Originally posted on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 5/7/12

NASHVILLE, TN - 2009: Cary Williams of the Tennessee Titans poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by NFL Photos)

This defensive back is possibly the best-value corner in the NFL right now...What makes it so is Cary Williams is a pearl picked late by Tennessee in the 7th round of the 2008 Draft (pick #229) and was subsequently cut and signed by the Ravens off the Titans' practice squad in 2009. So he has been a bargain since the day he signed a free-agent contract with the Ravens. The other thing that makes him a great value: he's really good at coverage and tackling, and he's getting better...

Cary Williams (#29 above), born in Miami, 6-1, 185, 5th year out of Washburn University (Division II) in Topeka, Kansas where he was a D2 All-American performer. Williams posted a 4.43 time in the '40 and a vertical leap of 32.5" at his Pro Day pre-draft workout. In his first season with the Ravens in 2009, he played special teams and made 8 tackles...He saw some additional duty in the secondary of the Ravens in the later part of the 2010 season...Finally in 2011, he earned his first NFL start at cornerback alongside Lardarius Webb in the Ravens opener against Pittsburgh. Williams was sensational as he recorded 5 tackles and dominated Steelers' star receiver Mike Wallace...

Cary Williams will make just shy of $2 million this year with the Ravens.  He just signed his RFA tender with the club for 2012. It's not the big-time long-term contract he was seeking. But he realizes he is coming off some offseason surgery (torn labrum in hip), and will have to prove all over again he is worth a bigger investment.

Ryan Mink of the Ravens PR department announced the signing on Monday, May 7.

Williams signed his $1.972 million second-round tender, taking the Ravens’ final restricted free agent off the market. The fifth-year cornerback had hip surgery to repair a torn labrum on Feb. 15, and has been rehabbing and waiting to see what happened with contract negotiations before returning.

He said there hasn’t been talk of a long-term contract extension since the draft. “Hopefully we’ll get back to the table,” Williams said. “But right now I just want to rehab and make sure my hip is right and that I can play at a high level. Contract talks can go from there. I just want to make sure that I can play for the Ravens this season.”

Williams became a first-time starter last year, lining up opposite Lardarius Webb for all 16 games. He notched 78 tackles, 18 pass deflections and two forced fumbles. He was playing the final seven weeks of the regular season and playoffs in pain.

Williams hurt himself during the Seattle Seahawks game on Nov. 13. He thought it might go away, but the problem persisted and would shoot pain down his right leg when he opened his hips inside. Williams has his range of motion back now and says he’s at about 80 percent. He is hoping to be back on the field in time for the Ravens’ minicamp starting June 11, but expects to definitely be fully healthy in time for training camp.

“That’s already set in stone,” Williams said. “I’m eager to get out there and run with the guys. My body is saying, ‘Yeah, it’s that time.’ But I just can’t. I’m just trying to stay within the limits and take it slow.”

Williams will compete with second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith to keep his starting spot. Smith earned more playing time as the season went on last year, and notched two interceptions in the regular season and another in the playoffs.

“I welcome competition. I’ve competed all my life,” Williams said. “I think all the guys are excited about the opportunity. We understand what we had last year and this year we’re going to be tested with the schedule. We’re all happy about the situation. It doesn’t matter who’s out there or who the three may be or whatever order you’re in. Regardless, we’re three of the top corners in the league and we’re going to be a force for a lot of people out there on Sundays.”

My guess is Williams will be totally ready to play at his highest level by around mid-October. That's fine, no need to rush his recovery... and it will be perfect timing to supplement the Ravens' depth at defensive back just as Baltimore heads into the crunch-time part of its grueling 2012 schedule. 

At $2 million, Cary Williams is more than a bargain..he is a steal.

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