leonard williams giants
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Joe Schoen’s efforts to clean up Dave Gettleman’s salary cap mess have now touched one of his most controversial moves.

The Giants have restructured defensive tackle Leonard Williams’ contract in order to get under the cap. The details, via ESPN: Williams had $17.88 million of his $19 million salary for 2022 converted into a signing bonus. The Giants also added a void contract year.

Williams is now technically under contract through the 2024 season, even though the deal will terminate before then. The moves mean Williams now has a $32.3 million cap hit in 2023 and the Giants have pushed $6 million in dead money into 2024. Williams isn’t going to get any more (or less) money than he was prior to the restructure; he will just get it earlier. And the odds he will be with the Giants next season have ticked up.

It’s far from a guarantee Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll will hold onto him. But after reworking the deal they would take a $20 million dead cap hit (and save just $12 million in cap space) if they cut Williams in the spring. That may not be worth it for the Giants. Williams is an effective player, albeit an overpaid one. And it certainly makes more sense to move toward keeping Williams in 2023 than, say, reworking Kenny Golladay’s awful deal.

Back to the initial point: Gettleman’s decision to make the trade with the Jets for Williams at the 2019 deadline keeps looking worse. They gave the Jets valuable draft capital. They franchise tagged Williams after a 0.5-sack season to justify the deal. Then Williams had a career year, they ponied up and it has not paid off in any way since the team, you know, has been a steaming dumpster fire. And now it is impacting Schoen’s efforts to rebuild.


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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.