Marcus Williams Reportedly Franchise-Tagged by Saints Ahead of 2021 Deadline

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 9, 2021

New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) drops back in coverage during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)
Kevin Sabitus/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints placed the the franchise tag on safety Marcus Williams ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 24-year-old has been a crucial piece of the Saints defense since joining as a second-round pick in 2017. Across four seasons, the Utah product started all but four games for New Orleans. 

In 2020, Williams posted 59 tackles, seven passes defended and three interceptions in 14 regular-season games. A year earlier, he tied a career high with four interceptions, including one pick-six. 

The California native's 13 career interceptions is tied for 10th in the Saints' history books, along with Mike McKenzie and Fred Thomas, according to John Sigler of SaintsWire. 

Williams counted for $2 million against the cap in 2020, and after playing out his four-year, $6.2 million rookie deal, he was in line to test free agency for the first time in his career. However, he is now reportedly the recipient of the franchise tag.

Of course, the two sides will still have the opportunity to potentially work out a long-term deal.