New York Jets: It’s too early to give up on Leonard Williams

New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
New York Jets Leonard Williams (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Rumors are floating around about trade talks surrounding New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Here is why he should be given more time to prove himself.

Trade rumors have developed for former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The New York Jets are accepting calls for the former USC star even after he just came off of his best performance of the season against the New England Patriots in a 33-0 loss.

It seems clear that the Jets believe he hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it is way too early to give up on a Pro Bowl-caliber player like Williams. The one main argument for trading him boils down to receiving an early-round draft pick in return.

The main issue with gathering draft picks in exchange for an already proven player is the dilemma when those draft picks make the situation worse. The best example is the Chicago Bears receiving Khalil Mack for primarily two first-round picks.

The chance of getting one player close to Mack is almost zero, which is why teams try to hold on to the once in a generation type of player.  It is clear up to this point Williams is not close to the level of Mack, but he is still a former Pro Bowl player and sixth pick overall.

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Another aspect is the Jets won’t have a replacement right away for Williams. NFL teams cannot just trade players without having a decent replacement, or the team just got that much worse.

The Jets are already thin on the defensive line, and getting rid of a quality defensive end will further highlight the issue.

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Two defensive linemen Henry Anderson and Steve McLendon are hurt — with the former more serious than the latter — which means the amount of time the opposing quarterback has will increase.

Losing Williams to trade would be detrimental to success defensively and would put the unit in a vulnerable position.

It is only Williams’ fifth season in the NFL, and he might develop later into the product the Jets wanted originally. Some players are late bloomers, and with the 2016 Pro Bowl appearance, if he still has a lot of room to grow, then the sky is the limit.

With the draft coming up soon the if the Jets were to trade Williams, then they would need to presumably fill in his spot with another first-round quality defensive end. Chase Young from Ohio State is the one stand out player who plays a similar position that has clear potential to fill the void.

Unfortunately for the Jets, he might not be available when they pick.

The draft pick the Jets receive for Williams would have to be high enough to get reciprocal talent back. The asking price will be too high for most teams because the Jets need the draft picks to keep developing the foundation for the organization to build off.

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It is no longer a complete rebuild in New York with Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams. Trading Leonard Williams would be premature, and the Jets need to think more about their immediate future.