The Giants‘ disaster season and ongoing rebuild is sending the Big Cat out West.
“It’s been an honor to be a part of the Giants organization and everything it stands for,” Williams posted on Instagram Monday. “This place will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you to all the coaches, staff, teammates and fans that have supported me through my career here. NY it’s been real. Now it’s time to continue my career back in the West Coast. Seattle here we come! Go Hawks!!!”
The Giants are eating most of Williams’ remaining $10 million salary to facilitate the deal. This is an excellent return for a player in the final year of a bulky contract.
The trade demonstrates that Schoen and the Giants (2-6) know what they are, although shipping out an established veteran and defensive captain doesn’t send a great message to this year’s locker room.
Williams, 29, meanwhile, gets to reunite with former teammates Julian Love (Giants), Jamal Adams (Jets) and Geno Smith (Jets) on the NFC West’s first-place team. It will be the first time he has played outside of New York since college at USC.
The Big Cat, a former Jets first-round pick, played in 61 games across four-and-a-half seasons for the Giants after a 2019 midseason trade between the crosstown rivals.
Former GM Dave Gettleman sent a third-round and fifth-round pick to the Jets to acquire Williams in the middle of a lost season when the Giants had no cause to be buyers. Then Gettleman re-signed Williams to an enormous three-year, $63 million contract extension in March 2021.
That’s the root of Williams carrying the largest salary cap hit on the Giants’ team this season at $32.2 million.
In all, Williams was durable though not dominant, and he played for three head coaches in his five years with the franchise. He endured a lot of losing and finally reached the playoffs for the first time in his NFL career last season in Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s first year.
The Giants’ 2023 season has been dismal despite a lot of strong defensive performances, however, due to a pathetic offense and poor roster construction. So it was incumbent upon Schoen to secure more assets for the future.
And that made his pass rusher his most attractive trade chip and the most likely to be dealt first.
DOWN AND OUT
Saquon Barkley looked like he went down on purpose on what turned out to be a costly first-down run late in Sunday’s loss to the Jets. But Giants coach Brian Daboll claimed Barkley simply slipped down on the six-yard rush.
“He made a cut, he kind of bounced it back, and then he was so conscious of the ball, he was squeezing on the ball, he slipped a little bit,” Daboll said Monday.
Barkley appeared to be dropping to the turf on purpose, though, as if he thought the Giants were trying to run out the clock. That’s how it looked live, and that’s how it looked on replay.
The Giants’ failure to get a first down led to Graham Gano’s second missed field goal and the Jets’ improbable comeback and 13-10 overtime victory. But Daboll said Barkley was not instructed to go down there.
“No,” the coach said.
This was one of several examples of poor situational football that have reared their heads in year two of Daboll’s reign.
The Giants probably should have given the Jets the football to start overtime, considering neither offense could function and field position was more important. But Daboll said while the Giants “definitely discussed” it, they decided to take the ball because “they had driven down there in [the fourth quarter and we] had some stuff that we liked [on offense].”
Daboll also doubled down on his decision to kick a field goal on 4th and 1 rather than calling a running play that would have ended the game. “I’m secure with what we did there,” he said.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was discharged from Hackensack Medical Center on Monday afternoon after spending the night due to a “rib cage” injury. Daboll would not reveal any specifics about Taylor’s injury but said he’s not in any danger and he will “be out” for an undefined period of time. … Daboll said kicker Graham Gano will “be OK,” despite a NorthJersey.com report that Gano will need surgery on his injured left knee eventually. … The Giants’ coach did not sound enthusiastic about tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal returning from injury on Sunday in Las Vegas. “Making progress, but we’ll see where we’re at Wednesday,” he said.