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In a stunner, Saints issue the franchise tag to Marcus Williams

ESPN reported Tuesday that the Saints were not anticipated to use the franchise tag this year, but they did just that ahead of the NFL’s 3 p.m. CT deadline. There are a couple of reasons for the Saints to do this — namely, keeping one of their best defenders in the fold for another season, if not longer. They have until mid-summer to reach a deal on a long-term contract extension with Williams, so this buys this some time if the sides were already close to an agreement. Williams was expected to see plenty of interest on the open market — almost every team in the league could use a ballhawk with rare sideline-to-sideline range. Now he’ll remain in New Orleans for at least another year. Maybe the Saints can work out an extension to reduce the tag’s cap hit, which is expected to cost about $10.5 million
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