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Roundtable Reactions: Ravens sign S Marcus Williams

The Beatdown crew respond to the news of Marcus Williams becoming a Baltimore Raven

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens have signed safety Marcus Williams to a five-year, $70 million deal. Below, you’ll find the reactions from staff here at Baltimore Beatdown.

This is one hell of a way to kick off free agency. Fans were in an uproar about offensive lineman flying off the market once the “legal tampering” period opened. Yet, the Ravens stayed true to form and let the overpay market go wild. Now, they’ve landed a top-flight free safety to improve last season’s No. 32 ranked pass defense.

Williams is a brilliant addition to an already strong starting secondary unit. He’s also the exact type of player that can come in and amplify the talents of cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, as well as safety Chuck Clark, who better fits as a strong safety.

Since 2019, Williams has been the highest graded safety according to PFF. He’s excellent in single-high coverage, which is something the Ravens have missed since the departure of Earl Thomas III.

At $14 million AAV, Williams clocks in well below Jamal Adams and Harrison Smith, whose AAV are $17.5 million and $16 million, respectively.

Overall, this is a brilliant addition to a team that desperately needed better defense in a division with the passing ability of the Cincinnati Bengals. — Kyle Barber

Free safety was a pressing need for the Ravens this offseason and by signing Marcus Williams, they land the best available player at the position.

Williams is an elite coverage player and instantly changes the complexion of the Ravens’ defense. He should pair seamlessly with Chuck Clark and company in the secondary and better equips the Ravens to defend some of the AFC’s high-end quarterbacks and passing attacks.

Compared to Tyrann Mathieu, the other top free agent safety who many fans wanted, Williams is a better true free safety, better fit for the Ravens, and several years younger. — Frank Platko

Ravens fans have been in a lull of negativity and self-defeatism since about halfway through the 2021 season, and to some extent even further back than that. Much of it stems from the team’s lack of postseason success in the Lamar Jackson era, and in turn has caused them to lash out at the front office and coaching staff for not doing enough to surround their young QB with talent. To some extent this is fair, but the fact of the matter is, the Ravens have been aggressive, and in signing Marcus Williams, Baltimore’s front office appears undaunted and determined to right one of the key wrongs they’ve made in recent free agent history. That would be the acquisition of Earl Thomas, who after one good season manning the centerfield of M&T Bank Stadium repaid the Ravens faith in him by turning into a complete malcontent. The Thomas situation was a poor result and left Baltimore in a terrible spot, but the fact of the matter is, their process was a good one - just as it was in the moves to pick up Marcus Peters, Yannick Ngakoue, and their attempted pursuit of Xavien Howard.

In my opinion, Williams’ signing is great process to a T, picking up a 26-year old safety with the skill set they need, and the endorsement of a New Orleans organization that would’ve preferred to keep him. I’ll be curious to see how the cap hits are spread out over his five-year, $70 million contract, but regardless, here’s one thing that’s true: the Baltimore Ravens are a much better team than they were an hour ago, and it’s thanks to some calculated aggression by Eric DeCosta and co. Who’d have thought it? — Jake Louque

As much as the Ravens Flock and many analysts wanted the Honey Badger to become a Raven, the Ravens are getting a young playmaker at the position who is still ascending.

Williams fills arguably the team’s biggest need this off-season and will bring a ball-hawking element at the safety position that they haven’t had since they released Eric Weddle following the 2018 season. His range and ball skills will make him a dangerous piece in this defense as well as provide them increased schematic flexibility. This is the splash signing they needed to make to help combat the proliferation of high octane aerial attacks in the league but especially in the AFC. — Joshua Reed

This is a big signing for the Ravens as they look to revamp their defense under Mike Macdonald. Williams has been one of the best safeties in the league and provides much-needed centerfield abilities for Baltimore’s secondary. Williams pairs nicely with Chuck Clark while Brandon Stephens can now move to a dime role or as a slot defender.

The Ravens making a splash on a young playmaker in his prime is refreshing after all of the past-their-prime defensive signings of recent years. In a conference with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and now Russell Wilson, adding a player of Williams’ caliber is massive. — Dustin Cox