The New York Giants and Leonard Williams plan to play out the franchise tag, making the initial trade that much more questionable.
Back in October, the New York Giants (for some odd reason) took it upon themselves to trade for then-New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams. In a deal near the deadline, Big Blue gave their crosstown rivals a pair of draft picks (2020 third-round and 2021 fifth-round) for Williams, a man who really hadn’t been a standout player since his 2016 Pro Bowl campaign.
It was a questionable move, and with the latest news, the deal may have actually become even worse.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Giants and Williams plan to play out the franchise tag the organization placed on him in March. This would mean that the team and one of its starting defensive linemen will not be coming to terms on a long-term deal. The deadline to do so is Wednesday of this week.
The #Giants & standout DE Leonard Williams are on the same page as Wednesday’s deadline for franchise players to get deals looms: The plan is to play out the 1-year tag, sources say. The hope is Williams excels in the new system and becomes a big part of the team’s future.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 13, 2020
Essentially, the Giants want to get a good look at how Williams performs this upcoming season — what would be his first full year with the team — before making any long-term plans. But, here’s the thing: if you weren’t going to keep him in the fold for the long haul right away, why would you even give up a pair of picks in the first place?
Out of all the moves Dave Gettleman has made in his tenure as the Giants general manager (and there have been some bad ones), this is still arguably the most mind-boggling. Unless Williams can somehow pull off an outstanding year under newly hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and the Giants can strike a reasonable long-term deal with him thereafter, nothing beneficial will ever come out of this trade.
In eight games with Big Blue last year, Williams racked up 26 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, .5 sacks, and a forced fumble.