Deadlines spur action, and with Leonard Williams and the NY Giants’ new deadline to reach a contract extension being July 15th, it appears nothing is happening anytime soon.
As previously mentioned here, the wishful Leonard Williams 2020 cap savings after reaching a contract extension for the NY Giants is not coming. The critical date in reaching a potential ‘team-friendly’ – depending on what you feel Williams is worth, which is extremely debatable – was always the minute before 2020 free agency officially opened.
That time has come and gone, and according to Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post, both sides are now content to let this thing ride out well into the Summer. Dunleavy poignantly mentions Williams’ agent, Roosevelt Barnes, who has a history of not minding to let contract negotiations develop over a long period of time.
I’ve long argued that the transition tag was always the way to go for the NY Giants, as the $12M number it came with was much more in his ballpark and that would set the bar for future negotiations. It also allowed the team and Williams to see what other teams felt his real value was, which was always going to be well below $16M.
Under the transition tag, they were also able to match any offer that came in, which again never would have been near $16M. Now, with $16M in the bank for 2020, the Giants are now even more leveraged than they were before after surrendering draft picks for the impending free agent.
A prominent NFL agent agrees.
"“The Giants don’t have to do anything,’’ the agent said. “They’re going to pay him a very fair wage, and he’s gonna play under it and they’ll revisit it. The cap’s gonna go up, and if they love him and they have to pay more, they will. This is always a good situation for the player long term, if they’re really good and they don’t get injured.“He’ll get a really solid deal if they keep him after this or he’ll go to the market knowing the Giants valued him at $16 million. If he gets $10 million [average] it would still be $26 million in guaranteed money in two years.’’"
Basically, this is always how it was going to play out. The best-case scenario now becomes Leonard Williams playing very well in 2020 and actually earning all the draft capital and cap space that has been invested in him.
And while I’m nowhere near as sold on Williams as many others appear to be, there’s, of course, a very real possibility that he finally puts it all together at age 25 and has a terrific season. The Giants are strong along the defensive line, and with improved pass coverage he’ll have more time to get to the quarterbacks that he was just missing in 2020.
So for now, it’s time for NY Giants fans to stop having the pipedream that some backloaded extension is coming soon that would give the team more money to attack free agency with. While that would be a dream scenario due to players like Markus Golden still left out on the market, the team will have to look elsewhere to bend their books to make it happen.
Here’s to hoping Leonard Williams has a Pro Bowl season in 2020 and in turn making what’s transpired so far sting less, if not become worth it in the end.