It’s looking like the New York Giants could franchise tag pass rusher Leonard Williams this offseason to prevent him from leaving in free agency. However, if they decide to do that, they might have to pay more than they initially expected.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Williams has an open grievance with the NFLPA to be designated as a defensive end instead of a defensive tackle. This would impact how much money Williams receives if the Giants do go ahead and give him the franchise tag.
A franchise tag subplot…Leonard Williams' grievance remains unresolved w/ NFLPA, per sources. He wants DE label, not DT, and if he wins, 2020 tag jumps from $16.1M to $17.8M — thus, a second tag from $19.4 to $21.4M. Could factor into talks as Giants want to sign him long term
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 1, 2021
The Giants may have to pay Williams more retroactively after franchise tagging him as a defensive tackle and playing him more as a defensive end, a higher paid position. The main concern, however, is that his tag price for a second time around would rise to $21.4M. The Giants will be in a tough cap spot this season and the front office definitely won’t be happy to hear about Williams costing $3.8M more to bring back.
It seems like the team wants to sign Williams to a longer deal but that may not happen with other teams being in a position to offer more money. Furthermore, the Giants may prioritize bringing back Williams’ fellow lineman Dalvin Tomlinson instead.
With other teams circling and sitting in a position to sign Williams this offseason, many have predicted the Giants going in another direction to address the pass rush, which Williams led in 2020. That might include drafting Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, or trying to address the position through free agency. Either way, a potentially costlier tag is just one new thing on a list of reasons a Williams return in 2021 is looking more unlikely.