Leonard Williams Signs the Franchise Tag

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Patricia Traina

The Giants announced that defensive lineman Leonard Williams has signed the franchise tag offer given to him by the team last month.

Williams was acquired by the Giants last year from the Jets shortly before the trade deadline at a cost that includes this year's third-round pick and next year's fifth-round pick.

In eight games for the Giants, Williams managed just half a sack but also recorded 31 pass pressures (third on the team).

He also had an impact on the team's run defense. Before joining the Giants, the team was surrendering an average of 122.4 rushing yards per game. After Williams came on board, that average dropped to 104.1 yards per game.

That production ultimately was good enough for the team to try to save face on perhaps its most controversial transaction of general manager Dave Gettleman's tenure by applying the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 25-year-old defender who likely would have hit free agency after the season.

It's unclear if Williams was designated as a defensive tackle, which carries a $16.1 million cost, or as a defensive end, which has a $17.8 million cost. Williams will reportedly file a grievance to receive the higher of the two tag amounts.

In signing the tag, Williams is guaranteed at least $16.1 million for 2020 and will have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal with the Giants. He can also participate in the team's virtual off-season program, which began on Monday.

With a signed tag in place, the Giants can now also trade Williams, if they wish, though general manager Dave Gettleman has not given any indication to wanting to move the defender. In a conference call last week with reporters, Gettleman declined to discuss contracts only to say that, "Contracts get done when they get done."

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