Lions Urged to Seek Blockbuster Trade for ‘Freak Show’ All-Pro Defender

Dan Campbell

Getty Head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions are being encouraged to consider a blockbuster trade.

All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams appears to be upset with the New York Jets over his contract situation. Williams has not attended voluntary offseason workouts and on May 15, he removed the Jets from his Twitter bio.

Sports radio host Mike Valenti has a simple solution to the issue — the Detroit Lions should acquire Williams from the Jets and offer him the contract he is seeking.

“If the Jets can’t get this guy signed and you offer the Jets a 1 and a 3 and you get Williams signed to a four-year, $110 million contract, I’m ready,” Valenti said on his radio show on May 15. “I’m ready to go in and do this because this is about one thing …

“It’s about winning the Lombardi Trophy. It is about winning it all.”

The Jets drafted Williams at No. 3 overall in the 2019 NFL draft. He strung together three productive seasons to begin his career, but Williams became a star in 2022.

Williams posted career-highs with 12 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 28 quarterback hits and 4 pass defenses last season.

“Quinnen Williams is a game-breaker,” Valenti said. “He is a mandatory double-team. He’s a freak show.”

Proposed Trade Lands Lions DT Quinnen Williams

It’s hard to gauge what Williams would be worth on the trade market because it’s so rare for 25-year-old All-Pro to be available. The most recent, closest scenario to a potential Williams deal might be from three years ago.

The San Francisco 49ers dealt defensive tackle DeForest Buckner for the No. 13 overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. Buckner was 26 years old and had just made second-team All-Pro during 2019.

A couple years earlier, the then Oakland Raiders sent defensive end Khalil Mack, along with a conditional fifth-round choice and a seventh-round pick, to the Chicago Bears for two first-rounders, a third-round selection and a sixth-round choice.

Mack, who was 27 at the time, had made first-team All-Pro twice and captured the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year award with the Raiders.

Two first-round picks for Williams would probably be too steep. Mack is an edge rusher while Williams predominantly lines up inside, so those trades aren’t an apples to apples comparison anyway.

But it will likely cost a first and then a significant second pick to convince the Jets to depart with Williams. Valenti’s suggestion of trading picks from the first and third rounds appear in line with an appropriate offer.

Williams is entering the fifth-year of his rookie deal. He is set to make $9.594 million for the 2023 season. His cap hit will have the same value.

But he has no security beyond the 2023 season despite emerging as one of the best defenders in the NFL last season. He will be a free agent next offseason.

How Williams Potentially Fits With the Lions

Valenti is not alone in his assertion that Detroit is a fit for Williams.

CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan included the Lions on a list of four potential landing spots for Williams if traded.

“Inserting Williams into a defensive line that already has Aidan Hutchinson would strike fear into any opposing quarterback and could very well put Dan Campbell’s team over the top in the NFC North,” Sullivan wrote. “Also, Lions GM Brad Homes came from a Rams front office that drafted Aaron Donald, so he is well aware of what kind of an impact a star defensive tackle can bring to a team.”

The Lions signed veteran defensive lineman Christian Covington on May 10. Earlier this offseason, general manager Brad Holmes also re-signed defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and drafted Western Kentucky defensive tackle Brodric Martin in the third round.

But Detroit’s depth chart is still thinner at defensive tackle than other positions. Acquiring Williams doesn’t just add depth, but an All-Pro-level playmaker in the middle of the Lions defense.

It’s not clear what kind of contract Williams is potentially seeking this offseason. But notably, he recently retweeted ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s report that New York Giants second-team All-Pro defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence signed a four-year, $90 million extension this offseason.

Lawrence experienced the best statistical season of his career with 7.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback hits in 2022. The Giants drafted him at No. 17 in the same class Williams went third overall.

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