In the lead-up to the trade deadline on Oct. 31, there was clear speculations about the New York Giants potentially embracing a seller’s approach, a decision influenced by their early-season struggles. However, these speculations swiftly changed into reality when a blockbuster trade transpired, sending star defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-rounder.
Parting ways with a fan favorite is never easy, but the Giants have secured more than enough compensation for Williams, a 29-year-old DL entering the final year of his contract. Joe Schoen’s willingness to absorb Williams’ hefty $32.3 million cap hit this offseason, without pursuing a contract extension, clarified that it wasn’t a matter of whether the Giants would part ways with Williams, but how soon it would happen.
Now, though, Giants fans are even more fired up for the trade thanks to the Commanders, who sent Chase Young to San Francisco for less than what the Giants got:
The Giants got a tremendous return for Leonard Williams
It is no surprise that a competitive team like the Seattle Seahawks sought to bolster their defensive line with a player of Williams' caliber. The real question lies in how Schoen managed to secure such an impressive return for Williams.
When looking around the league, specifically at their division rivals, the Washington Commanders, it’s hard not to compare the deals both teams were involved in at the deadline. It is baffling that the Commanders, in a similar selling mindset as the Giants, couldn’t command a second-round pick for Chase Young - this was a steal for the 49ers, who only gave up a third-round picker for the pass-rusher.
Both Young and Montez Sweat (traded to Chicago), former first-round picks, were on expiring contracts. The Commanders, grappling with a lack of talent in multiple position groups, likely couldn’t’ envision signing their young stars to the lucrative contracts they would demand at season's end, leading to their departure.
The Commanders were able to send Young off to the San Francisco 49ers in return for a third-round pick, while Sweat was dealt to the Chicago Bears for a second-rounder despite Washington’s advantage of being able to leverage the Williams deal in trade negotiations – it seems that the Giants struck gold in their deal with Seattle.
Stepping back, and evaluating the Giants' disappointing season thus far, there is no doubt the substantial return for Williams stands as a significant positive in the long term. Watch for the defensive line, which seemed to be finally finding its rhythm, to step up and continue applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks and stuffing the run this Sunday against the crumbling Las Vegas Raiders, and inexperienced rookie quarterback Aiden O’Connell.