Report: Jets trade Pro Bowl DT Leonard Williams to Giants

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and while we’ve already seen several big names changing uniforms, there are likely more to come.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Monday afternoon that the New York Jets and New York Giants have agreed to a trade that sends defensive tackle Leonard Williams, the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, from the Jets to the Giants.

Bright side: Williams very likely won’t have to move.

Schefter said the Jets are receiving a third-round pick in 2020 and fifth-round pick in 2021 in the trade, though the ‘21 pick could become a fourth-rounder if Williams signs a contract extension with the Giants before the start of the new league year next March.

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IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR SIRIUSXM - New York Giants first round pick Daniel Jones visits SiriusXM NFL Radio at the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. (Wade Payne/AP Images for SiriusXM)
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The Jets will reportedly pick up $4 million of Williams’ remaining salary this season as well, leaving the Giants to pay $3.5 million, though they currently have less than $2 million in cap space.

The last trade the Jets and Giants made was in 1983 — when the Jets sent a conditional pick to the Giants for lineman Chris Foote, who was waived a week later, nullifying the trade.

A Pro Bowler in 2016, Williams is in the final year of his rookie contract. In seven starts this season, he’s credited with 20 total tackles (eight solo) and five quarterback hits but no sacks.

As Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Terez Paylor wrote last week in a story on players who may be traded, Williams has not become the star many projected he would become when he was drafted by the Jets:

“Williams has averaged about four sacks a year from 2015 to 2018 and this year he has recorded zero sacks and five quarterback hits for the 1-5 Jets, despite leading their defensive linemen in snap percentage with 75 percent. Considering he’s slated to be a free agent next spring, that’s disappointing production for a contract season.

“And when you throw in the fact that again, there’s a new regime in New York — one that did not draft him — it makes sense why the Jets would be looking to move on. Any team that trades for Williams would have to absorb the remainder of his $14.2 million cap number for 2019, which isn’t great. But he is regarded as a solid run defender with the athleticism to be a good interior rush, and given his youth it wouldn’t be a surprise to see someone bet on their ability to get the best out of a player who was once regarded as the best player in his draft class.”

Maybe a change of scenery, so to speak, will help Williams. He certainly has plenty of motivation to play well since he’s in a contract year and could be an unrestricted free agent in a few months if he doesn’t do a deal with the Giants sooner.

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