1. Marcus Williams
This offseason, the Saints swapped one Marcus for another in the backfield, but the team probably would have liked to keep their young star, Marcus Williams. In an ideal world, NOLA could afford to pay Williams what he was asking for, and Williams would re-sign with his beloved team.
Yet the playmaking safety ultimately landed in Baltimore on a five-year, $70 million dollar deal in one of the biggest surprises of free agency. Williams and Jameis Winston were the two names Saints fans wanted to re-sign in 2022, so at least the team kept one of them.
Williams’ departure felt likely but not inevitable, and with the Saints’ cap space wizards we bet the Saints could have created enough cap space to make Williams an offer he couldn’t refuse. At the end of the day, it came down to where Williams wanted to be, and apparently that place was not NOLA.
Williams gave five productive years to the Saints, recording 320 combined tackles, 38 passes defended, and 15 interceptions since he was drafted in 2017. He played in nearly every regular season game and quickly became a fan-favorite in the defense despite some tackling inconsistencies.
In Williams’ absence, the Saints’ top-10 defense doesn’t take too much of a hit, but Williams nonetheless embodied a potential franchise cornerstone piece, and the team hasn’t immediately found his replacement yet (Tyrann Mathieu??).
The Saints will play the Ravens this year hoping to show Williams what he’s missing, but just like with Hendrickson, the team parted ways with Williams on lukewarm terms. No bad blood here, just a bitter and painful dose of regret.
Instead of imagining what could have been, NOLA will want to get back to winning ways and put the past behind them. Marcus Williams and the others made their choice — let them live with it.