Former Ravens tight end Maxx Williams has found a new football home in Arizona.
The 2015 second-round pick from Minnesota announced Thursday on his official Twitter account that he was joining the Cardinals, ending an injury-riddled four-year run in which he never reached his full potential in Baltimore. According to Arizona Sports 98.7 in Phoenix, the 25-year-old agreed to a one-year deal with his new team.
— Maxx Williams (@williams_maxx) May 2, 2019
The Ravens originally drafted Williams to replace Dennis Pitta, who was seven months removed from a second devastating hip injury that had left his career in great doubt. General manager Ozzie Newsome moved up in the second round — in a trade with Arizona coincidentally — to make Williams the first tight end drafted in 2015, but various injuries limited him to just 42 games in four seasons. The most serious was a knee injury that cost him most of the 2016 season and required a rare cartilage surgery that impacted his speed and agility, leading Williams to become more of a blocking tight end than the play-maker the Ravens originally envisioned.
Williams caught 32 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown as a rookie, but he caught just 31 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns over his remaining time in Baltimore. The Ravens drafting tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews last year and re-signing blocking tight end Nick Boyle — a fifth-round choice in the 2015 draft — earlier this offseason made it unlikely Williams would return even though the organization had expressed some interest in re-signing him.
Pro Football Focus graded Williams as the 16th-best tight end in the NFL last year with his blocking ability being the primary reason why. The terms of the deal have yet to be revealed, but the Ravens will hope Arizona pays Williams enough to qualify in the compensatory pick formula, which would give general manager Eric DeCosta a third compensatory pick in next year’s draft.