Jets Star Has Been Good, Robert Saleh Holding Him Back From Being Great

Quinnen Williams Jets

Getty Several New York Jets players celebrating after a boneheaded play by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 2021 season has been (and will be) an incredibly pivotal year for New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

After this campaign, Gang Green must decide on his fifth-year option (they will accept it) and more importantly he’ll be eligible for a contract extension for the first time in his career.

The results have been really good through the first 10 games of the season, but they could be even better.

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Very Impressive to Say the Least

Through the first 10 games of the season the former Alabama star is set for a career year in several categories:

  • Five sacks
  • 11 quarterback hits
  • 36 combined tackles

In any year for an NFL defensive tackle that would be impressive, but the numbers could be even better.

In this new scheme, Williams hasn’t played in more than 68 percent of the snaps in any single game this season. That is by design says head coach Robert Saleh.

They believe that if one of their defensive linemen is playing more than that snap percentage, they are only half-assing it. So in other words, the coaching staff believes they’re maximizing the former first-round pick’s gas tank by keeping him fresh and playing less.

The production certainly backs that conversation up:

  • Five sacks (top-five among interior defensive linemen)
  • 378 snaps (that ranks 31st among IDL)
  • One sack every 63 snaps (first among 97 qualified IDL, per Michael Nania)

To Pay or Not to Pay

Nania of Jets X-Factor also shared an additional analytical nugget that reveals total sacks among defensive tackles (that includes penalty takeaways and half sacks being rounded up):

This also raises an interesting point, maybe Saleh should be playing his superstar defensive lineman even more.

When you look at the production he is churning out compared to the playing time, you could make a very strong case he could be the best IDL in the league. He is playing hundreds of snaps fewer than his contemporaries, yet he is putting up similar production.

This also brings us back full circle to the age-old question, to pay or not to pay?

Should the Jets break the bank for a rotational defensive lineman? The short answer is yes because he is so talented and you want to reward your players.

This is going to be a groundbreaking contract and when you look at the other highest-paid defensive tackles in the NFL it sets an incredibly high bar:

  • Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams: $22.5 million per year
  • DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts: $21 million per year
  • Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs: $20 million per year

Williams has accomplished a lot of things through his young career to date, but something that is still missing from the ledger is a Pro Bowl nod.

You can change that right now with the Pro Bowl voting open to the public. Go through the link below to cast your official ballot:

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