Free safety Marcus Williams has reportedly accepted the $10.6 million franchise tag the New Orleans Saints placed on him in March, meaning he will play out the 2021 season with the team he's been on since his NFL career began in 2017.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news Saturday and added that Williams and the Saints are working toward a long-term deal. The Saints and Williams have until July 15 to come to an agreement on a long-term extension, or else Williams will play out the 2021 season on the one-year pact.
The 24-year-old was given the tag on March 9, per Rapoport.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Utah product 15th on its list of eligible 2021 free agents and noted:
"Since entering the league in 2017, Williams has ranked near the top of the league in every significant category for safeties. He has a coverage grade that ranks in the 90th percentile to go with the highest rate of forced incompletions. Williams is also a solid run defender and with the skills to fit as a free safety in any scheme."
Williams has started all 60 of his games with New Orleans over four seasons. He's amassed 246 tackles, 13 interceptions and 30 passes defended.
New Orleans has made the playoffs in all four of its seasons, with Williams helping the team finish with a top-10 scoring defense in three of the last four years. Football Outsiders ranked the Saints eighth or better in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) each of the past four years.
Bringing him back into the mix for at least one more year is a huge boost for a Saints team looking to emerge as the NFC's Super Bowl representative after four straight seasons of falling short in the conference playoffs.