What the Saints should do during the 2021 NFL offseason

NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Step Two: Extend Safety Marcus Williams

Many were surprised that the Saints placed the franchise tag on safety Marcus Williams. However, it is one that makes a lot of sense.

Williams, according to Pro Football Focushas been the third-most valuable safety in the NFL since he was drafted in 2017, and he has a much more diverse skillset that he is credit for:

"“Mostly played as a free safety, he also has some scheme versatility and doesn’t miss many tackles in any part of the field. He has graded above 70.0 in every season of his career so far, with two of his seasons surpassing 88.0.” “Since entering the league in 2017, Williams has ranked near the top of the league in every significant category for safeties. He has earned a coverage grade in the 90th percentile to go with the league’s highest forced-incompletion rate.”"

Remember, he is only 24-years-old! Given how much value safeties offer (they are on the high end of the spectrum in terms of Wins Above Replacement), it simply would be silly to move on from one of the premier players at the position, especially when the franchise tag cost just $10.6 million!

However, in an ideal world, Williams will never play a down with the franchise tag attributed to him. Given his age, he is a piece that they should build their defense around for the future, especially since he is as consistent as he could be given the volatility of defensive backs.

Outside of Michael Thomas, a case can be made that he is the organization’s most valuable player (something WAR would back up, Williams has been worth 1.56 combined wins over the past two years).

Also, an extension could lower Williams’ cap hit for 2021, as they would have the flexibility to structure it in a way that pushed the brunt of it to future years. At that point, how could you not extend him?

Keeping a franchise building block and saving cap space sounds pretty appealing to me!

The Saints have never had a player play out their franchise tag, so I would expect them to do just this. While Williams should anchor their secondary for years to come, the same cannot be said for the next player we’ll focus on.