Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams has played himself into a win-win situation.
As one of the NFL’s top run-stoppers, Williams will hit free agency March 9 unless the Ravens sign him to a long-term deal, or place the franchise tag on him during the Feb. 15 – March 1 window. Don’t expect the Ravens to franchise Williams, because it would cost them nearly $14 million. However, if the Ravens want to pay Williams that much money on a one-year deal in 2017, he will be glad to take it.
“I know the numbers of the franchise tag,” Williams said Monday on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “That’s not a bad amount of money for one year. If it happens, it happens. Pretty much I just get to be on my team again for another year.
“I just want to play football. That’s really what matters to me, and take care of my family.”
Losing Williams would leave a void on the Ravens’ defensive line, and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said during Senior Bowl week that re-signing Williams was a priority. The leverage the Ravens have is that Williams enjoys playing in Baltimore. However, Williams will turn 28 years old Feb. 21, and knows he must maximize his bargaining position. If the Ravens are unwilling to give Williams the kind of long-term deal he is looking for, another team will.
“This is my first time, obviously, in free agency, and I’m not really sure what to expect,” Williams said. “I’m just going in with a clear mind.
“Baltimore is a great place, it’s not new to me. It’s comfortable, I know the playbook, I don’t have to worry about going to another place and looking for a home for my family, school for my kids. It all comes down to me taking care of my family, taking care of my kids for the long haul. That’s what it comes down to. Baltimore knows that. I’ve talked to (coach John) Harbaugh, (general manager) Ozzie (Newsome)…The biggest thing is taking care of my family.”
Williams’ family will be taken care of. But the question remains. Will the Ravens’ be signing Williams’ checks, or someone else?
“I’m anxious to see where my life takes me in less than a month,” Williams said. “I’m excited, my family’s excited. We’ve talked about it, been praying about it. We’re just excited to see what this new chapter in life holds, whether it’s with Baltimore or somewhere else.”
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