Robert Saleh Reacts to Viral Quinnen Williams-Jets Report

Robert Saleh, Quinnen Williams

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

After New York Jets fans panicked over news that the team and star defensive lineman Quinnen Williams weren’t close to an agreement on a long-term contract extension, head coach Robert Saleh appeared to try to soothe the fan base’s angst with a message reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers’ 2014 call for Packers fans to R-E-L-A-X.

“You’d have to ask Joe [Douglas], I’m very confident that he will get it done,” Saleh said May 8 on “The Rich Eisen Show” when asked for an update on the Williams contract talks. “I know reports were flying around this weekend but he’ll get done. I’m not worried about that one.”

A day earlier, ESPN’s Rich Cimini had written that even though the market for linemen seeking their second contract was “clearly formed,” Williams was no closer to getting his second deal. Cimini cited the $22.5 million a year and $23.5 million a year given to Dexter Lawrence of the New York Giants and Jeffrey Simmons of the Tennessee Titans, respectively.

“Williams appears to be The Next Man Up, but the two sides aren’t close to an agreement,” Cimini wrote. “The Jets have leverage because they have Williams’ rights for 2023, plus a potential franchise tag in 2024, but it doesn’t do them any good to upset one of their top players. In the meantime, he’s skipping voluntary workouts.

Holding Out on Quinnen Williams Could Be Costly for the New York Jets

Williams, who has one year remaining on his rookie contract, has been eligible to discuss a contract extension since last offseason. The Jets, however, have the ability to keep Williams, 25, under team control for the next four seasons because they can apply the franchise tag up to two times after his rookie deal expires after 2024.

If the Jets went to those lengths it would be incredibly costly, according to Pro Football Network’s Ben Rolfe.

“A second-straight franchise tag will see a player’s salary automatically increase by 20%. The exception to that would be if the salary cap value for the position increased by more than 20%, in which case, the higher value would be taken,” Rolfe wrote in January. “A third tag would see the price rise even higher. With the third tag, the player’s salary jumps 44% from the previous year. For example, a player tagged at $30 million in the first year would be valued at $36 million in Year 2. A third tag would see that value rise by more than $15 million to a total of $51.84 million.”

Beyond that, it would be a bad look for the Jets, Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald said in an April 15 story by Cimini.

“From a public relations standpoint, it would be a disaster if the Jets didn’t do [an extension],” Fitzgerald said, according to Cimini. “You want to put that positive vibe out there. Getting into a contract dispute with him, there’s probably not going to be anything positive out of that.”

Quinnen Williams Is Important to the Jets

Williams blew up last season career-high 12 sacks, but it looks as though he has only touched the surface of what he’s capable of as a football player.

He’s the “best player on the Jets,” according to ESPN’s Mike Greenberg.

“Look he deserves it. If anybody deserves it he does,” Greenberg told Jake Asman in a video interview. “The market for what he does is fairly well established, I think we generally know what it is. The best player on the team is Quinnen Williams. He is exactly the kind of guy that you want on your team. What an unbelievably good kid he is. Not only do I want him to get his deal because it would be good for the team but I want him to get his deal because when you come into the league and you do everything right the way he has you deserve to be rewarded.”

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