Huard: Why Seahawks re-signing Leonard Williams is ‘real tricky’

Feb 27, 2024, 8:34 AM

Seattle Seahawks Leonard WIlliams free agency...

Leonard Williams of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after a tackle on Dec. 18, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have quite a few big-name players set to hit free agency, and one of those players is likely going to be difficult to re-sign, Brock Huard said on Tuesday.

How does new salary cap impact Seattle Seahawks’ offseason?

That player? Defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who Seattle acquired midseason from the New York Giants for a pair of draft picks, including a second-round selection in this year’s draft.

During Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports, Huard dove into why it could be hard for the Seahawks to bring Williams back to Seattle for 2024 and beyond.

“This is real tricky because you can’t franchise (tag him). I’ve said that to you 10 different times,” Huard said.

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Williams started his career with the New York Jets before being traded to the Giants in during the 2019. The Giants used the franchise tag on Williams not just that offseason, but the offseason after that, too. That means that if the Seahawks were to use the franchise tag on Williams yet again, it would be roughly $36 million per year, per ESPN.

“So that is off the table,” Huard said.

The other problem for the Hawks? Williams will be a very sought-after free agent. ranks him as the No. 18 free agent in the NFL and the No. 4-ranked interior defensive lineman. At least two of the three ranked above Williams, Miami’s Christian Wilkins and Baltimore’s Justin Madubuike, are expected to get franchise tagged, which would only make Williams more desirable.

“And you’ve got a market, Salk, with a lot of teams that have a lot of (salary) cap space,” Huard told co-host Mike Salk. “And I don’t know if you noticed, but the cap went up to ($255 million). So I was just kind of looking yesterday at not mock drafts, but some of these free agent mocks of where guys land and (people think Williams will be) off the board pretty early. And from Minnesota to people that he has relationships with around the league that he played for that are in different spots, (the Seahawks) have a problem. I mean, they’ve got a problem if this goes to the open market, because I think he is going to get paid. I know he’s older at 29 years old), I know this would be a third contract and everything else, but his play last year on a contract year was pretty darn high.”

Salk said he “doesn’t believe it” that Williams would be playing elsewhere next year.

“I don’t believe that you would trade a second-round pick for a player of that ilk and then not re-sign him without doing everything in your power (to bring him back) because you can’t let talent just walk out the door. You can’t,” he said. “You can’t let talent just walk out the door. If you get something for it, great. But you can’t get it just walk.”

Replied Huard, “It’s a big market. It’s a big number. It’s a big salary cap.”

Salk stressed that he thinks the two sides “get it done” this offseason, but Huard have another reason that could prove to be difficult.

“Just understand this: How has it happened in the past with free agents? If it goes to free agency, if they do not get it done before the league year begins, what happens?” Huard said. “If (the Seahawks) set their number (and Williams decides to test the market), then more often than not, somebody’s going to be willing to pay a whole lot more.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• Seahawks Draft: Why J.J. McCarthy is ‘not an easy evaluation’
• Seahawks Draft: Analyst says Texas’ Byron Murphy has best D-tackle tape
• 3 reasons not to worry about Seahawks coaches not attending combine
• Bumpus: 2 offensive players the Seahawks should target in 1st round
• Rost: Which young Seahawks need to break out in 2024?

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