The New York Giants have plenty of time to sign interior defensive lineman Leonard Williams to an extension. General manager Dave Gettleman placed the franchise tag on Williams almost two weeks ago, which will count $16.126 million against the salary cap. That is a lot of money for Williams, who was anticipated to earn somewhere in the $10-12 million range per season.
While there is no rush for Williams to sign an extension with the Giants or stay on the franchise tag, the team has until July 15 to officially make a decision on his future. Signing the tag too early takes leverage away from the player, which can hurt their stock and chances at an extension. The consensus is that Williams will re-sign with the Giants on a multi-year deal for a lower per-year hit but high guarantees, based on the contracts the Giants have handed out this offseason.
Williams has been a controversial topic among Giants fans in recent months after Gettleman traded a third and fifth-round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for the defensive tackle. In 2019, Williams started in five games for Big Blue, earning 26 combine tackles, 11 quarterback hits, 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. His statistical output doesn’t scream efficiency, but he played well against the run and did generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
What does Leanord Williams bring to the New York Giants?
Williams was double-teamed on 64% of defensive snaps last season, proving that he does draw more attention away from offensive lineman and coordinators. The hope is that he can be a foundational player for the Giants on defense, especially in stopping the run, where Gettleman and new head coach Joe Judge are focused.
Currently, the defensive line features Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence. The three big men are all capable of putting together solid performances and can develop into one of the better front three units in the league.
However, the biggest concern at this point is Williams not being signed to a contract extension and rescinded off the franchise tag. Subtracting Leonard’s $16 million off the salary cap is essential moving forward, as it would allow them to re-sign a player like Markus Golden or another quality pass rusher.
That is a significant solicitude, as the Giants currently feature Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines at the outside linebacker position. Scheming a pass rush is not an ideal situation for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in 2020. Retaining Golden or bringing in an alternative should be a priority in the coming weeks.