Williams agreed to re-sign with the Ravens on a five-year contract Thursday. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Williams will make $54 million over the course of the contract, with $27.5 million guaranteed. The run-stuffing Williams was Baltimore's main priority among this year's free agent crop that also included right tackle Rick Wagner and versatile fullback Kyle Juszczyk. The Ravens managed to make room for Williams despite making the splash signing of safety Tony Jefferson and picking up Mike Wallace's $5.75 million option. Williams does not have gaudy pass rush numbers that show up in the box score, but he's a space-eating force in the middle that consistently gives opposing interior linemen fits and he is considered one of the premier run-stopping interior linemen in the league. Williams' new deal will make him the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL, per Rapoport.
Williams will become a free agent on March 9 after the Ravens announced that they will not use the franchise tag on the defensive tackle, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports. According to Hensley, the Ravens would've used essentially all of their current available cap space in tagging Williams. With that, Williams is set to hit the open market once free agency begins. The Ravens will likely try to re-sign Williams as he is the team's most valuable free agent, but other teams will be looking to add his run-stopping abilities to their defensive fronts as well.
Williams (back/hand) is active for Sunday's Week 12 matchup with the Bengals, ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley reports. Williams had been listed as questionable with the two injuries, but after practicing fully Thursday and Friday, it doesn't appear he was truly at much risk of missing the game. The nose tackle is coming off one of his better statistical games of the season in Week 11, when he recorded eight tackles (two solo) in a loss to the Cowboys.
The Ravens parted ways with Haloti Ngata, dealt to the Lions in the offseason. Coach John Harbaugh is confident that the center of the team's defensive line will hold up, however. Meeting with the media at the NFL Owners Meetings, Harbaugh said he was confident in Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams . "There's no reason we can't be a great defense and a great defensive front next year," he said, per ESPN. Jernigan was a second-round draft pick of the Ravens last year. He had four sacks in 12 games as a rookie. Williams has 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in two years with the Ravens.
The Panthers have ruled the following players as inactive for Week 1 at Tampa Bay: Cam Newton, Brenton Bersin, Tre Boston, David Foucault, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Williams and Kony Ealy.