This offseason, our best nose tackle, the run stuffing monster Brandon Williams, will be a free agent. There is a good chance that Williams could be leaving the Ravens. Teams in the market for nose tackles, will probably be making Brandon Williams a hefty offer, that would tempt him to slip away from Baltimore. The Ravens will have to match that offer if they want to keep Williams, or hope he’d be willing to take less to stay in Baltimore. However, at 27 years old with a bright career still ahead, it is doubtful that Williams would do such a thing.
The Ravens will have to decide, do they want to strain their already tight salary cap to keep Williams or are they willing to part with him as he is entering his prime. The Ravens have let many great players go in the past, including most recently players such as Anquan Boldin, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Torrey Smith. Letting Williams walk would be a typical move for Baltimore, but recently the strategy has not worked very well. Since winning the Super Bowl the Ravens have only been to the playoffs once out of four years, and this is partially because of letting players like these go.
The Ravens could do what they did to Justin Tucker last season with and franchise tag Williams. Doing this would buy the Ravens more time to work out a long term deal with him, but would also hit the salary cap hard. If the Ravens franchise tag Williams, his salary for 2017 would be somewhere between $13 million and $14 million. Williams’ salary in 2016 was roughly $1.7 million, so tagging him would sharply increase his salary.
The Ravens could also try to work out a deal with him before the free agency period in the NFL begins. If both parties can settle on a deal, that would ensure that Williams would be in Baltimore for at least the next 4-5 years. The problem with this, and the tag option, is that it would heavily strain the Ravens salary cap, and they would likely be forced to part ways with some veterans eating a large chunk of the cap. Brandon Williams is a great player and an excellent person on and off the field, and it would be great if Baltimore keeps him. However, it is impossible to tell at this moment what will happen.