BALTIMORE Brandon Williams signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens, which includes a $12.5 million signing bonus, $33.8 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10.5 million.
However with the big contract, comes big expectations.
Now entering his fifth NFL season, Williams is one of the veteran players on defense and will be expected to step up as a team leader. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has been impressed with what he has from Williams so far during Organized Team Aactivities (OTAs).
"I see it in the weight room, I see it out here on the field, and I see it in the meeting room," Harbaugh said after OTAs last week. "We are expecting a dominant player, flat-out. He has the capability of doing that. I expect him to be a leader. He is a young guy, but he is the leader of that group. I expect him to be great."
Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs have been the defensive leaders over the last few seasons. Dumervil was released and recently signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Although Suggs is still the team’s top pass rusher, Williams is ready to take on the role of team leader, especially for the defense.
"We have a bunch of leaders on the team. But, yes I do. I feel like I have to carry the D-line on my back. I am trying to get to know the guys a little bit more— the new guys a little bit more," Williams explained after practice last week. "Just whoever I can teach, help or whatever, I am definitely ready for it. I feel like we are going to be a great cohesive unit this year, and we are going to get things done."
The large contract that Williams signed motivates him to show that he is worthy of being a top paid player on the team. As a former third-round pick out of Missouri Southern, a Division II school, Williams has come a long way. The road doesn't stop here; rather it is only the beginning.
“The next step for me, I feel like, is to just get better. People say, ‘Oh you got a contract, and now you can kind of relax.’ There is no relaxing," Williams said. "It is actually that you got the contract, so now you have to earn your keep. So, now you have to push the gas a little bit harder and kind of get as much as you can out of yourself to show people, ‘Hey, I earned this.’ It is not like they just gave it to me. It is because I actually do what I have to do every day."