Leonard Williams, the defensive lineman the New York Giants traded their third-round draft pick to acquire from the New York Jets last season, signed his franchise tag on Wednesday, the team announced. The question that still remains is whether the tag will pay him as a defensive end or a defensive tackle. Williams, who considers himself a defensive end, is hoping that he is paid as one, as the franchise tag for defensive ends is about $1.7 million more in price than a defensive tackle. According to Over The Cap, defensive ends will make $17.78 million under the tag, while defensive tackles will make $16.12 million.
Williams is reportedlythis offseason that would pay him around $10-12 million per season. While he didn't rule out signing Williams to a long-term deal, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman alluded to Williams possibly playing this season under the franchise tag. If Williams does eventually sign a long-term deal with the Giants, Gettleman gave up a third-round pick in this year's draft and a 2021 fifth-round pick to acquire Williams.
The sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Williams was an immediate starter for the Jets, recording 63 tackles and three sacks as a rookie while helping New York post a 10-6 record. Williams earned his first Pro Bowl selection the following season, setting career highs in tackles (68), sacks (seven) and forced fumbles (two).
While his production over the next two seasons was solid, Williams was unable to match the success he enjoyed during the 2016 season at the end of his time with the Jets. And after a slow start to the 2019 season, he was traded to the Giants, recording just 20 tackles during his first seven games with Big Blue.