The Twitter detectives were out over the weekend, disproving the recent reports indicating that Leonard Williams’ contract is a done deal with the New York Giants. Williams, who was traded from the Jets to the Giants midway through the 2019 season, is expected to sign with Big Blue in the coming days, regardless of the false reports.
His value in stopping the run aligns perfectly with Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman’s mentality towards a successful defense, and he made a significant difference when he joined the Giants last season. While his pass-rush abilities aren’t elite, he forces double teams and draws offensive lineman away from stunts and different blitz packages.
Leonard posted decent numbers in 2019 with the Giants over five started games — 26 combined tackles, two tackles for a loss, 11 QB hits, and one forced fumble. He will need to increase his production next season, especially if he earns a significant deal from the Giants. He has been working with former Patriots standout defender, Richard Seymore, to help break down his game and iron out the details.
Bringing Williams back is no guarantee, though, despite his undeniable quality and value in the run game. I anticipate Gettleman offering a multi-year deal to the veteran interior defender, but anything over $14 million would be inadvisable.
Why the New York Giants wouldn’t re-sign Leonard Williams:
Aside from the money factor, one reason Gettleman could pass on Williams is that Auburn’s Derrick Brown enamors him. Bringing in defensive talent that can play multiple positions is how Judge and Dave see the defense progressing — Brown can act as a run-stopper and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
With Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence slotted in as starters, the Giants will either re-sign Williams or draft Brown. Retaining Leo would nearly guarantee that Brown is not their selection in the draft, which would ultimately be a good thing with elite offensive tackle options available with the 4th overall pick and Clemons standout defender, Isaiah Simmons, representing one of the draft’s top playmakers.