Seahawks trade for DL Leonard Williams in blockbuster move

Oct 30, 2023, 11:54 AM | Updated: 6:21 pm

Seattle Seahawks trade Leonard Williams...

Leonard Williams of the New York Giants during a game 2021 against the Carolina Panthers. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(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, was officially announced Monday afternoon by the Seahawks.

What does first-place Seahawks’ trade for Leonard Williams say?

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.

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.

Why Leonard Williams can ‘hit the ground running’ with Seahawks

Per NFL GameDay on social media, Williams’ 22 sacks since 2020 ranks eighth among all interior defensive linemen in the league.

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.

Carroll: Seahawks watched Leonard Williams for a long time

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.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Rost: Seattle Seahawks are in first place, but they have some warts
Jordyn Brooks, Boye Mafe emerging as keys to Seahawks’ defense
What They Said: Seahawks on late pick, last-minute win over Browns
Seahawks Instant Reaction: Win over Browns delivers first place
Does Frank Clark return change Seattle Seahawks trade deadline approach?

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: How DK Metcalf had big game for Seahawks in Dallas

Michael Bumpus breaks down what he saw from DK Metcalf in Dallas and why the Seattle Seahawks WR had his best game of 2023.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks...

The Associated Press

Seahawks’ third straight loss brings playoff hopes into question

The Seattle Seahawks nearly beat the Cowboys, but they've now lost three in a row and four of five while their playoff hopes have taken a hit.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks...

Brandon Gustafson

Huard: Seahawks’ defense ‘on its heels’ and has ‘significant’ issues

The Seattle Seahawks had all sorts of issues on defense against the Dallas Cowboys. Brock Huard shared what he saw from that side of the ball.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks...

Brandon Gustafson

Carroll talks through Seahawks’ 3 failed 4th downs vs Cowboys

With the Seattle Seahawks failing to convert on three fourth-down attempts in the fourth quarter, Pete Carroll breaks down what happened.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks...

Stacy Rost

The Next Day: Seahawks’ investment in defense still not paying off

A day after the Seattle Seahawks' 41-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Stacy Rost breaks down what's sticking with her.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks...

Brandon Gustafson

Good, Bad and Ugly: Seahawks sunk by flags, defense in loss

The Seattle Seahawks had their best day on offense in weeks, but things turned south on defense in Dallas, in part because of penalties.

4 days ago

Seahawks trade for DL Leonard Williams in blockbuster move