Wed. Jan 23rd, 2019

Will the Jets place DT Leonard Williams on trade block?

If Gang Green does shop Williams, it appears the club’s motives would be mostly financial in nature. As a former first-round pick, Williams is under contract in 2019 via a $14.2 million fifth-year option. That figure alone would rank Williams ninth among all NFL interior defensive lineman, and he’d only get more expensive in the following years.

New York could potentially reach a long-term extension with Williams at some point in the next year-plus, but a franchise tag could also be in the cards. If he’s franchised in 2020, Williams would collect 120 percent of his 2019 salary, meaning he’d earn roughly $32 million over the next two seasons combined. A $16 million average annual value would rank sixth among defensive tackles on a league-wide basis.

Thus far, the Jets haven’t had any extension negotiations with Williams, although those talks are expected to occur in 2019. Williams, who has acknowledged New York’s head coaching change will affect his decisions going forward, doesn’t sound interested in giving the Jets any sort of hometown discount. “It’s one of my goals to be one of the best players, one of the best defensive linemen,” Williams said in June. “When that comes, then I think the money comes with it.”

Williams is still only 24 years old and has never missed a game during his NFL career. In 2018, Williams managed five sacks and tied for 18th among defensive lineman with 20 quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus ranked Williams as the 31st-best interior defender among 121 qualifiers.

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