Brandon Williams (DT)

Giants Pursued DT Brandon Williams

Not long after the Eagles signed both Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, the Chiefs made a move to bolster their run defense by adding Brandon Williams. The 10th-year veteran made his Chiefs debut in Week 14, notching a half-sack and two quarterback hits.

The Chiefs were not the only contending team to reach out to Williams during the season. The veteran defensive lineman said the Giants wanted to add him as well (via KSHB’s Pete Sweeney, on Twitter), but location helped steer him to Kansas City.

Williams, 33, made his way to the NFL through the Division II ranks, starring at Missouri Southern. The former Ravens third-round pick currently lives in Arkansas and said that with a baby on the way he wanted to stay closer to home. This nixed a potential reunion with new Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who was with the Ravens for all nine of Williams’ seasons in Baltimore.

The Ravens re-signed Williams back in 2017, and he played out that five-year, $52.5MM deal last season. Despite being a 114-game starter in Baltimore, Williams did not garner too much interest this offseason. The Chiefs were able to sign the 336-pound defender to their practice squad and move him up ahead of their Week 14 game against the Broncos. Now on Kansas City’s 53-man roster, Williams played 15 defensive snaps in the Chiefs’ win.

The Giants have added a few ex-Ravens on defense this year, signing Tony Jefferson, Jihad Ward and Justin Ellis. Each was in Baltimore during Martindale’s DC run. The team has also been active in bolstering its defense with outside help during the season, signing Fabian Moreau, Jaylon Smith and Landon Collins. While Collins has only played in two games during his second Giants stint, the team has used Moreau and Smith as starters. Moreau, cut by the Texans this summer, has been especially important after the injuries to Aaron Robinson and Adoree’ Jackson.

Leonard Williams has missed a career-high four games this season, and the Giants also lost Nick Williams to a season-ending injury. The Giants, who did not re-sign Austin Johnson this offseason, were without an active Williams on their D-line in Week 14. Leonard Williams has been back at practice this week.

Chiefs Sign DT Brandon Williams To Active Roster

A week after joining Kansas City’s practice squad, Brandon Williams is ready to go. According to PFT’s Josh Alper, that they have signed the veteran defensive tackle to the active roster.

It was always expected that Williams’ stint on the practice squad would be temporary, especially since he wouldn’t need long to get acclimated to the Chiefs’ defense. The veteran previously played under Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen when the two were in Baltimore, so the familiarity certainly played into the player’s readiness.

The Chiefs recently dropped defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth, so Williams was the natural choice for the open roster spot. Stallworth had a small but consistent role on defense in recent weeks, so there’s a good chance Williams soaks up those open snaps. The 33-year-old could also eventually cut into Derrick Nnadi‘s and/or Khalen Saunders playing time.

“I’d tell you a good player,” coach Andy Reid recently said of Williams (h/t AP’s Dave Skretta via Seattle Times). “Joe speaks very highly of him and still thinks he can contribute. He’s been doing it a long time, but we welcome that. He’s a great kid and good football player.”

Williams spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Ravens, including a 2018 campaign where he earned his lone Pro Bowl nod. He started 114 of his 123 appearances during his time in Baltimore, collecting 33 tackles for loss and 19 QB hits.

Chiefs To Add DT Brandon Williams

Less than a week after the Eagles raided the veteran defensive tackle market by adding Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, the Chiefs reached an agreement with another big name.

Kansas City is adding Brandon Williams on a practice squad deal, Adam Schefter of tweets. While Williams will take the increasingly common P-squad route, Schefter notes the intent is for the veteran interior D-lineman to move up to the active roster soon.

The Ravens did not re-sign the nine-year veteran this offseason. An eight-year starter in Baltimore, Williams has not played since last season. While Williams spent his entire NFL career in Baltimore, he played his college ball in Missouri — at Division II Missouri Southern.

Williams, 33, started 114 games with the Ravens from 2014-21. The veteran run-stuffer re-signed with the team on a five-year, $52.5MM contract in 2017 and did well to play out that contract. The Chiefs’ employment of Joe Cullen as their defensive line coach may well have played a role in Tuesday’s addition. Cullen, who spent the 2021 season as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator, coached Williams from 2016-20 as the Ravens’ D-line coach.

In their Chris Jones-fronted D-tackle group, the Chiefs have the recently re-signed Derrick Nnadi, free agent pickup Taylor Stallworth and 2019 third-round pick Khalen Saunders. The team lost third-year contributor Tershawn Wharton to an ACL tear in October.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Out For Week 11

The Ravens’ brutal 2021 season continues. Baltimore’s injured reserve list includes a number of top-flight starters, and the club has dealt with plenty of other injuries besides those significant enough to warrant an IR designation. Now, the Ravens will be without starting QB Lamar Jackson for their matchup against the Bears this afternoon.

Jackson is dealing with a non-COVID illness, which Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports is a “congestion of the lungs” (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the exact virus has not been identified (it’s not the flu), but while the team’s medical staff tried to keep Jackson hydrated enough to play, he is simply not healthy enough to do so (Twitter links).

Adam Schefter of adds (via Twitter) that this virus went through the organization last week, and other players like WR Rashod Bateman and C Bradley Bozeman were also affected. Only Jackson, however, is missing today’s game as a result of the illness.

But the Ravens are dealing with other injuries that will further undermine their chances to win today’s game. Top receiver Marquise Brown is out with a thigh injury, NT Brandon Williams is out with his lingering shoulder ailment, and Baltimore is down to three healthy corners, as CBs Anthony Averett and Jimmy Smith are also inactive.

Backup QB Tyler Huntley will get his first career start in Jackson’s absence. Huntley, a 2020 UDFA, has a strong arm and offers a fair amount of running ability, so his game mimics that of Jackson. But the Ravens will obviously miss their 2019 MVP in a big way.

Despite all of their injuries (and illnesses), the team has managed a 6-3 record, largely as a result of Jackson’s heroics. A surprising Week 10 loss to the Dolphins, though, may prove damaging down the line, especially with a difficult end-of-season schedule that features five divisional games plus contests against the Packers and Rams. Now, Huntley will be called upon to keep his team atop the AFC North before that challenging stretch gets underway.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/22/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Football Team

Ravens Place DT Brandon Williams On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The NFL again changed its policy regarding the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, resulting in more players being eligible to land on it. The Ravens placed their first player on the list since training camp.

Baltimore placed veteran defensive tackle Brandon Williams on the COVID list Saturday, putting him in line to miss Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. The Ravens are now on track to be without Williams and Derek Wolfe against the Eagles. The latter drew a doubtful designation because of a neck injury and a concussion.

Williams was not at Ravens practice Friday, with John Harbaugh indicating he was an excused absence. The 31-year-old defender did not test positive, per Tom Pelissero of, but did have close contact with an infected person (Twitter link). The Ravens’ Week 6 game against the Eagles remains a go, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (on Twitter). They are traveling to Philadelphia this afternoon.

A former Division II standout, Williams has been a Ravens starter since the 2014 season. The Ravens opted not to let the former third-round pick walk in 2017, re-signing him to a lucrative extension. Williams made the 2018 Pro Bowl and is a key player for a Raven defense that ranks third in DVOA.

It is unclear if Williams has tested positive for the coronavirus, but new protocols implemented this week call for all players who qualify as close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to be isolated for at least five days — even if they are asymptomatic.

Ravens Rework Brandon Williams’ Deal

The Ravens and defensive tackle Brandon Williams have agreed to a reworked deal that will give the team an additional $3MM in cap space (Twitter link via’s Field Yates). Previously, Williams was set to earn $19MM over the next two years with no guaranteed cash. Now, he’ll have $8.25MM locked in with a base value of $15.75MM. 

[RELATED: Titans Beat Out Ravens, Saints For Clowney]

Williams was once among the best defensive tackles in football, but his production has slipped in recent years. He’s also been asked to move around the line, but he’s expected to play more in the middle this year. That should help the veteran get back to his old form – Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the league’s No. 91 defensive lineman from 2017-2019 on snaps played elsewhere. But, at nose tackle, he rated No. 4. He’ll go head-to-head with centers, forging a path for new teammates like Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe.

That revamped D-Line could have featured Jadeveon Clowney, but the Ravens lost out to the Titans earlier this month. According to some reports, the Ravens weren’t quite as bullish on the former No. 1 overall pick.

Release Candidate: Ravens’ Brandon Williams

At 337 pounds, Brandon Williams has been a force on the interior for the Ravens. However, with a $14.1MM scheduled cap hit in 2019 and other options, the Ravens could consider releasing the veteran before the start of the season.

[POLL: Which 2018 Playoff Team Will Miss The Postseason?]

Williams was once among the best defensive tackles in football, but his production has slipped in recent years. Last season, Williams graded out as just the No. 33 ranked interior defender in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, a major drop off from his 2014 and 2015 form.

Moving on from Williams could open up more opportunities for Michael Pierce, who is four years younger at the age of 26. Pierce is a quality pass rusher, a stronger defender against the run, and finished out as PFF’s No. 5 ranked DT in 2018. There’s also fifth-round rookie Daylon Mack to consider. The Texas A&M product is undeniably green, but he has a lot of potential as a run stuffing nose tackle.

Historically, the Ravens haven’t been big on using the post June 1 designation for release, but employing that with Williams would save them $6.25MM for the coming season.


No Timeline For Ravens DT Brandon Williams

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams does not have a timeline for return as he works his way back from a foot injury, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).Brandon Williams (Vertical)

Williams, who re-signed with the Ravens in March on a five-year, $52.5MM deal, has missed each of Baltimore’s last two games (which, coincidentally or not, have both been losses). The Ravens have allowed more than 160 yards rushing to both the Jaguars and the Steelers over the past two weeks without Williams, who appeared in all 16 games from 2014-16. Williams, 28, graded as the NFL’s No. 39 interior defender among 127 qualifiers in last season, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Williams stout marks against the run.

With Williams sidelined, Baltimore has asked fellow defensive tackle Michael Pierce to play increased snaps — he’s seeing action on nearly 80% of the Ravens’ defensive plays after lining up on just a third of the club’s snaps a season ago. With fellow starter Brent Urban done for the season, Carl Davis, Bronson Kaufusi, and Willie Henry are also seeing time. Third-round rookie Chris Wormley has yet to be active on gameday in 2017, but that could hypothetically change later in the year.

North Notes: Packers, Williams, Bengals

The Packers made a rare foray into the non-street free agent portion of the offseason waters by signing Martellus Bennett. That move figures to pay off, in the eyes of some anonymous NFL personnel men.

Bennett is way better than Jared Cook,” one personnel director said, via Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an expansive piece. “And he’s smarter. And he’s not as selfish. He’s going to be loud, but you’ve got to live with that.”

Chiming in on this debate, a scout told McGinn: “Cook is faster straight-line, yes, but their body type is totally different. When you walk up on Bennett, that is a man. Cook can’t block you or me. Bennett can. He can seal an edge.”

While these evaluators said the deal for Bennett comes with risk because of the pass-catcher’s age (30) and recent injury struggles. Bennett injured an ankle last season and reinjured it to the point he might require offseason surgery. One GM also mentioned 12 tight ends he would rather have than Bennett next season — a list that included Jack Doyle, Jermaine Gresham and Kyle Rudolph — but the same GM told McGinn he would only take two of those tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Rudolph) over Bennett as a blocker.

Here’s more from the Norths as free agency nears its third week.

  • Lance Kendricks‘ two-year Packers accord will be worth $4MM, with $1.2MM guaranteed, per McGinn. This could prove to be a value-re-establishing pact for Kendricks, who saw the Rams get out of a four-year, $18.5MM deal by cutting him.
  • Brandon Williams received interest from beyond Baltimore, but the Ravens succeeded on a persistent push to retain him. The fifth-year nose tackle wasn’t keen on being the latest impact Ravens UFA defection. “I wanted to come back. I tried to kind of leave hints,” Williams said, via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Ravens signed their former Division II find to a five-year, $52.5MM deal. That pact includes a $12.5MM signing bonus. The Bills’ decision to revert back to a 4-3 look will make Williams the league’s highest-paid nose tackle by a wide margin.
  • Despite Kevin Minter pledging to come to Cincinnati for the 2017 season, Reuben Foster remains an option for the Bengals with their No. 9 overall pick, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Minter signed a one-year deal, and Foster — if taken at No. 9 overall — would be under team control for five. Plus, Minter has positional versatility that would allow him to play alongside the Alabama middle linebacker.
  • Ricky Jean-Francois left his Bears visit without a contract, and the UFA defensive lineman will make his way to Seattle for a scheduled Seahawks summit, Josina Anderson of tweets. Anderson added