When the New Orleans Saints began the 2021 offseason, there were at least three primary extension candidates: Marcus Williams, Ryan Ramczyk, and Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore and Ramczyk have yet to be extended and will be playing on the final year of their respective deals in 2021. Marcus Williams, on the other hand, was never under contract for 2021, so an extension with Marcus was the highest priority. Instead of an extension, the Saints applied the franchise tag on their prized safety, keeping him in New Orleans for at least one more season while the two sides continue to discuss a contract.
While Marcus Williams gets a lot of flack from many of the Who Dat faithful after the Minnesota Miracle game, make no mistake about it - he is one of the best young players in the NFL.
For this reason, Bleacher Report recently named a Marcus Williams extension as the one move the Saints still need to make this offseason:
New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams is likely remembered by some fans for being on the wrong end of the Minneapolis Miracle three years ago. However, he has developed into a consistent and reliable starter for the Saints, who gave him the franchise tag this offseason.
Williams will be around for at least one more year in New Orleans, though it would be wise for the Saints to grant him a contract extension. He is set to carry a cap hit of $10.6 million in 2021, and no team is in a worse cap situation.
New Orleans has less than $700,000 in cap space with which to work.
The Saints seem to view Williams as a long-term piece of their defensive puzzle. Otherwise, why give him the franchise tag? In that case, there is little reason to wait on an extension, which could free up enough cap room to make another move or two before the regular season gets underway.
More than signing another cornerback, more than extending their franchise right tackle in Ryan Ramczyk, more than adding another wide receiver to pair with Michael Thomas... A Marcus Williams extension was named the most important move for the Saints to make this offseason, and it’s hard to fault the logic.
#Saints— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) December 11, 2020
S Marcus Williams — Range in the deep half (top of the screen).
That’s key in Dennis Allen’s defensive scheme. Heavy 2-Man — 23.2% of coverage snaps (most in the league). @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/oeYZpqOtVH
It’s not necessarily only about Marcus’s play on the field. It’s also about what a possible extension could do for the 2021 salary cap. Extending him long-term gives the Saints the ability to reduce his 2021 cap hit and free up the money needed to sign their 2021 draft class but also potentially find the money to add that other wide receiver or cornerback to help take the Saints team to the next level.
We’ve heard from Mickey Loomis that the Saints are still talking with their players about extensions, so hopefully we get news on Marcus Williams - and Ryan Ramczyk while we’re at it - soon.