quinnen williams jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For the most part, Jets fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. After all, Aaron Rodgers is officially a Jet and installed as their starting quarterback. Life is good, right? It is, but it’ll be even better once defensive tackle Quinnen Williams gets the new contract he’s looking for.

New York went into this offseason knowing Williams wanted a new deal. On the eve of the 2023 NFL Draft, Jets general manager Joe Douglas sounded upbeat about the team’s negotiations with Williams’ camp. Here’s what he said (via the Jets’ YouTube channel)

I feel like we’re trending in a good place. So, optimistic and hopeful is how I’d describe that.

But now that the Draft is in the rearview mirror, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reports things aren’t actually close to having a resolution:

Two defensive tackles from Quinnen Williams’ draft class — Tennessee Titans’ Jeffery Simmons ($23.5 million per year) and the New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence ($22.5 million) — have received big extensions this offseason. Williams appears to be The Next Man Up, but the two sides aren’t close to an agreement even though the second-contract market for top defensive tackles is clearly formed.

The Jets have leverage because they have Williams’ rights for 2023, plus a potential franchise tag in 2024, but it doesn’t do them any good to upset one of their top players. In the meantime, he’s skipping voluntary workouts.

The contract market for top defensive tackles is there. At the end of the day, New York is going to have to pay the man. Simmons received $59.33 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, Lawrence’s contract extension includes $60 million guaranteed.

As Cimini said in the above blurb, Gang Green can try to get an upper hand in negotiations. Would it really be a good idea to upset one of their best players on one of the league’s best defenses, though? Probably not.

In a breakout performance this past season, Williams accumulated 12 sacks, 55 total tackles, and two forced fumbles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, earned First-Team All-Pro honors, and finished seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

As we’ve seen many times, contracts for NFL players, especially the big-time dudes, are a game of comparison. The market for Williams’ position is set. Heck, the contracts are for players who even got drafted in the same year as him. New York can either drag this out and play with fire, or just find a way to pay the man. They should probably do the latter.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.