Leonard Williams didn’t exactly prove he deserved a big-time contract from the NY Giants after seven games with the team. Using the transition tag could be a solid compromise for Dave Gettleman.
Few have been against the Leonard Williams trade more than me since the moment it went down last October. However, the fact remains that the NY Giants are likely to retain him, and I’d much rather see him retained on a one-year prove-it deal than a huge extension.
It’s worth noting that due to this being the last year of the current CBA deal, teams are allowed to use the franchise tag and the transition tag in the same year. There don’t appear to be any Giants worthy of being franchise-tagged, but it makes it just a little bit easier to swallow tagging Williams knowing Big Blue will still have the other tag in its back pocket.
The difference in contract value between the transition tag and the franchise tag is about $3M for Leonard Williams‘ position. The transition tag calls for $13M and the franchise tag goes for $16 in 2020. Other than the money, the key difference between the two tags is that a team has to give up two first-round picks to pry away a franchise tag player while a transition tag player is able to sign for no draft compensation by another team.
$13M per year is way too steep of a price tag for Williams in my mind, but it sure sounds better than 5/$60M with heavy guarantees. Still young and entering his prime, there is hope that Williams could blossom into the player he’s always supposed to have been, and this route gives the Giants one more year to see if that can happen.
Dave Gettleman is likely to keep Williams by any means necessary, and the worst possible scenario remains to overpay him before free agency officially opens to save face. It’s going to be important to see how the market plays out to have proper negotiations with the former top-ten draft pick.
Tagging Williams right out of the gates could upset the former Jet, but Dave Gettleman can’t worry about that. He’ll have the right to match any offer and if one comes in that’s simply too high then he did all he could.
It’ll be interesting to see if Gettleman instead chooses to wait until the last minute to place the tag on Williams and instead tries to use up all the advance negotiation time he has before using the tag to ensure he won’t be embarrassed by having the player walk.
Either way, using the transition tag seems to be the only way out of this mess right now.