Leonard Williams will be back with the Giants in 2021 on a new three-year deal, which was agreed to on Tuesday.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday Big Blue and its star defensive lineman have agreed to a three-year deal worth $63 million, $45 million of which is guaranteed.
Giant and Leonard Williams have agreed on a 3 year deal for 63 million with 45 million fully guaranteed. Roosevelt Barnes and Brandon Parker, and exec Kevin Abrams finished the deal today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
This comes after the Giants franchise tagged Williams earlier this month. However, the franchise tag was supposed to be a placeholder for a long-term deal to eventually come to fruition.
Williams now earns an average annual salary of $21 million after the tag was supposed to be for $19.4 million (120% of his 2020 salary). It was previously reported Williams wanted “a lot more” than $19 million on a per-year basis.
After the Giants franchise tagged Williams in 2020, he underwent a career year and led the team in both sacks (11.5) and quarterback hits (30). This led to him being as expensive as he is.
Williams’ new per-year value is tied for second out of all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The $45 million in guaranteed money is additionally second within that position group behind Rams superstar Aaron Donald.
Leonard Williams now tied for second among interior defensive linemen in APY with DeForest Buckner at $21 million. His $45M fully guaranteed is second only to Aaron Donald.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 16, 2021
Taking Williams off the tag and re-signing him has certainly helped the cap — the Giants currently own nearly $17.8 million in space and could thus commence business (the stalemate between the organization and Williams prevented the former from really dipping into the free agent pool).
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Williams’ cap hit for 2021 drops from $19.4 million (his tag price) to around $11 million — a crucial decrease.
The #Giants gave Leonard Williams a $22.5 million signing bonus, per source. So while he gets a big-time payday — three years, $63 million with $45M fully guaranteed — his cap number drops from over $19 million on the tag to about $11M. Some extra flexibility for New York.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 16, 2021
Losing out on Williams would’ve been an awful look for Dave Gettleman and the rest of the Giants front office, especially after the team lost Dalvin Tomlinson to the Vikings Monday night. The Giants’ re-signing of defensive tackle Austin Johnson earlier on Monday hinted towards the possible parting of ways with Tomlinson, who agreed to a two-year deal with Minnesota.
New York, however, still has work to do in free agency, despite the fact it’s already completed its top priority in inking Williams to a new contract. Now that that deal is done, the Giants can look towards filling an important role and acquiring a true No. 1 wide receiver to assist in Daniel Jones’ development. The organization can additionally seek out a new edge rusher or veteran corner to possibly take on a stopgap role alongside star corner James Bradberry.
Maybe some cap space is utilized for offensive line depth as well? Who knows?
Questions should be answered, however, in the coming days.