Pundits Praise Ravens' Reported Deals With Marcus Williams, Morgan Moses
After a quiet first day in free agency for the Ravens, they made a lot of noise on Day 2, reportedly agreeing to deals with ball-hawking safety Marcus Williams and durable offensive tackle Morgan Moses.
The moves are being universally praised by pundits, as the Ravens effectively addressed two positions of need.
In Williams (five years, $70 million) and Moses (three years, $15 million), Baltimore landed two of the top free agents at their respective positions at reasonable prices.
"Baltimore gave Williams $14 million a year, so it didn't get off easy. However, the prevailing thought heading into free agency was that Williams could be looking at deals in the $16 million to $17 million range," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens made him the league's seventh-highest-paid safety, but Williams didn't quite match the deals signed by Denver's Justin Simmons ($15.25 million a year) and Arizona's Budda Baker ($14.75 million)."
"As for Moses, $5 million per year is solid value for a solid starting tackle who has been one of the most durable players in the NFL during his career," Zrebiec wrote. "Moses hasn't missed a game since 2014, his rookie year with Washington."
Here's a sample of what else pundits are saying about the Ravens' moves:
Zrebiec: "Grade: A. I was asked last week if there was one free agent that the Ravens could sign if money was no object, who would it be? I mentioned one of the top edge rushers, like a Chandler Jones, but ultimately settled on Williams. That's because not having a ball-hawking safety who can hold up in coverage and make plays has held the Ravens back defensively. It's been a need for several years. Williams should rectify that. Plus, he's young, durable and dynamic."
CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo: "Grade: A. The longtime Saints safety is going to Baltimore (who, if healthy, now have one of the NFL's top defensive backfields) with a reported five-year, $70 million deal. That's a great bargain for a player who has been one of the league's top defensive backs since coming into the NFL in 2017."
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert: "Grade: A-. If all you know about Williams is that he missed the tackle that led to the Minneapolis Miracle in the 2017 playoffs, well, you've missed a lot yourself. Williams developed into a ball-hawking safety who entered this week ranked No. 2 on ESPN's list of available free agents. … The Ravens had needs on the back end of the secondary — enough to project a solid Round 2 selection in the draft. But with the safety class lacking top-end talents after Kyle Hamilton and no true free safety prospects expected to go in the first round, the Ravens are smart to grab one of the best free agents this offseason."
Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr: "Grade: B+. Williams was the free-agent prize at the position, knowing that the Bengals wouldn't allow Jesse Bates III to hit the market. The 25-year-old fits beautifully with John Harbaugh's organized chaos philosophy and is a capable run defender in addition to his coverage skills. Though the division is trending toward a group of downhill running teams, Williams equalizes the Ravens against the likes of Joe Burrow."
Sharp Football Analysis’ Dan Pizzuta: "Grade: B. This deal comes in just below the top tier of safety contracts just under Kevin Byard, but well under the true top of the market for Jamal Adams, Justin Simmons, and Budda Baker. Williams, who was franchise tagged last offseason, could easily play up to that quality and getting him below those numbers on the open market is a win for the Ravens and a defense built around talent in the secondary."
Pro Football Focus: "Grade: Above average. Williams has become one of the more underappreciated safeties in the NFL in recent seasons, with his costly miscue in the 2017 playoffs still impacting his public perception. However, he has one of the highest wins above replacement (WAR) values among all safeties since 2017, and he's a consistent performer against both the run and the pass."
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: "The Ravens landed a ball-hawking safety that they desperately needed. Williams has intercepted 15 passes over the last five seasons, which are just four fewer than what all Ravens safeties combined for over that same span (19). Last season, quarterbacks showed no fear in going deep against Baltimore, completing 32 passes of 20-plus yards (second-most in the NFL). Teams will have to think twice doing so with Williams patrolling centerfield for the Ravens."
Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried: "Even with the $37 million in guarantees, it's impossible not to look at this as an absolute steal for Baltimore. The Ravens landed one of the best free agents on the entire market. And they did so without having to pay him top dollar. Eric DeCosta strikes again. … It isn't a stretch to say that Marcus Williams is the best safety the Ravens have had since Ed Reed. He's that good. Combine that with his age and the extremely reasonable price tag and this is a home-run signing for the Ravens."
Baltimore Beatdown’s Frank Platko: "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."
Russell Street Report’s Chad Racine: "I think many fans were expecting Tyrann Mathieu as a possibility, but Williams is an ascending younger player with probably a better future. At only 25 years old and with already 15 career interceptions, it's clear the Ravens want more turnovers this year."
Zrebiec: "Grade" B+. There's really nothing negative to say about this signing. Sure, Moses isn't a Pro-Bowl performer at this stage of his career and he has a lot of mileage on his 31-year-old body. But he possesses so many qualities that the Ravens badly needed at the tackle spot: consistency, toughness, durability. He just made too much sense as a signing and DeCosta was able to get it done with a very modest deal for a starting-caliber player."
PFF: "Grade: Above average. Given how the veteran starting tackle free agent market usually goes, this is a strong value signing for Baltimore and an upgrade over Ja'Wuan James at right tackle."
Hensley: "The Ravens have either found an answer at right tackle, or at the very least added more insurance at offensive tackle. Tough and durable, Moses has played in 113 straight games and was the 40th-ranked offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus."
Russell Street Report’s Nikhil Mehta: "The Ravens just added a right tackle(!) who has [played] every game(!!) of the last seven seasons(!!!). This is an ideal replacement for Alejandro Villanueva after his retirement, as Moses can be trusted as a starting right tackle heading into 2022. If Ja'Wuan James doesn't get to where he needs to health-wise, or just doesn't look good enough after not playing for almost three full seasons, the Ravens won't need to rely on Patrick Mekari, a rookie or a practice squad vet."
Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle Barber: "The addition of offensive tackle Morgan Moses is a solid move to help bring about better blocking for Lamar Jackson. Moses is a great option that the Ravens could afford, especially after landing safety Marcus Williams hours prior. Though fans will be overjoyed with the signing of Williams, this move was also a big get. Since 2015, Moses has started in 112 of a possible 113 games. After the injury bug struck the Ravens in 2021, somebody as sure-footed as Moses will be refreshing."
Fried: "The Ravens were looking to bolster their offensive tackle depth this offseason, and Moses does just that. He isn't the most versatile player and the Ravens could still look to add depth behind Ronnie Stanley, but he does give the team a surefire starter at right tackle."
Ravens Reportedly Bringing in Veteran NT Eddie Goldman for a Visit
Bolstering the defensive line is another item on the Ravens' offseason to-do list. With that in mind, the team reportedly is bringing in nose tackle Eddie Goldman for a visit. Goldman was released by the Chicago Bears earlier this week.
"Goldman fits a need for Baltimore while also not affecting the compensatory pick formula since he was cut from his previous team," Baltimore Beatdown’s Dustin Cox wrote. "With longtime Raven Brandon Williams currently a free agent, Baltimore has a massive hole at the nose tackle position in the middle of the defense to fill. Goldman fits the bill at 6-foot-4 320 pounds."
Goldman, a 2015 second-round pick (39th overall), has started 73 games in six seasons with the Bears.
After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, Goldman had his worst season last year, earning a 39.8 overall grade from PFF.
"Goldman is primarily a run-stuffer in a pass-happy league and is two seasons removed from quality play," Cox wrote. "This could lead to a potential favorable market for Baltimore if they decide to kick the tires on the former second-round pick."
TE Eric Tomlinson Reportedly Agrees to Deal With Broncos
It appears the Ravens lost their first of 19 unrestricted free agents, as tight end Eric Tomlinson reportedly agreed to a deal with the Denver Broncos.
Tomlinson, who played in 23 games with the Ravens over the past two seasons, was used almost exclusively as a blocker.
"Tight ends are key in Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's offense, so with an experienced guy like Tomlinson now gone, the Ravens will likely have to add a tight end in either free agency or the draft," Zrebiec wrote.