Ravens' Williams should take the money

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
3:01
PM ET
Ravens cornerback Cary Williams turned down a three-year contract extension from the team worth roughly $15 million, according to the Baltimore Sun.

He's essentially betting that he's going to have a strong season, increasing his worth heading into free agency next offseason. It's admirable to see a player, especially a cornerback, have such confidence. But, in this case, Williams is making the wrong gamble.

There's three reasons why he should take the money:
  • Williams is going to be the targeted cornerback. With Lardarius Webb (eight interceptions last season) on one side, quarterbacks are going to go after Williams. If you don't believe me, just put on the tape of the preseason opener, when Matt Ryan threw in Williams' direction on nearly every pass. On Friday, Williams gave up a 57-yard catch to Calvin Johnson.
  • The loss of Terrell Suggs hurts the Ravens' pass rush. What does that mean for Williams? Quarterbacks are going to have more time in the pocket to throw downfield without the threat of Suggs breathing down their necks. That's going to make the job of Williams and every other Ravens cornerback that much tougher.
  • Plus, there's no guarantee that Williams will stay the starter this season. The Ravens have a history of giving the starting jobs to their first-round picks, which is why many predicted Jimmy Smith would overtake Williams. If that happens, Williams would be the Ravens' nickel back.

It's hard to bet against Williams, because he's beaten the odds so many times before. Williams, 27, has gone from a 2008 seventh-round pick of the Titans to a starter for the Ravens last season. Williams recorded a career-high 77 tackles and 18 pass deflections with two forced fumbles, which led to a second-round tender as a restricted free agent ($1.927 million).

The Ravens' offer -- which averages about $5 million per season -- is in the same range as the salaries for San Diego Charger Quentin Jammer ($5.49 million), Cleveland Brown Dimitri Patterson ($5.3 million) and Miami Dolphin Richard Marshall ($5.3 million).

"My philosophy on doing that was just having confidence in myself," Williams told The Sun. "I know myself, I know my ability. I know my work ethic. At the end of the day, the offer, I felt like I could always make that. I felt it wasn't good enough, and my agent said it wasn't good enough."

Williams added, "For me to say the money ain't good, that wasn't the case. It's good money, but my job is to make the most money I possibly can for my family. I'm thinking about my daughter and any future children I want to have. I want some kind of security, and the deal we had wasn't like that."

Williams will find out next offseason whether it was the right gamble.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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