The New York Giants are going to franchise tag defensive lineman Leonard Williams ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Giants reportedly plan to utilize the tag as a placeholder, which New York will use to further discussions with the 26-year old on a potential long-term deal. This is the second straight year Williams is getting tagged.
There were rumblings that the Giants were not going to extend the franchise tag to Williams. Nevertheless, this was the safe move for New York as it prevents the 2015 No. 6 overall pick from hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent. Likewise, it buys them more time to work out a long-term contract before March 15, which is when free agency opens.
The franchise tag for Williams this year is pegged at $19.4 million. But, as mentioned, the ultimate goal is coming to terms on a longer deal, which should count on their 2021 cap at a lesser cost.
Williams is coming off the best year of his career in his first full season with the Giants. In the 2020 campaign, Williams recorded 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 30 quarterback hits, all of which are new career bests. While New York went just 6-10, Williams’ performance was part of a stellar effort from the defense.
The Giants have repeatedly expressed their desire to keep Williams in the long run. They’re certainly hoping they will finally be able to secure Williams’ services as both sides try to negotiate once again.