In Baltimore’s first move of free agency, the Ravens made a massive splash by inking former New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams to a 5-year, $70 million contract.
The $70 million deal includes $37 million guaranteed, with $31 million paid out within the first year of the contract. The front loaded contract means the Ravens won’t take much of a cap hit down the line should Baltimore choose to release Williams.
Marcus Williams Provides Ravens an Instant Upgrade
Williams is a massive upgrade for a big position of need for the Ravens. Baltimore’s pass defense ranked dead last in the league last season so reinforcements were needed. Though injuries robbed the secondary of much of its talent, the Ravens still play one of the best passing attacks in the league in Cincinnati twice a year.
Marcus Williams is widely viewed around the league as one of the top ascending players in the league. Williams was routinely listed as one of the top free agents in the open market. Williams has been a stalwart for the New Orleans defense and a difference maker for the Saints in every facet of the game. A true ball-hawk, Williams has 15 career interceptions since entering the league in 2017. He is clearly a threat to force a turnover every time the ball is in the air.
It is that kind of turnover making threat the Ravens have been looking for since the departure of Ed Reed. Baltimore has invested heavily into its secondary over the last few years but a true, rangy, play-making safety has been a big missing piece for the Ravens.
At only 25 years old, Williams is a young player with plenty of football ahead of him. While he has been tremendous in New Orleans, it can be argued that Williams has only scratched the surface of his true potential. A scary thought is that Williams still has room to grow — and he will get to do that in Baltimore.
What Williams’ Signing Means for Ravens Secondary
The arrival of Marcus Williams means big things for the Ravens secondary. Chuck Clark can remain in his more traditional strong safety role that he excels at. Brandon Stephens, a 2021 3rd round pick, can slide into the third safety spot, which is his most ideal role. Stephens is a versatile piece that can be used all over the field and with Williams manning one of the high safeties spots, that frees up Stephens to be used wherever he is needed.
This signing, though large at first glance, is a coup for the Ravens. Still trying to right the wrongs of the Earl Thomas contract, the Ravens may have finally done so. Williams is a young, ascending player who is already seen as one of the best at his position. The Ravens filled a big void with their first free agent signing of the year.