Seattle Seahawks, Leonard Williams agree to 3-year deal

Mar 11, 2024, 5:47 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 12:54 pm

Seattle Seahawks radio Leonard Williams...

Leonard Williams of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a sack on Nov. 12, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Retaining Leonard Williams is something Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider called a “priority.”

You can put a check next to that one on the offseason to-do list.

Seahawks 2024 Offseason Tracker: Free agents, coach moves and more

According to multiple reports, the Seahawks and the one-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman have agreed on a new contract on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period of free agency.

According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Williams will sign a three-year contract with an annual salary of $21.5 million to stay with the team. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via ESPN Seahawks reporter Brady Henderson), Williams’ $64.5 million deal comes with $43.85 million guaranteed.

Williams confirmed the news Monday in an Instagram story post, and the Seahawks announced his re-signing on Tuesday.

“I loved the fans here, the 12s really go crazy,” Williams said in a story posted Tuesday on “I love this area, I love being back with some familiar faces, and I’m also just excited about the trajectory of the team. I feel like we’re on the right path and we’ve got all the right things going, and I’m glad to be a part of that for the next few years.”

During Seattle Sports’ John Schneider Show last Thursday, the Seahawks GM said that negotiations with Williams’ representation were ongoing with his pending free agency just four days away.

“We’re gonna try to get him back. We’d love to have him back,” said Schneider, who is also Seahawks president of football operations. “He’s definitely a priority for us. We’re in the negotiations right now, and the agents know how we feel and so we’re trying to retain him, no doubt.”

Williams, who will turn 30 in June, came to Seattle last October in a trade with the Giants, with the Seahawks sending a 2024 second-round NFL Draft pick and 2025 fifth-rounder to New York. Williams started 10 games for the Seahawks after the move, making four sacks, 11 QB hits, nine tackles for loss, 41 combined tackles and a pass defensed.

Due to Williams being traded before the Giants’ bye week and after the Seahawks had already had theirs, he played 18 regular season games, something that had not happened in the NFL since 1930.

Schneider praised Williams’ play after joining Seattle.

“Yeah, he played great … You know, we gave up that second-round pick, we went for it. We thought that he was going to help change our defense, and he played well,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make the playoffs, but he’s a guy that we want to keep in the mix. You can move him around … you can play him wherever you want, and he’s a great guy. He likes it here. I had a great exit interview with him and yeah, we hope to retain him.”

Prior to his Seahawks tenure, Williams played for the New York Jets from 2015-19, then the Giants from 2019 until the trade to Seattle. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound “Big Cat” made the Pro Bowl in 2016, and the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of USC had a career-high 11.5 sacks and 30 QB hits in 2020.

He will have a chance to be even more impactful in the defensive system of new coach Mike Macdonald, and Williams’ return should solidify Seattle’s defensive front along with Uchenna Nwosu, Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.

“I’m excited about Mike,” Williams said in the story. “He obviously had the No. 1 defense in the country last year, and he’s a young coach, which I like a lot. I feel like he’s going to be able to relate to the players, and I’m excited to see what he brings to the defense.”

The Seahawks, who missed the playoffs and finished third in the NFC West in 2023 with a 9-8 record, cut five veterans in the last week to create more room under the salary cap before the opening of free agency. They also restructured the contracts of quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

The reported re-signing of Williams was the second move of the day for Seattle, who have reportedly also brought back tight end Noah Fant.

Prior to the re-signings, previous Seahawks tight ends Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly reportedly landed with the Rams and Chargers, respectively.

This post includes contributions from The Associated Press.

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