Seahawks trade for DL Leonard Williams in blockbuster move
Oct 30, 2023, 11:54 AM | Updated: 6:21 pm
(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
A day before the NFL trade deadline, the first-place Seattle Seahawks are showing how serious they are about making a run this season.
The Seahawks have agreed to a deal that will bring one-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Leonard Williams to Seattle. The move, which was first reported Monday morning by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was officially announced Monday afternoon by the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are sending a 2024 second-round NFL Draft pick and a 2025 fifth-rounder to the Giants for Williams.
The annual trade deadline is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Adding a force to our line.
We've agreed to terms in a trade for Leonard Williams! pic.twitter.com/zks77chKYD
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 30, 2023
The 29-year-old Williams has played eight games this season for the Giants, making 1.5 sacks, 21 combined tackles, five quarterback hits, one tackle for loss and a pass defensed. His best season was 2020 when he made 11.5 sacks for the Giants. He made his lone Pro Bowl in 2016 while a member of the New York Jets.
Per NFL GameDay on social media, Williams’ 22 sacks since 2020 ranks eighth among all interior defensive linemen in the league.
BIG CAT SACK
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 22, 2023
Williams will be a free agent after the 2023 season. According to Jordan Raanan, who covers the Giants for ESPN NFL Nation, New York will pay most of the roughly $10 million that Williams is owed on his current contract. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the Seahawks are only on the hook to pay Williams $647,222 for the rest of this season.
This is the second time Williams has been dealt around the trade deadline. He was sent from the Jets to the Giants on Oct. 29, 2019, after which Williams signed a three-year, $63 million deal with the Giants. His 2023 salary cap hit of $32 million was the highest on the team.
A USC product, Williams was selected No. 6 overall in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jets, where he was teammates with current Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams. Nicknamed “Big Cat,” he is listed as 6 foot 5 and 300 pounds.
Williams will likely step into a rotation with Dre’mont Jones, Mario Edwards Jr. and Jarran Reed on Seattle’s defensive front. Reed in particular has played a lot of snaps as a shaded nose tackle through the first seven games, and the Seahawks have wanted to get more pressure with the interior of their defensive line.
New York’s 2-6 start made it a seller at the deadline and Williams has been playing well lately. He blocked a field goal attempt against Washington a week ago Sunday and has been steady against the run.
Seahawks safety Julian Love, who played with Williams on the Giants from 2019-22, responded positively to news of the reported trade on social media.
“LETS GOO! Big Cat coming to the PNW!” Love wrote.
Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy were live on the air when the news of the reported trade broke. Watch their reaction and instant analysis in the video here:
Mike Salk of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk wrote last week that he would like to see the Seahawks trade for Williams. Read his column here.
During Monday’s weekly Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports, the Seahawks head coach was sly when asked about whether general manager John Schneider would make a move at the trade deadline.
“We’re always competing,” Carroll replied with a chuckle. “We’re always competing. (If) there’s a chance to do something, you know, we’re available, so I wish somebody would call and have a great idea for us but I don’t know. Johnny’s on it. He’s on it.”
Later, Carroll joked with Salk’s co-host Brock Huard about how much he bothers Schneider at trade deadline time.
“Is John hoping you extend this interview a little bit longer?” Huard asked. “Is this the week that he changes his locks and his number? I could just imagine you, Pete: ‘Hey, what about this? What do you think of that?'”
“Well, you’re either competing or you’re not,” Carroll said through another laugh. “Yeah, I’m kinda working the halls. I did call him last night and this morning.”
The Seahawks improved to 5-2 and took over first place in the NFC West with a 24-20 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Seattle’s defense has undergone some big changes in the last week, with top outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu lost for the season due to a pectoral injury suffered on Oct. 22 and pass rusher Frank Clark returning to the team last Wednesday on a contract in free agency.
The Associated Press contributed to this post.
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