Out since suffering a dislocated wrist in Week 5, Marcus Williams is back at Ravens practice. The team designated the free agent pickup for return Wednesday.
Baltimore has three weeks to activate Williams, who has been ticketed for a December return for a bit now. John Harbaugh said he expects the sixth-year safety to return at some point next month. Wednesday’s transaction keeps pointing Williams in that direction.
The Ravens gave Williams a five-year, $70MM contract to come over from New Orleans, where he spent 2021 as a franchise-tagged player. Baltimore loaded up at safety this offseason, adding Williams and first-round pick Kyle Hamilton. Despite Hamilton’s first-round pedigree, Geno Stone has worked as Williams’ primary replacement. Hamilton has yet to make his first start, though the Notre Dame product’s snap percentages have ticked up slightly in the games without Williams.
The prospect of the Ravens having Williams back opens the door to a veteran-laden defense forming for the stretch run. The Ravens have brought Jason Pierre-Paul and Roquan Smith into the fold this season and have accomplished vets at every position. Calais Campbell, Justin Houston, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters also reside on a defense built to be one of the best units now.
Mike Macdonald‘s crew has not fully lived up to expectations just yet, but the group has improved since its run of early-season collapses. The Ravens have moved up to 10th in scoring defense, after shutting down struggling Saints and Panthers offenses, and have won four straight to keep their AFC North lead.
Following an injury-plagued 2021, the Ravens have most of their defensive troops healthy at this point. The team has seen Tyus Bowser debut after missing a chunk of games due to a January Achilles tear. Williams and second-round pick David Ojabo represent late-season reinforcements. The latter has yet to debut since going down with an Achilles tear during a pre-draft workout. The Ravens already activated Ojabo; they have four injury activations remaining. J.K. Dobbins also looms on the radar for a late-season activation.