Just a few years ago the New York Jets were in the middle of an ugly contract dispute with their best player, safety Jamal Adams.
The former All-Pro had some rich contract demands and things got intense. Adams was involved in a hold-out and was very willing to go public about the negotiations both with the media and on social media.
With another big Jets star heading towards a contract extension in the near future, many have wondered if this could go in the same direction? One insider quieted those thoughts this weekend.
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A Different Path This Time Around
Football is finally back for the Jets starting on Monday, April 18. The first practice is over a month away (May 23), but the voluntary portion of the offseason training activities will get underway.
Rich Cimini of ESPN revealed that Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is “expected to attend” which he called a “positive sign” with him in the midst of his first contract negotiation.
Prior to this offseason, he wasn’t eligible to discuss a new deal under the current collective bargaining agreement.
The Jets still have him under contract for two years through 2023 and if they chose to do so could control him after that with the franchise tag.
Publically Gang Green has said they’re open to discussing a new deal as soon as this offseason, but according to Cimini “there is not much happening on that front.”
They have the luxury to wait and it seems like they’re going to. Despite that, Williams won’t “pull a Jamal Adams by staying away and rattling cages”, per Cimini. He is expected to show up and go through the full array of activities this offseason.
A Franchise Pillar
The Jets technically have until May 2 to decide if they’re going to exercise the fifth-year option on Williams’ contract, but that is a mere formality.
General manager Joe Douglas confirmed at the NFL combine that “we will pick up his option” and said that “obviously isn’t huge news” as it was seen as a given based on Williams’ level of play.
This is a very important contract negotiation for the Jets. They have been bad for a very long time and a side effect of that has been no one is worth paying a juicy second contract to.
Obviously, that lack of a foundation has made it impossible to build a stable house. If your building blocks are coming from expensive overpaid free agents and hired mercenaries, it is nearly impossible to have long periods of sustained success.
Williams is the perfect example of future success for the Jets. If you can draft players, develop them, pay and retain them, then you can reach where you want to go.
The former Alabama star will be a pricey endeavor with Spotrac market value projections having him set to earn north of $17.7 million per season on a multi-year deal.
It is a very interesting gamble here by the Jets choosing to wait to pay Williams, as opposed to being proactive. If they signed him to a long-term deal in 2022 they could probably save a few bucks and it would send a strong message to the locker room that this is a new era.
By waiting they obviously want to see a huge year before laying that kind of change on the line. With all of the talent upgrades that have already been made and more to come in the 2022 NFL draft, Williams should make a quantum leap next season.
If and when he does, the Jets are going to have to pay a huge premium, but at least when they do Gang Green will feel even more confident with that financial investment.
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