The New York Giants made a bad trade when they traded a third round pick in 2020, plus a fifth rounder in 2021 that can turn into a fourth rounder if they re-sign Williams before free agency. However, the Giants didn’t make a mistake by trading for Williams.
I know that previous paragraph seems a bit two-faced but the reality is Leonard Williams could still be a building block on the defensive line. Since being traded to the Giants, Williams has been close to invisible, something New York Jets’ fans are all too familiar with. In three games with the Giants, Williams has seven tackles, no sacks, and no tackles for loss. He seems hesitant a lot of the time, another thing Jets’ fans are familiar with.
Williams’ production is actually beneficial to the Giants. The 2020 free agent class is fairly deep along the defensive line and Williams hasn’t exactly stood out this year, or any year since he was drafted sixth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. There have been flashes but Williams has yet to put together a NFL game film that rivals his college game film, even on the single-game level. That doesn’t mean, however, that the talent isn’t there.
Since joining the Giants there have been little snippets that entice the trained eye. Williams has accumulated 14 quarterback hurries, six of which were QB hits, in those three games with the Giants. He is actually doing something even if it doesn’t show up on tape and highlight reels.
The unpopular opinion right now is the Giants should re-sign Williams. That is the correct opinion, assuming Williams and his team don’t think they are worth a record-breaking contract. There are quite a few options this offseason for teams looking for defensive line help but Williams might be among the top tier for 3-4 defensive ends despite his lack of tangible production.
You can try to look for a player like Williams recently in the NFL and you will most likely come up short. He has immense talent. He can rush the passer and play against the run. The problem is he comes up short most of the time and doesn’t translate into elite status as yet.
He does have elite talent, however. He is still just 25-years-old and produces, even if away from the cameras. If Williams is willing to take a reasonable contract from the Giants then the Giants should absolutely re-sign Williams. Williams can be a viable, and valuable, part of a defensive front. The Giants, given the price they paid for Williams and his potential should re-sign Williams assuming he isn’t asking to break the bank.
In a season filled with disappointment and sprinkled with hope, Williams is actually one of those rays of hope. There is a ton of talent in Williams and the Giants, given their current record, need to invest in talent, especially on defense. The Giants would be better off plugging Williams into a defensive rotation that features Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson. There is still a very good chance the Giants can win this trade nut they will need more along the defensive line to help bring out the best in Williams in order to do so.