Defensive lineman Leonard Williams is expected to receive the franchise tag. The deal will keep Williams with the team through 2021, assuming he signs the deal. Williams has spent the last year and a half with the New York Giants.
The #Giants are expected to franchise tag standout DL Leonard Williams, source said. It’s viewed as a placeholder for a long-term deal, which the two sides will continue to work towards. On the heels of a career year with 11.5 sacks, Leo is back with NYG.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2021
New York Giants Use Franchise Tag On Leonard Williams
Leonard Williams is coming off arguably the best season of his career – better than his Pro Bowl numbers from 2016, though he did not make the Pro Bowl this year. In his first full season with the Giants, he finished with 57 combined tackles (29 solo) and a career-high 11.5 sacks. He also had 14 tackles for a loss and 30 quarterback hits, also all career highs. He also had one pass deflection and one fumble recovery.
Williams played with USC for three years and had a successful time there. He was PAC-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2012 and made First-Team All-PAC-12 in both 2013 and 2014. In 2015, the New York Jets selected him with the sixth overall pick. A starter right away, he tallied up 63 combined tackles and three sacks and made the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
He continued to flourish as in 2016 he got 68 combined tackles (which remains a career-high), seven sacks, and two forced fumbles, helping him to his only Pro Bowl berth so far. Later in 2017, he recorded the first and only interception of his career so far, though his tackling numbers went down into the 40’s and he only had two sacks. 2018 showed some statistical improvement as he recorded five sacks that season.
In 2019, his numbers went down a bit and he was ultimately traded to the Giants in late October. Despite playing in 15 total games, he only recorded half a sack the entire season. However, he bounced back in a big way in 2020, as mentioned above.
Thus far in his career, Williams has 323 combined tackles (114 solo and 48 for a loss), 29 sacks, one interception, seven pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and one recovery.
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