The Giants want Leonard Williams for the long term, and based on what Williams has said in the past about being part of the Giants family, he appears very open to returning to the team as well.
But with time running out on the franchise and transition tag window and no new long-term deal appearing to be on the horizon, the Giants might not have any choice but to apply the franchise tag on Williams for the second year in a row.
Then there is the ESPN report which revealed that the grievance Williams's representation filed last year against the Giants when they classified him as a defensive tackle rather than a defensive end (a designation that meant roughly a $1.7 million difference on the tag), has yet to be resolved.
If the Giants tag Williams a second year in a row, the 2021 tag calls for a 20% raise based on what he earned under the tag last year. And if Williams, who also has a separate, unresolved grievance against the Jets regarding what he was to be paid in the option year of his rookie contract, is tagged as a defensive end, he could be looking at putting a freeze on just over $20 million.
In other words, if the arbitrator rules in favor of Williams, he'll be owed additional money (likely with interest).
It's not uncommon for grievances to go months before being resolved. Given the uncertainty and navigation, the league and players union went through last year, several things that ordinarily would have been addressed were put on the back burner.
Tenders for players who partake in different positions are based on where they spent most of the snaps. In 2019, Williams, according to PFF's snap counts, spent 48.6% of his season snaps at defensive tackle, including 49% at defensive tackle with the Jets and 48.2% of his snaps at tackle with the Giants.
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In 2020, a case could be made for Williams to be tendered as a defensive end as 46% of his snaps were at positions considered defensive interior while 53.8% were at spots considered to be end/edge, according to PFF.
If Williams is tagged again, as is expected to be the case, his tag would be approximately $19,351,200 since this would be his second straight franchise tag.
The 2021 NFL franchise/transition tag window closes March 9 at 4 p.m. ET. If by chance Williams' grievance is heard before then and an arbitrator rules in his favor, that would mean he'd be owed at least an additional $1.7 million.
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