Breaking Down the Leonard Williams Trade

Here's a look at the cost, the benefits and the risks of the Giants' acquisition of Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
Publish date:

The benefits of the Giants' acquisition of Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been debated since news of the transaction broke Monday afternoon.

Opinions seem split regarding who of the Giants or Jets got the better end of the deal, but in reality, both sides appear to have benefitted.

The Jets, who likely had no interest in re-signing Williams after this season, probably would have gotten a high-round comp pick had Williams signed with another team.

Thanks to the trade, the Jets are now guaranteed to get two picks, a third-round pick in 2020 (the high-round pick they likely would have gotten as a comp pick next year), and a mid-round pick in 2021.

The Giants, who some argue could have and should have waited until the off-season to make a play for Williams, now get an eight-game trial from the 25-year-old and will have first dibs on negotiating a new deal with him if he pans out as hoped.

This "try before you buy" approach (aided by reports of the Jets absorbing $4 of the estimated $6 million remaining on Williams' base salary this year) could benefit the Giants from making a costly cap mistake resulting in overspending for a player.

If Williams doesn't work out for the Giants--who are projected by Over the Cap to be in line for a third-round comp pick next year after losing safety Landon Collins in free agency earlier this year--the Giants should be able to land a comp pick for Williams in 2021.

From the Giants' perspective, the only thing they've cost themselves is draft pick selection order. The comp picks, remember, are awarded at the bottom of each round.

Now that teams are allowed to trade comp picks, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has shown he's not afraid to put together a package to get the player he wants.

Could the Giants have waited for Williams to become a free agent and saved themselves the cost of the draft picks?

Perhaps, but that was based on the assumption that no one was going to trade for Williams, who per ESPN drew interest from "multiple teams."

For more analysis on the trade, check out the video.