Leonard Williams sees ‘good opportunity’ amid his Giants uncertainty

He’s right here. It’s the place he desires to be, he says.

How lengthy he’s right here, nicely, good luck with that. For now, it’s 2020 imaginative and prescient for Leonard Williams, a sturdy defensive deal with traded by the Jets to the Giants, immediately turning into about as polarizing a transaction as one can think about.

The thought course of by the Giants went like this: Convey within the younger and wholesome defensive lineman, get him acclimated into the system and, if all goes nicely, safe him with a multiyear extension.

The truth of the scenario went like this: Williams was a pleasant however low-impact addition, the Giants knew they wished to maintain him and did so with the franchise tag for $16.1 million. The offseason got here and went, no new contract — and even the trace of a brand new contract — materialized and Williams is about to embark on his first full season with the Giants, with a brand-new teaching workers for him to be taught and impress.

“I feel it’s at all times within the participant’s curiosity to get a long-term deal, however that’s one thing that labored itself out between my brokers and the group,’’ Williams stated Friday. “I’m simply joyful to be right here, play with this group once more, and be taught in regards to the guys that I’ve been with since final yr.’’

Leonard Williams
Leonard WilliamsRobert Sabo

On Oct. 28, the Giants have been 2-6 at midseason once they despatched a 2020 third-round decide and a 2021 fifth-round decide to the Jets, bringing again Williams, the No. 6-overall choice within the 2015 NFL Draft. The deal was not made with short-sighted targets in thoughts. Williams was then solely 25 years previous (he presently is 26), and the Giants noticed in him a fixture on their line of defense.

Surprisingly, it by no means received to the purpose the place negotiations ever opened up, a lot much less received shut or stalemated. The Giants expressed their curiosity in a multiyear extension to Williams’ camp however there was no response. Maybe Williams’ camp realized the 2 sides weren’t going to see eye-to-eye on the worth of the participant. The Giants weren’t going to throw out an extravagant contract proposal to Williams, which basically can be bidding in opposition to themselves.

“I wouldn’t say it was disappointing,’’ Williams stated. “I form of knew the scenario I used to be coming off of final yr. I feel it’s really an excellent alternative for myself. I’m taking a look at it as a possibility. I’m not taking a look at it as one thing that’s unhealthy. I’m taking a look at it as a possibility.’’

It is a chance for Williams to make an excellent chunk of change this season and attempt to improve his worth, as he isn’t coming off a season to make anybody open the coffers and break the financial institution. In seven begins with the Jets, Williams had 20 tackles, 5 quarterback hits and no sacks. Williams in eight begins for the Giants had 26 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and one half sack. This was not the kind of manufacturing that put Williams able of power when it got here to contract talks.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve one thing to show essentially,’’ Williams stated. “I feel the coaches know and my teammates know what I convey to the desk or I wouldn’t be right here. I positively nonetheless really feel like I’m enjoying with a chip on my shoulder on the similar time, although. I’m prepared to only exit right here and play the perfect that I can. I’m not trying in the direction of the longer term or subsequent offseason or what’s going to occur a yr from now.’’

Within the right here and now, Williams holds a distinguished spot within the defensive scheme. He’s anticipated to begin on a three-man line with Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence, offering the rock-solid run protection he placed on show his first 5 NFL seasons. Williams has by no means missed a sport in his profession, so he has sturdiness and youth on his aspect.

Williams reported to his first coaching camp with the Giants and was promptly placed on the non-football damage listing with what is taken into account a slight hamstring challenge.

“I’m positively making strides and doing the perfect that I can to get on the market with my teammates,’’ Williams stated.

New head coach Joe Choose was all for holding Williams. What occurs this season will decide how lengthy the soccer relationship lasts.

“I don’t let an excessive amount of outdoors noise get to me,’’ Williams stated. “I simply attempt to work exhausting, maintain the blinders on and maintain working and doing what I can do.”

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