The New York Giants trading for Jets interior defensive lineman Leonard Williams took everyone by surprise on Monday afternoon. Considering Williams’ inefficient season, general manager Dave Gettleman is one of the league’s top lineman evaluators, which makes this deal a bit more optimistic than most.
Williams has 17 total seasons over four seasons and zero this campaign, but he’s a strong interior presence who can pair up perfectly alongside rookie, Dexter Lawrence.
The former Jet has been extremely productive in some categories, though, despite his low sacks totals. Since 2016, 38.7% of Williams’ run tackles have gone for a loss or no gain, which ranks second behind only Aaron Donald. His power and strength next to Lawrence will give the Giants a monster presence in the trenches and allow them to push the pile with force.
Add in B.J. Hill and the Giants are quietly building one of the stronger defensive lines in the league, given Williams can elevate his game with Big Blue. Staying in New York makes his life a bit easier, as the transition isn’t as tedious, but learning a new scheme will take time.
What did the New York Giants give up for Leonard Williams?
Big Blue unloaded a third-round pick and a fifth-rounder that can turn into a fourth if the Giants re-sign him before the new league year. However, they can recoup the third-rounder as a compensatory pick if they let Williams walk in the free agency.
Reports have stated that the Giants could give the lineman upwards of $10 million in free agency, which might be a decent deal considering his lack of production. Higher priced free agent pass rushers might garner upwards of $15 million, and if the Giants see his production increase in the second half of the year in a new scheme, we can expect him to stick around for the foreseeable future.
Realistically, the Giants traded away a fifth-round pick for a rental, but one that could prove to be a long-term option in the trenches. Dexter Lawrence, who ranks fifth in the NFL in pass-rush win-rate (9.9%), will benefit from this trade.