The New York Giants seem to be regretting the Leonard Williams trade. Here’s why that’s great news for New York Jets fans and all the details.
The New York Jets selected Leonard Williams with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of USC. In his five years with the green and white he never lived up to the expectations of a top draft pick, so the team decided that they’ll deal him at the trade deadline.
With his low career sack total, high 2019 cap figure, and pending free agent status there seemed to be a ceiling to the trade package the Jets could receive. That was of course until the cross-town rival New York Giants made a call.
Right ahead of the trade deadline, the two rival New York teams completed their first trade in history. The Jets sent the mercurial former top draft pick to Big Blue in exchange for a pair of future draft picks.
The main reason the Jets agreed to the deal is that Leonard Williams was always talented, but not enough to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
So far with the Giants, it’s been much of the same.
In three games with his new squad, Leonard Williams has seven tackles and zero sacks.
While on the opposite side of the fence, the Jets have thrived since Leo left:
- Nathan Shepherd returned from his suspension and has been solid (two sacks).
- Henry Anderson has returned to the lineup and looks like his 2018 self.
- Kyle Phillips is an undrafted gem who has dominated.
- Folorunso Fatukasi has been dominant against the run.
This season the Jets have the No. 1 rush defense in the league (allowing only 78.1 rushing yards per game). The team also has 26 sacks on the season which ranks 20th in the league, but they’ve had a huge uptick over the last handful of games.
So the Jets got some money off the books, got premium draft capital (a 2020 third-round pick, which looks like a top 66 pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick that can become a fourth-round pick if the Giants re-sign him ahead of the new league year), and opened up opportunities for the younger players on the roster.
This is what football folks reference in the business the ultimate win-win scenario. The Jets were never going to pay Leonard Williams over $14 million per season to be a glorified run-stuffing defensive lineman, so all of the rewards from trading him is pure gravy. Thanks, Giants!