Ravens Reach Long-Term Deal With Defensive Tackle Brandon Williams

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The Ravens can mark a top offseason priority off their list.

Baltimore has reached an agreement in principle with defensive tackle Brandon Williams on a five-year contract, the team announced Thursday evening.

The deal is reportedly worth $54 million with $27.5 million guaranteed, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, making Williams the league's highest-paid nose tackle.

The Ravens made it no secret how badly they wanted to keep Williams in purple and black, as Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this offseason that "we have to try to retain him" because "he's an 'A' player for us."

The 28-year-old defender has been one of Baltimore's most consistent players over the last three seasons. He anchors the defensive line by taking on double teams to stuff the run, and Baltimore has given up the third-fewest rushing yards (93.8 per game) in the NFL since Williams became a starter in 2014.

Re-signing Williams allows the Ravens to keep one of their top young players in Baltimore. They originally selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Missouri Southern State, and he is one of the best small-school prospects the Ravens have ever found.

Williams now joins privileged company like Terrell Suggs, Jimmy Smith, Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as home-grown Ravens defenders who have received lucrative second contracts from the organization.

In addition to his performance on the field, Williams has also become a fan favorite. He's active on social media and in the community, and said on several occasions that he wanted to stay with the Ravens.

Williams opted to stay in Baltimore over reported interest from the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans.

Keeping Williams required some crafty salary cap maneuvering by General Manager Ozzie Newsome over the last 48 hours. The Ravens freed up the cash to keep Williams by releasing outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and defensive backs Shareece Wright and Kendrick Lewis.

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