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Projected $50 Million Free Agent Could Price His Way Off Current Team

The Seattle Seahawks want to re-sign free agent defensive tackle Leonard Williams, but they're running out of time to do so.
Leonard Williams Free Agent

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams is set to be a free agent after spending just half a season with his new team. After starting the year with the New York Giants, the upstart Seattle Seahawks went all-in on the 2023 season, trading a second- and fifth-round pick for a half-season of the interior pass rusher. Unfortunately, that decision backfired, as Seattle stumbled down the stretch, finishing with a 9-8 record while missing the playoffs entirely.

Despite the poor finish, Williams himself was as advertised. During his 10 games in Seattle, the defensive tackle recorded four sacks, 41 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, and 11 quarterback hits while finishing the season with a 76.2 PFF grade, the 22nd-best mark out of 133 interior defenders. Despite his free agent status, the Seahawks are hoping they can keep Leonard Williams around for another season.

This report comes from Seattle Seahawks General Manager John Schneider himself. During a recent appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle, Schneider confirmed that the Seahawks are in talks with Leonard Williams as the two sides try and work out a contract for the impending free agent.

Seahawks Trying To Sign Leonard Williams As A Free Agent, But Are Running Out of Time

The Seahawks want to extend Leonard Williams as a free agent, but it will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition. Seattle has the money to make a deal work, as they currently have $44.24 million in available cap space, the eighth-most in the league. However, they also have a lot of money already invested in defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, and edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu also makes a respectable living.

Seeing as the Seahawks don’t have the benefit of a quarterback on a rookie contract, it will be difficult to build a competitive roster with three high-priced defensive linemen taking up a sizable chunk of the salary cap. Leonard Williams could easily leave as a free agent, and he should have plenty of suitors.

Possible Team Fits

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders have $96 million in cap space and need to use just about all of that to fix their defense. This unit was one of the worst in the league last year, and it won’t get better if they trade Jonathan Allen. Leonard Williams will provide a much-needed push in the center of this defensive line, and Washington should have enough money to sign him as a free agent while still bringing in more defensive reinforcements.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers have tried for years to solve their defensive tackle woes, but have yet to find a long-term solution. Leonard Williams might be getting up there in years, but the free agent can still play. Pairing him with Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack would give the Chargers such a dominant pass rush that it wouldn’t matter who the cornerbacks are. While this would be an expensive signing, Los Angeles could clear some payroll by releasing Mike Williams.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a true stud in Josh Allen. However, aside from him, they don’t have a single player capable of consistently getting after the quarterback. Travon Walker looks like a complete bust, and this team is wasting the rookie contract of Trevor Lawrence. Signing Leonard Williams as a free agent will improve the pass rush and might be enough to reclaim the AFC South from an up-and-coming Houston Texans team.

Kansas City Chiefs

This one only applies if the Chiefs are unable to re-sign Chris Jones. Jones is arguably the best defensive tackle in the league, and he’s about to get a massive paycheck. If the Chiefs aren’t the ones handing out that check, they’ll need to find somebody capable of filling the hole in the middle of their defense. Leonard Williams is not as good as Jones, but the free agent is an above-average starter who can help the team go for their third Super Bowl in as many years.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints shouldn’t be able to afford Leonard Williams as a free agent, but this team never lets the salary cap get in the way of who they want to sign. While Bryan Bresee had some flashes during his rookie year, this team could use another interior pass rusher to pair with the former first-round pick. In a wide-open NFC South, a good pass rush might be enough to give the Saints the divisional crown.

Main Photo: Steven Bisig – USA Today Sports


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