New York Jets: Leonard Williams mentioned as a trade target for the Eagles

New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been the subject of numerous trade rumors as of late and the most recent team he is being connected to is the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s been a difficult last few years for New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

A player who at one point was considered one of the top young defensive players in the league has seen his production diminish and his fanbase turn on him all in just a couple, short seasons.

And unfortunately, his time with Gang Green could soon be coming to an end.

Williams burst on to the scene as a rookie back in 2015 and was hailed as the consensus best player in his draft class. He was even called the “perfect draft prospect” ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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And after a breakout 2016 campaign that saw him rack up seven sacks and make his first Pro Bowl appearance, Williams looked well on his way to becoming the perennial All-Pro player that the Jets hoped he would one day become.

Unfortunately, that 2016 season turned out to be his peak as a professional, at least to this point.

Since that seven-sack season, Williams has managed to record the same total number of sacks in twice as many games. All the while, he has been praised for his “hidden production” and applauded by coaching staffs for his defensive presence.

But after four and a quarter seasons in the green and white, it’s clear that Williams just isn’t the same player that he was three seasons ago. The game-wrecking, rising star defender that he was back in 2016 is not the same player who wears No. 92 now.

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Instead, Leonard Williams is simply a name.

The “hidden production” that has long been lauded has disappeared. It’s disappeared from the stat sheet and it’s disappeared from reality. Williams is no longer double-teamed at a high rate. In fact, he hasn’t been since 2017.

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Gang Green Nation’s Michael Nania did an excellent deep dive into the actual analytics behind his double-team rate and found that Williams was only doubled on 17.4% of snaps last season. And that percentage has almost assuredly decreased since then.

The production isn’t there and the excuses are running out.

With Williams’ contract set to expire at the end of the season, it’s looking more and more unlikely that the Jets opt to move on from the former USC standout once the offseason arrives.

But perhaps they could move on even sooner.

Williams has been talked about as a possible trade target for numerous teams around the league and a recent comment made by’s Albert Breer has people talking.

Breer indicated that the Philadelphia Eagles are a team that could be in the mix to acquire the talented defensive lineman at the deadline. The exact compensation is unknown, but it’s hard to imagine the Jets getting anything more than a fourth or fifth-round pick in return.

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Wiliams has arguably been outperformed this season by the likes of Kyle Phillips and Folorunso Fatukasi and the young duo could easily be asked to step in and fill Williams’ role.

Not to mention 2019 first-round pick Quinnen Williams who deserves more time with the starters and that could come at the expense of the older Williams. But the Alabama product should be receiving those snaps so long as veteran Henry Anderson remains out with a shoulder injury.

The Jets would be wise to part ways with Williams prior to the trade deadline if they could get even a fifth-round pick in return. And considering where we all thought Williams was headed after his 2016 season, that’s certainly hard to hear.

Leonard Williams was at one point supposed to be one of the key building blocks of a young New York Jets defense. But only three years later and he should be shown the door before long.

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