The Ravens made their first move of 2022 free agency on Tuesday, and it was a big one, agreeing to terms with star Saints safety Marcus Williams on a five-year, $70 million contract, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Baltimore was expected to be in the market for safety help this offseason, and Williams was widely considered the top veteran available at the position behind Bengals All-Pro Jessie Bates III, who received the franchise tag ahead of the legal tampering period.
The Saints hoped to retain the 25-year-old Williams on a new deal, and the Jets were also in pursuit, per Fowler, but the Ravens were willing to pay up for the former second-round draft pick's production. After playing under the franchise tag in 2021, Williams will make an average of $14M per year, putting him among the eight highest-paid safeties in the NFL.
He'll join a big-name secondary in Baltimore, which welcomed Mike Macdonald as its new defensive coordinator this offseason, accompanying Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Chuck Clark in the starting lineup.
Williams emerged as a rookie starter in 2017, logging four interceptions for the Saints defense. Since then, he's missed just four games, collecting 11 picks and 31 pass deflections since 2018. After playing alongside Malcolm Jenkins at the back end of New Orleans' secondary in 2020, he would've been the consensus top safety to hit free agency before the Saints used the tag.