3 former NY Jets who won’t live up to their new contracts

These former Jets might not live up to their contracts

Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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1. Leonard Williams, DL, Seattle Seahawks

  • 3 years, $64.5 million ($43.85 million)

Leonard Williams is a good NFL player. The former Jets first-round pick has carved out a solid role as an above-average interior defensive lineman, although he's never been able to return to the Pro Bowl since leaving the Jets in 2019.

His best career season came in 2020 when he finished with a career-high 11.5 sacks in his first full season with the New York Giants. That's the only season in which Williams has notched more than seven sacks, however.

Williams is an above-average-to-very-good defensive lineman, but those types of players don't usually get paid over $21 million per season. However, that's exactly what happened when the Seattle Seahawks extended him this offseason.

The Seahawks were likely hoping to justify the hefty price they paid to acquire him in a midseason trade with the New York Giants. That's the only explanation for the $43.85 million in guarantees they handed him.

Williams is now the fifth-highest-paid defensive end in the entire NFL behind only Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, Montez Sweat, and Maxx Crosby. His AAV is higher than players like Trey Hendrickson, Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Haason Reddick, Arik Armstead, and Bryce Huff.

This is despite the fact that Williams finished with just 54 pressures last season — his highest total since 2020. For reference, John Franklin-Myers of the Jets finished with 50 pressures.

Williams is a quality defensive standout and a well-respected locker-room leader, but he's nowhere close to a top-five defensive end in the NFL. The Seahawks might regret giving him that contract, especially seeing as he turns 30 in June.

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