The New York Giants are projected to open the offseason with about $44 million in salary cap space, ranking third-most in the NFL. However, the number could still grow larger with the Giants having a few veteran players that could be cut to save money ahead of free agency. Leonard Williams is one of those veterans that the Giants could turn into a cap casualty.
How much cap space can the Giants save by cutting Leonard Williams?
The Giants can save $12.04 million this offseason by cutting Leonard Williams. Releasing the veteran defensive lineman will carry a $20.2 million dead cap hit this season, however, and a $5.96 million dead cap hit in 2024. Williams carries a $32.26 million cap hit in the 2023 season (OverTheCap).
The money may be enticing, but Williams is one of the Giants’ best defensive players. The Giants are likely to look for money-saving options that allow them to keep Big Cat on the roster. According to OverTheCap, extending Leonard Williams could free up over $13.46 million in cap space. Restructuring Williams’s contract could free up $8.4 million.
The Giants have restructured Williams’s contract in the past, and the veteran defensive lineman is open to having his contract restructured again, saying he “would probably consider” a pay cut to reduce his cap hit.
Leonard Williams is open to playing for less money because he wants to continue playing alongside All-Pro defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. “I want to play with Dex as long as possible,” Williams said to The New York Post. “Playing with someone like that helps me individually, and we help each other and the defense when we have two stout guys up front.”
Leonard Williams battled through some injuries this season, but he still managed to perform at a high level. He put up 2.5 sacks, 45 combined tackles, and five tackles for loss in 12 games in the 2022 regular season.
Williams is an integral piece of the New York Giants defense. While cutting him and investing that money elsewhere could allow the Giants to upgrade their roster, the same goal can be achieved by extending or restructuring Williams’s contract. The Giants should work to extend Big Cat this offseason, maintaining his spot on the roster as a deadly duo on the defensive line with Dexter Lawrence.