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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Ravens lose sixth starter in Williams

By Jamison Hensley

If you're counting at home, the Baltimore Ravens lost their sixth starter from their Super Bowl team, when cornerback Cary Williams signed a three-year, $17 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

The Ravens knew they weren't going to be able to retain Williams. They didn't have the salary-cap room and they really didn't have a spot for him. Baltimore was set on going into 2013 with Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham and Jimmy Smith being its top three corners.

Williams, a former Tennessee Titans' practice squad member, developed into a two-year starter for the Ravens. He had four interceptions in the regular season, including one for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. Williams also picked off two passes in the playoffs, sealing the Ravens' trip to the Super Bowl with an interception of Tom Brady in the end zone with 66 seconds remaining.

While he makes a lot of plays, he gives up a big number of them as well. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams allowed six touchdowns this season, which was tied for fifth-most in the NFL.

The Ravens tried to sign Williams before last season, but he turned down a three-year, $15 million offer. He won the gamble, although it wasn't by much. Instead of taking a deal that averaged $5 million per season, he ended up with one that averages $5.6 million per year.

Williams joins wide receiver Anquan Boldin (traded), inside linebackers Ray Lewis (retired) and Dannell Ellerbe (signed with the Miami Dolphins), center Matt Birk (retired) and safety Bernard Pollard (released) who are no longer with the team.

If safety Ed Reed signs with the Houston Texans, where he is visiting Thursday, the Ravens will only return one player (Graham) from the secondary that started in the Super Bowl.