The New York Jets don’t have a single player on its 90 man roster that was drafted by the team and has received a second contract.
That is inevitably going to change when a certain former Alabama star is finished with what many believe will be another career year with Gang Green in 2021.
Quinnen Williams is entering his third season in the pros and it seems like the third time will once again be the charm.
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Quinnen Williams Was a Late Bloomer
If you would’ve taken the temperature of the fan base following Williams’ rookie season, there would’ve been a lot of disappointment collected.
The former Alabama stud didn’t stuff the stat sheet and was relatively underwhelming throughout much of the season registering 2.5 sacks, 28 combined tackles, and played in 13 games but started only nine due to injury.
On top of that, the player they passed on, Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen erupted for 10.5 sacks as a rookie earning a Pro Bowl nod. Fans were getting ready to grab the torches and pitchforks.
Although we learned a very valuable lesson from all this: patience is a virtue. While Williams’ rookie season left a lot to be desired, he more than made up for it during his sophomore campaign.
The lovable 23-year old exponentially increased every major defensive statistic in what was a career season:
- Sacks jumped from 2.5 to 7.
- Quarterback hits increased from 6 to 14.
- Forced fumbles: 0 to 2.
- Combined, solo, assisted, and tackles for loss all increased.
Despite all this productivity, there’s still another level to his game that has yet to be tapped into. That’s where a new head coach and a philosophy change could prove to be the difference.
Former Bama Star Set to Explode in 2021
“Quinnen Williams is a guy that can absolutely wreck your gameplan,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. “In my opinion, the way we’re going to use him, I wouldn’t run his way. To make an opposing offense one-dimensional and change their game plan that is unique.”
The three-technique will align on the outside shoulder of an offensive guard which is the b-gap (between the guard and the tackle). This will allow Williams to both control and penetrate the gap and really pin his ears back to push upfield.
This is the secret sauce to what the Jets want to do in 2021. The three-technique is the premier pass rusher on the interior that can maximize his varied skillset (power, speed, explosiveness, and quickness) to get to the opposing quarterback.
“While he’s a great run defender, Quinnen is ready to be in that conversation with the top three defensive tackles in this league” — Jeff Ulbrich Jets DC.
Marc Sessler of NFL Media recently picked one player from each NFL team that has the best chance to earn their first Pro Bowl nod heading into 2021 and he jumped on the Williams’ hype train:
“Dishing out disruption one Sunday after the next, the former Alabama star grew into a run-stuffing bully who also badgered quarterbacks to the tune of seven sacks.”
Williams is eligible for a contract extension following the 2021 season. If he lives up to the billing as a potential “top three defensive tackle” in all of football, he’ll want to be paid like it.
According to Spotrac, the annual average salary of the top three highest-paid defensive tackles in football would be $21.2M per season.
Projecting what a long term contract could look like for the former Alabama star:
- Likely a four-year deal (same length as both DeForest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs).
- Around $40M guaranteed at signing and the total guarantees will likely be between Buckner’s $45M and Jones’ $60M.
Williams still has another year on his contract for 2022 and the Jets are likely to exercise his fifth-year option which will keep him under team control through 2023.