Leonard Williams’ Monster Deal Has Major Implications for Giants: Report

Giants sign Leonard Williams to long term deal

Getty Defensive end Leonard Williams #99 of the New York Giants.

This morning, to say things looked bleak on a potential Giants-Leonard Williams long-term deal would be putting it nicely. With reports that the two parties were failing to make progress in contract talks, GM Dave Gettleman became enemy No. 1 on Twitter, peoples’ jobs were being called for and the thought that Leo would possibly slip through the team’s fingers within the next 12 months enraged fans.

However, that all changed at approximietely 3:30 p.m. ET when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Williams and the Giants hammered out a long-term deal that will keep their star defender in East Rutherford through 2023. Williams’ deal checks in at $63 million over three years with $45 million guaranteed.

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Williams to Drop Grievance Against Giants

Following the agreement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Williams will now drop the position salary grievance he had filed against the Giants.

Williams’ grievance came from the tag figure that was placed upon him from the team. For the second season in a row, the Giants classified the former No. 6 overall pick as a defensive tackle as opposed to a defensive end — which would have greatly hindered his potential earnings had he remained on the tag.

Williams’ grievance from 2020 remained unresolved upon the time the Giants placed this year’s tag on him (H/T GiantsWire’s John Fennelly). Had he won the previous grievance it would have netted Williams approximietely $3.8 million more in his pocket. Yet, it sounds as though $45 million fully guaranteed goes a long way to smooth out those previously-ruffled feathers.

As NJ Media Group’s Art Stapleton highlighted, Williams’ decision to drop the grievance ensures “no additional cap loss from the 2020 franchise tag” — a fairly big deal, as every dollar counts for the cap-stricken Giants. Williams’ new deal also frees up roughly $8 million in cap space for the team in 2021.

Giants Sign WR John Ross & FB Cullen Gillaspia

With Williams coming off the franchise tag, the Giants quickly shifted their focus to the offensive side of the ball. Mere minutes after news of the Williams deal breaking, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the team had agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.5 million deal ($1 million guaranteed) with wide receiver John Ross.

Ross — the former No. 9 overall pick — is a legitimate burner, boasting 4.22 speed (the fastest official time ever recorded at the NFL combine). The 25-year-old had his ups-and-downs throughout his career in Cincinnati and ultimately fell out of favor with the coaching staff. His 2020 campaign was limited to just three games. However, the year prior, the Washington product was on pace for his first-ever 1,000-yard campaign before a bum shoulder cut his season short. In eight games in 2019, Ross amassed 506 receiving yards, averaging an eye-popping 18.1 yards per reception. In 2018, as a rookie, Ross hauled in seven receiving touchdowns on just 21 receptions — one touchdown per every three receptions.

In a far less headline-grabbing move, the team also revealed that they have signed former Houston Texans fullback Cullen Gillaspia (H/T Houston Chronicles’ Aaron Wilson).

A former seventh-round pick out of Texas A&M, the 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound fullback has appeared in 23 games since entering the league in 2019. His usage on the offensive side of the football has been vastly limited thus far in his career. The Katy, Texas native has logged a total of just 20 career offensive snaps, hauling in one reception for six yards.

With that said, where Gillaspia makes his presence felt is on special teams. The 25-year-old logged 390 special teams snaps over his Texans tenure, including a rookie campaign where he notched 274 special teams snaps (64%) over 16 games.

Gillaspia missed the Texans’ final seven games of 2020, landing on injured reserve with a back injury. The team waived the fullback with a failed physical designation this past Tuesday.


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