OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After a quiet first day of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens reached agreements with safety Marcus Williams and offensive tackle Morgan Moses on Tuesday, according to sources.
The Ravens found their ball-hawking safety in Williams and an answer at right tackle in Moses.
Baltimore and Williams reached an agreement on a five-year, $70 million deal, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. This deal includes $37 million, including $31 million in the next year, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Hours later, the Ravens reached an agreement with Moses on a three-year, $15 million deal. The move was first reported by The Athletic.
Williams, a full-time starter at free safety for the New Orleans Saints since he was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft, played under the franchise tag last season ($10.612 million) after the two sides were unable to work out a long -term deal.
Williams, who turns 26 in September, has been a huge part of the defensive turnaround in New Orleans, a unit that ranks sixth in the NFL in both yards and points allowed since he arrived. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has 15 career interceptions in the regular season, including one returned for a touchdown in 2019, and one interception in the playoffs. He also has three forced fumbles, 38 pass defenses and 321 tackles.
Although he has never been selected to a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team, Williams is widely regarded as one of the NFL’s top safeties. Pro Football Focus has graded him among the league’s top seven safeties in each of the past three seasons.
Williams’ most infamous play was his missed tackle against then-Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs in the “Minneapolis Miracle” playoff loss at the end of his rookie year. But he has improved as a tackler throughout his career, and he recorded a career-high 74 tackles in 2021. By adding Williams, the Ravens are looking to bolster a pass defense that struggled mightily last season.
With Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters injured, Baltimore allowed the most passing yards (4,986), yards per reception (12.6) and average yards after the catch (6.4) in the NFL last season. The Ravens’ pass defense also gave up a franchise-worst 31 touchdown passes and intercepted only nine passes.
This continues Baltimore’s strong investment in its secondary. Over the past three years, the Ravens have invested $71 million in guaranteed money in the defensive backfield: Humphrey ($40 million), Peters ($21 million) and safety Chuck Clark ($10 million).
The Ravens have not made many splashes in free agency, but when they do it’s typically for a safety — with mixed results. Baltimore signed Eric Weddle in 2016 and Earl Thomas in 2019. Weddle became one of the Ravens’ best free-agent additions, but Thomas lasted only one full season, getting cut after an altercation with a teammate at training camp.
After addressing the secondary, the Ravens turned their attention to an offensive line that gave up a franchise-worst 57 sacks last season. Moses, who turned 31 in March, is one of the most durable players in the NFL, having played in 113 consecutive games, dating to his second season with Washington (2015). He missed only one start in that span, and it was for the Jets in the 2021 season opener.
After signing a one-year, $3.6 million contract last June, Moses was placed into a competition with George Fant at right tackle. After a close battle in the preseason, the coaches opted for Fant, but Moses’ time on the bench didn’t last long.
In Week 1, the Jets moved Fant to left tackle when Mekhi Becton went down because of a knee injury, opening a spot at right tackle for Moses. He started the final 16 games, earning praise for his toughness and leadership.
Moses ranked 16th in pass-block win rate among 68 qualifying tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Jets’ running game got off to a dreadfully slow start, but they finished second in the league in yards per carry (5.17) over the final eight weeks.
He couldn’t finish the last game because of a knee injury, but he was cleared afterward and was told he didn’t need surgery. The 6-foot-8, 318-pound Moses said he has “a lot of football left to play.”
Right tackle was a problem spot for Baltimore last season. The Ravens had four linemen play at least 60 snaps at right tackle in 2021.
ESPN’s Mike Triplett and Rich Cimini contributed to this report.