When New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman decided to acquire Leonard Williams from the Jets – despite his team sitting at 2-6 – it was always a curious move. It now looks even worse after Williams’ lack of production.
If you follow this site at all, you already know that I was far from a fan of the Leonard Williams trade. To anyone with a brain, this trade reeked of desperation from the New York Giants, and a failure to come to grips with just how far away the team really was. To this day, I truly believe that even at 2-6, Dave Gettleman really thought this team could still compete in 2019, how else could you explain giving up assets to an impending free agent?
To me – and I said this at the time – it really wouldn’t have mattered if Williams all of a sudden turned on the jets (no pun intended) and had a stellar second half for Big Blue, In fact, that was almost the worst case scenario. As soon as Gettleman decided to give up a 2020 third-round pick (what is a top 66 pick at this moment) and a 2020 fourth-or-fifth rounder, Leonard Williams had this organization right where he wanted them.
At the time, many thought it was a great idea, due to Williams’ supposed untapped potential, and the fact that the Giants would get the first crack at negotiating a deal with him – like that’s supposed to be some kind of prize. I could not understand how so many couldn’t see that instead of gaining leverage, Gettleman and the Giants were actually ceding it, and now boxed themselves into a corner of having to sign Williams to a lucrative contract no matter what, or risk getting eviscerated and burning draft capital for absolutely nothing.
That’s exactly where we stand now, as Gettleman and the Giants have to sign the underwhelming, redundant (to their roster) player to a big-time deal, or this move could go down as one of the worst in franchise history. As I wrote at the time, this trade highlighted my biggest issue with Gettleman, which is that he has no real grasp on where his team is at any given time, and that his timing on moves is perplexing to say the least. Any other sensible person would have been looking to gain assets at 2-6, in the middle of three straight terrible seasons – not Dave Gettleman.
A top 66 pick is immensely valuable in today’s NFL, as we routinely see much better players, with affordable years left on their deal, go for less than that in trades. From what you’ve seen from Williams in three games so far, is this really someone you want to throw 40-60M$ at? If he is, I’m really not sure what you’re watching.
This team has so many hols before it should have been thinking about adding another defensive lineman to it’s already crowded room, as a high-third rounder and a fourth-or-fifth rounder would have gone so much further towards building this roster out.
To make matters worse, the New York Jets don’t seem to be missing Williams at all; much to the contrary, actually.
Via our good friend @WBG84 on twitter:
That’s a scary realization, especially after being told that Williams was an impact player that made those better around him, even if he wasn’t getting sacks (spoiler alert, he still isn’t getting sacks). The Jets are 3-0 since trading Williams, and although there surely is a lot more to that than just him, it certainly doesn’t bode well for his sense of value. It’s almost hard to fathom the fact that the Jets have doubled their sack total over the first seven games in the four games since Williams left.
So while the QB hits are all well and good, the overwhelming evidence tells us that Leonard Williams is just not a star player in this league. Could he turn into one down the road? Sure he could. Is that something the Giants should shell out big money as a guess to? Of course not.
It didn’t make any sense at the time, and it (somehow) makes even less sense now.