Giants DL Leonard Williams Considering Taking Pay Cut?

The Giants’ salary cap situation will be surrounded by question marks throughout the offseason until the futures of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley become clearer. They face a number of important decisions on the defensive side of the ball as well, though, as they look to build off of their unexpected success in 2022.

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams still carried one of the highest cap hits in the league at his position this season, even after agreeing to a restructure in September which lowered his hit on the Giants’ cap sheet for 2022. As a result of that move, however, his cap hit is scheduled to more than double to $32.3MM in 2023, something which could lead to more adjustments being necessary.

The 28-year-old recently indicated that he would be open to the idea of taking a pay cut to help out New York’s financial situation (Twitter link via Connor Hughes of SNY). Specifically, a reduction in pay could help pave the way for a long-term extension for fellow d-lineman Dexter Lawrence. The latter is set to play on the fifth-year option (valued at $12.4MM) in 2023, but played himself into a considerable raise this season by setting career-highs across the board and earning Pro Bowl and Second Team All-Pro recognition.

Walking back his initial comments to a degree, Williams added a pay cut is “something I haven’t thought about yet, so it’s hard to answer right away,” and that he is “considering all possibilities” (h/t the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy). Without any kind of adjustment, Williams is set to carry the third-highest cap hit in the NFL amongst non-quarterbacks entering the final year of his $63MM extension signed in March 2021.

“I definitely love this team and I want to be here,” Williams added, via Dunleavy. On the other hand, he also said of his contract situation that, “I try to let things like that play out. “I believe the plan is the plan and things are going to work out the way they work out. I did my best this year. I fought through injuries and played my hardest. I’m sure I’ll end up somewhere, if not here. I want to play as long as possible.”

The former Jets first-rounder had his least productive full campaign with the Giants in 2022, a season in which he missed time due to an MCL sprain. He also played through a neck injury at the end of the campaign, though he said surgery is not currently expected to be required during the offseason. In the coming weeks, his financial future will be worth watching as the Giants navigate a pivotal stretch.

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