team to open up the playbook for a player like Brandon Stephens and allows the secondary to perhaps gamble a little more for turnovers, something this team really struggled with last year.
There is a lot more this team needs to do but but this is an excellent start.
This is a deal that feels good with the current market and salary cap, but will look even better in 2-3 years. Williams is just 25 and a true ball-hawking ‘center field’ free safety, who can also effectively drop down against the run. He can secure the back end and give more freedom to Humphrey, Peters and even Stephens to make plays and force turnovers.