The New York Giants traded for defensive lineman Leonard Williams at the 2019 trade deadline. Upon acquiring him, the team made it clear that they’d like to have the former first-round pick be a member of Big Blue for the long haul.
However, with the start of the new season quickly approaching, both sides have remained stagnant in contract talks. With both New York and Williams seemingly at an impasse, the Giants have decided to use their franchise tag on the defender in hopes of hammering out a long-term deal at a later time, this according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
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Williams Would Make $16+ MIL Under Tag
If Williams were to remain under the franchise tag entering the season, he would make a hefty $16.126 million in 2020, as noted by ESPN’s Jordan Raanan which is likely a higher price than he would receive on the open market.
The team has until July 15th to reach a new deal with Williams before his franchise tag contract kicks in.
New York’s decision to place the tag on Williams on Monday doesn’t affect the current trade compensation that they delt to their inner-city rivals, the New York Jets last October. Williams was acquired in exchange for a 2020 third-round, and 2021 fifth-round (conditional) pick in 2021.
However, were Williams and Big Blue to come to terms on a new, long-term contract prior to the start of the new league-year (Wednesday), that would convert the condition 2021 fifth-rounder into a fourth rounder.
In many ways, this could be a game of the Giants playing their cards right in hopes of retaining the player they want, while also giving up as little draft capital as possible in return.
Giants Salary Cap Takes a Hit Ahead of Free Agency
The Giants began Monday morning with approximately $72.76 million in cap space, the fourth-most in all of football. Following their decision to franchise Williams, their cap space has dropped to around $57 million.
Were New York and Williams come to an agreement, the Giants could pro-rate his signing bonus and salary over numerous years, in return increasing their cap space.
It’s clear that the Giants would like to ink Williams to a long-term deal. Whether that’s because they believe he’s truly worth the money or because Giants GM Dave Gettleman wants to save face is all up to interpretation. Yet, chances are it has a bit to do with both.
Gettleman notably commented on the potential of not locking down Williams for the long term while visiting the Scouting Combine, “I’ll get killed. I’ll get killed. I have thick, rhino hide.”
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