Report: Re-signing Marcus Williams expected to be Saints’ priority

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John Sigler
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ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Monday that the New Orleans Saints’ offseason strategy is beginning to take shape, with free safety Marcus Williams expected to be a priority as they look to re-sign their pending free agents. Of course, the Saints have a $68.2 million deficit to overcome first.

But prioritizing Williams makes sense. He led all of New Orleans’ pending free agents in snaps played (886) last year, rarely missing a moment with the Saints defense until his late-season ankle injury. His 13 career interceptions are already tied for the 10th-most in franchise history. Put another away, he’s either led the team in or tied for the most interceptions in three of the four years he’s played in the NFL, finishing second-best as a rookie in 2017.

With that said, Fowler added that the Saints will pursue a long-term deal with Williams “within financial reason,” which makes sense given their salary cap commitments. Williams is rightfully expected to be one of the top names on the free agent market (aggregated media rankings have him as a top 20 free agent in this year’s crop) and he’ll have some valuable contract offers available if the Saints can’t re-sign him.

Additionally, Fowler said that the Saints have “expressed interest” in retaining quarterback Jameis Winston, which lines up with Sean Payton’s comments earlier this offseason. Payton has often talked about Winston as if he’s already under contract, envisioning a training camp competition between Winston and Taysom Hill for the starting quarterback job. Let’s see if that interest manifests into a new deal with the free agent quarterback.

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