ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Cardinals on the free agent cusp: Tight end Maxx Williams

Feb 19, 2022, 10:15 AM | Updated: 4:50 pm

Maxx Williams #87 of the Arizona Cardinals stretches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown wh...

Maxx Williams #87 of the Arizona Cardinals stretches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown while being tackled by Kemal Ishmael #36 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at State Farm Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals have decisions to make this offseason, especially when it comes down to free agency.

With more than a handful of key contributors’s contracts expiring, Arizona must choose whether to re-sign the guys they’ve come to know or test the waters for some new blood.

Before the offseason and free agency gets into full swing, Arizona Sports’ Cardinals reporter Tyler Drake and fellow editors Kevin Zimmerman, Kellan Olson and Jake Anderson share their thoughts on who might stay and who will go.

Last but not least, we have tight end Maxx Williams.

Basics

Williams originally joined the Cardinals in 2019 after spending the first four years of his career with the Baltimore Ravens.

The tight end just wrapped a two-year deal worth $7 million.

Currently, the Cardinals have Bernhard Seikovits, an International Player Pathway Program addition from 2021, and David Wells signed to future deals. Zach Ertz, Demetrius Harris, Darrell Daniels and Williams are all free agents.

Pros

After being the team’s best blocking tight end for the past three seasons, Williams got a lot more run in the passing game.

He was well on his way to setting career marks across the board, reeling in 16 of his 17 targets for 193 yards and a touchdown over five games, until a season-ending knee injury cut his year short.

Another positive is that Williams has been integrated into Kliff Kingsbury’s offense since he first came to the desert in 2019. He’s well-known in the team’s game plan.

And while an ACL tear is never a positive thing, the fact that the tight end suffered the injury in October gives him a solid chance at being ready by Week 1.

Cons

The biggest con surrounding Williams is his ACL injury and the unknown of whether or not he lost a step because of it.

There’s also his contract to consider. With Zach Ertz also a free agent, Arizona may have to pick and chose who they keep and who they let walk.

Ertz is coming off a strong 11-game sample size following a midseason trade and will likely command a nice pay day.

Pro Football Focus projects Williams’ next contract to be in the three-year, $18.75 million range with $10 million guaranteed.

Final thought

Drake: There’s a lot to like about Williams. For a guy who has been pegged as a blocker first, the tight end flashed his abilities as a pass catcher before going down with a season-ending injury. And even when he was out of commission, Williams still proved to be an incredible teammate, going as far as creating his own award for the standout Cardinals player of each week. Depending on where he’s at in his rehab process, I think both sides would be interested in a reunion.

Likelihood of returning?

Drake: High. I think the Cardinals could have one of the better tight end tandems in the league with a combo of Williams and Ertz. The money has to be right for it all to make sense, though. I could see that happening with Williams looking to prove his strong start wasn’t anomaly. There are some glaring needs that must be filled in other areas, though. Do you really want to lock up that much money at tight end?

Zimmerman: High. Even if he’s a No. 2 tight end, he knows the system well and once he gets enough run back from the injury should be able to contribute in some way.

Olson: High. With all of the names covered and the holes on this roster, I doubt the Cardinals will retain both Ertz and Williams. Too much money to spend elsewhere to make this position a luxury, which, to be clear, they should. Because of that, I think Arizona will treat Williams as an even bigger priority to make sure they have their TE1 and move on from there.

Anderson: High. He’ll also only be 28 years old going into next year, which is three years younger than free agent TE Zach Ertz. Williams has proven he fits in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense — especially in the run game — and will cost the team much less than Ertz.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

James Conner of the Arizona Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Steelers...

Arizona Sports

Cardinals RB James Conner wins FedEx Ground award, ‘Angry Runs’ scepter

James Conner got his hat-tip in a few different forms for his play that helped his Arizona Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

7 hours ago

Cardinals celebrate in Pittsburgh...

Tyler Drake

Victory over Steelers a blueprint for Arizona Cardinals to follow

The Steelers have been a model of consistency for quite some time. On Sunday, though, it was the Cardinals looking like the complete team.

1 day ago

Naquan Jones...

Arizona Sports

Cardinals sign DL Naquan Jones to 53-man roster from practice squad

The Arizona Cardinals promoted defensive lineman Naquan Jones to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, the team announced on Tuesday. 

1 day ago

Arizona Cardinals DT Jonathan Ledbetter...

Tyler Drake

Jonathan Ledbetter named Cardinals’ 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

The Arizona Cardinals named defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter as their Walter Payton Man of the Year for 2023 on Tuesday.

2 days ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Jonathan Gannon talks Arizona Cardinals win over Steelers, team dancing through weather delays

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon joined Burns & Gambo to talk about the team’s Week 13 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh and shared how the team stayed ready throughout the various weather delays. Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Presented By

2 days ago

Monti Ossenfort helps out during practice...

Tyler Drake

2024 NFL Draft order: Cardinals enter bye week in possession of No. 3 pick

The Cardinals enter the bye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. A look at Arizona's road ahead and the draft implications it brings.

2 days ago

Arizona Cardinals on the free agent cusp: Tight end Maxx Williams