By Dianna Russini, Charlotte Carroll, Jeff Howe and Michael-Shawn Dugar
The Seattle Seahawks are acquiring defensive end Leonard Williams from the New York Giants in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick, the teams announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Giants retained a significant portion of Williams’ salary, so the Seahawks are only responsible for paying the balance of the veteran minimum for this season, according to league sources.
- This is the second time Williams has been dealt just before the trade deadline in his career. In 2019, the Giants sent third- and fifth-round picks to the New York Jets for Williams.
- He’s notched 21 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks through eight games for New York this season.
What the deal says about Giants’ long-term plans
It’s a massive move for the Giants and signifies that the team is looking beyond the current season. Not only did general manager Joe Schoen and the Giants unload a very hefty contract but it begs to wonder how much of Williams’ contract the Giants ate as they picked up two key draft selections as building blocks. Williams is owed around $10 million and the Seahawks don’t have anywhere close to that kind of cap space so New York will swallow a lot as it looks to the future.
At 2-6 close to the midway point this season, the Giants have struggled offensively but the defense has been a stalwart — thanks to Williams and Dexter Lawrence’s play on the line. The Giants added Rakeem Nunez-Riches and A’Shawn Robinson this offseason to beef up the line and give Lawrence and Williams some breaks given their importance. Now those two players will be playing major minutes most likely in the absence of Williams. — Charlotte Carroll, Giants staff writer
Trade affirms Schoen is a seller
The move also affirms Schoen as a seller as he looks to boost his team’s roster. In his first NFL trade deadline as a GM last season, Schoen dealt Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs for a 2023 compensatory third-round pick along with a 2023 sixth-round pick. While the Giants started hot last season, the move made sense as Schoen and the front office worked on their rebuild. A year later, that deal evolved into a trade for Darren Waller and drafting the cornerback Tre Hawkins.
While the Giants will have to eat cap space, it’s hard not to initially like this deal as it allows Schoen and coach Brian Daboll to keep building given where things stand this year. On the flip side, Williams will have a chance to show off his pass rush skills for a competing team and he’ll reunite with former Giant safety Julian Love who landed in Seattle this offseason. — Carroll
How Williams helps Seattle
The Seahawks have received solid defensive tackle play from Jarran Reed and Dre’Mont Jones, their splashy free agent signing this offseason. Behind Reed and Jones, the Seahawks have fourth-round rookie Cam Young, veteran Mario Edwards Jr. and Myles Adams. Williams has the potential to be more impactful than Seattle’s current reserves up front.
After last season’s wild-card loss to the 49ers, coach Pete Carroll concluded that Seattle needed to be more dynamic up front and that the gap between the two divisional rivals could be explained by guys San Francisco deployed on its D-line. With the Seahawks sitting atop the division standings, Seattle didn’t want that gap to end their season prematurely once again. — Michael-Shawn Dugar, Seahawks staff writer
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