Leonard Williams

Seahawks To Re-Sign DL Leonard Williams

Negotiations between the Seahawks and Leonard Williams will produce an agreement. Although the Giants footed most of the interior D-lineman’s bill last year, the Seahawks are still prepared to pay up to keep the 2023 trade acquisition.

Williams will stay in Seattle on a three-year deal worth $21.5MM per season, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. This represents Williams’ second $20MM-per-year accord; he signed the other in 2021 as a Giant. This also makes the Seahawks’ D-line one of the NFL’s most expensive position groups, with Dre’Mont Jones tied to a $17MM-AAV accord. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the sides were closing in on a deal.

The Seahawks are guaranteeing $43.85MM of this contract, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. This might not be the guarantee at signing; nevertheless, Williams has again done well to maximize his value. The Giants guaranteed him $45MM on their three-year, $63MM accord, but that came to prevent a second franchise tag from going on the books. Williams did not have that leverage this time, but after the Seahawks gave up second- and fifth-round picks to acquire the former top-10 pick at the deadline, they are keeping the asset.

Williams, 29, has not posted more than seven sacks in a season in any year besides his well-timed 2020 showing (11.5); he tallied 5.5 (four as a Seahawk) and 16 QB hits in 2023. Williams also has an extensive track record as a quality run defender, though his best work on that front came back in his Jets days. The former top-10 pick played well in Seattle, however, and the Seahawks will put him back to work in a new defensive scheme.

This marks a multiyear pivot for the Seahawks, who were not known for interior D-line spending under Pete Carroll. They now have Williams and Jones signed to upper-crust DT contracts. Both players have worked exclusively in 3-4 schemes in their careers, and Mike Macdonald — after turning Justin Madubuike loose in Baltimore last season — will go about devising concepts to coax the most out of his high-priced D-line presences.

Seahawks, Leonard Williams Discussing Deal

Leonard Williams expressed interest in staying in Seattle, and although the team already has a big-ticket defensive tackle salary on the books (for Dre’Mont Jones), the recent trade acquisition remains in the team’s plans.

The Seahawks are in talks with Williams’ camp about a new deal for the pending free agent, GM John Schneider said Thursday during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle (via The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar). The Seahawks acquired Williams from the Giants for second- and fifth-round picks at the deadline last year.

Although it makes sense for the Seahawks to want to extend this partnership, given what they surrendered for Williams, Jones’ $17MM-per-year contract could provide a complication. The Seahawks have edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu signed to a veteran contract as well. The Giants footed most of the Williams bill last year, changing the equation for the Seahawks this time around.

Already franchise-tagged twice by the Giants, Williams was not a candidate to be tagged this week. But he has been one of the NFL’s better interior D-linemen in recent years. While sack numbers have not often been part of Williams’ appeal — save for an outlier 2020 season, which earned him a monster Giants extension — he did produce four sacks after being dealt to the Seahawks last year. Williams, 29, also played 18 games in 2023 due to being moved at the deadline.

The Seahawks were not ready to extend Williams upon trading for him, but they were planning to discuss a deal. The sides are huddling up at the 11th hour. The Seahawks have until Monday morning to prevent Williams from negotiating with other teams; the legal tampering period begins unofficial free agency March 11.

Williams said earlier this offseason he would be interested in staying, and it is interesting the team is making an effort to keep him after changing defensive schemes. Moving on from two-year DC Clint Hurtt, the Seahawks are ready to transition to Mike Macdonald‘s defense. Williams has been a 3-4 defensive end throughout his career, and Macdonald does use that as his base set.

Having two DTs on upper-crust salaries is a rarity, though the Commanders rolled with this setup after extending Daron Payne last year. That said, Washington did not have a veteran starter salary on the books at quarterback. The Seahawks do, with Geno Smith in line to return on his three-year, $25MM deal. That is on the low end for a franchise QB, representing middle ground between a bridge starter and the new QB1 market. The Seahawks also just freed up more than $35MM in cap space by cutting Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs and Will Dissly. The team looks to have had Williams in mind when making those moves.

Latest On Seahawks’ Leonard Williams

Leonard Williams‘ Giants tenure came to an end at the 2023 trade deadline, and he had a productive audition period with the Seahawks to close out the campaign. That could result in a Seattle contract, something the veteran defensive lineman would be open to.

“I definitely like being here,” Williams said when asked about his future, via Michael Shawn-Duggar of The Athletic (subscription required). “It’s been fun playing here. I feel like I’ve thrived in the system and this environment. I love the fans, love the stadium, love Seattle as a city. But, you know, you never know going forward, so I’m just going into it open-minded.”

Despite being a pending free agent, Williams was acquired for a second-round pick in this year’s draft along with a fifth-round selection in 2025. That price led to the expectation Seattle would move quickly in negotiating an extension, but no in-season talks took place on that front. Williams totaled 41 tackles, four sacks and 11 QB hits in 10 games with the Seahawks, demonstrating his potential on a long-term Seattle agreement.

The 29-year-old played on a $63MM pact over the past three years, and it will be worth monitoring to see how much of a market he generates if he reaches free agency. Age will be a factor taken into account by the Seahawks and other interested teams, but Williams made it clear he intends to keep playing for the foreseeable future.

“I’m obviously about to be in Year 10 next year, but I played 18 games this year, and I feel fresh,” the former first-rounder added. “I don’t think I’m feeling the years, honestly. I feel like I probably have five, six, seven more years in me, to be honest. I feel like I can play in this league for a long time.”

The Seahawks already have one major D-line investment in the form of Dre’Mont Jones. The former Bronco inked a three-year, $51MM deal last offseason, and he and Williams were part of a defensive front which struggled against the run. Improving in that department will be a top offseason priority for the team, and making a significant addition in free agency would prove especially challenging if Williams were to be retained. As free agency draws closer, it will be interesting to see how much progress is made between the two sides during contract talks.

Seahawks, Leonard Williams To Discuss Deal

The Seahawks were one of the teams which made a significant addition at the trade deadline, acquiring Leonard Williams from the Giants. He is set to become a free agent, but talks on a Seattle deal will take place.

The Seahawks did not pursue an extension with Williams in the aftermath of the trade, something which often takes place when teams spend notable draft capital on a player. Seattle sent New York a second-round pick in this year’s draft along with a 2025 fifth-rounder for Williams, whose contract was restructured to facilitate the deal. The former top-10 pick played in 10 games with the Seahawks, recording four sacks and 41 tackles.

As a result of his play, Williams could be a prime candidate for a short-term deal and Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports there is “hope” he and the Seahawks can work out an agreement (subscription required). Williams inked a three-year, $63MM deal with the Giants, and his next contract will likely check in at a lower price than that. Still, the 29-year-old proved in his audition period that he can be a productive contributor, and he could generate a notable market if he reaches free agency.

The Seahawks are currently projected to be over the 2024 salary cap, although they and all other teams will make several cost-shedding moves in the coming weeks. Improvement along the defensive front will be a key priority for new head coach Mike Macdonald and Co. after Seattle ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed. Keeping Williams on a new contract would thus be a logical move to pair with a D-line addition in free agency or the draft.

On the other hand, the Seahawks already have Dre’Mont Jones attached to the three-year, $51MM deal he signed last offseason. Jones is set to carry cap hits of $18.18MM in 2024 and $23.18MM the following year, so retaining Williams on a lucrative pact of his own would leave considerable resources tied up along the defensive front. In any case, the sides will at least explore extending their relationship in advance of the new league year in March.

Poll: Who Fared Best At Trade Deadline

A week removed from this year’s trade deadline, every team will soon have its acquired talent in uniform. The 49ers, Lions and Jaguars made trades while in bye weeks; Chase Young, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Ezra Cleveland will suit up for their new teams soon.

On this note, it is time to gauge the position every notable buyer and seller landed in following the deals. This year’s deadline featured two second-round picks being moved, though the teams that made those moves (Chicago, Seattle) have different timelines in place.

We have to start with the Commanders, who scrapped their yearslong Young-Montez Sweat partnership by making the surprise decision to move both defensive ends hours before the deadline. Although the team was listening to offers on both, it was widely assumed they would only part with one, thus saving a contract offer or a 2024 franchise tag for the other alongside well-paid D-tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. New owner Josh Harris looks to have made his bigger-picture plan clear, however, pressing upon the Commanders’ football-ops department to explore moving both.

Washington collected a second-rounder that likely will land in the 30s in exchange for Sweat, who was in a contract year at the time. It only obtained a compensatory third for Young, who drew interest from other teams (including the Ravens). For the first time in the common draft era, Washington holds five picks in the first three rounds. It cannot be assumed Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew will be making those picks, but Harris has effectively forced his hot-seat staffers to make do this season without Young and Sweat, who have combined for 11.5 sacks this year.

The initial team to pounce on the Commanders’ sale made a buyer’s move despite being in a seller’s position for the second straight year. After trading what became the No. 32 overall pick for Chase Claypool, GM Ryan Poles signed off on the Sweat pickup. The Bears have struggled to rush the passer under Matt Eberflus, having traded Khalil Mack in March 2022 and Robert Quinn last October. While acquiring a veteran in a contract year injects risk into the equation, Poles had the franchise tag at his disposal. But the Bears made good use of their newfound negotiating rights with Sweat, extending him on a four-year, $98MM pact. Despite no Pro Bowls or double-digit sack seasons, Sweat is now the NFL’s fifth-highest-paid edge rusher. Though, the Bears’ long-term edge outlook appears rosier compared to its pre-Halloween view.

Mayhew, Robert Saleh and Mike McDaniel have provided third-round compensatory picks for the 49ers, who have been the NFL’s chief beneficiary of the Rooney Rule tweak that awards third-round picks to teams who see minority coaches or execs become HCs or GMs. The team has more picks coming after the Ran Carthon and DeMeco Ryans hires. Using one to acquire Young seems like a low-risk move, given the former Defensive Rookie of the Year’s talent. Young has made strides toward recapturing the form he showed before his severe 2021 knee injury, and he is on pace for a career high in sacks.

The 49ers, who won last year’s trade deadline by landing Christian McCaffrey, will deploy Young alongside ex-college teammate Nick Bosa and the rest of their high-priced D-line contingent. The team will have a decision to make on Young soon; the free agent-to-be is not eyeing in-season extension talks, either. San Francisco could at least be in position to nab a midround compensatory pick, should Young leave in 2024.

The Young move came a day after the Seahawks obtained Leonard Williams from the Giants. That move cost Seattle second- and fifth-round picks. Williams is also in a contract year, but with the Giants picking up most of the tab, Seattle has the veteran D-tackle on its cap sheet at $647K. The former Jets top-10 pick has shown consistent ability to provide inside pressure, and the USC alum’s best work came in his previous contract year (2020). Gunning for another big payday, Williams joins Dre’Mont Jones in what is probably the best interior D-line duo of the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll era.

Seattle still surrendered a second-round pick for a player who could be a rental. Williams cannot realistically be franchise-tagged in 2024, with the Giants tagging him in 2020 and ’21, and he is not yet on Seattle’s extension radar. The Giants have already paid Dexter Lawrence and were planning on letting Williams walk. They passed on a comp pick for the trade haul, effectively buying a second-round pick in the way the Broncos did in the 2021 Von Miller trade. The Giants, who suddenly could be in the market for a 2024 QB addition, now have an additional second-rounder at their disposal.

While they made their move a week before the deadline, the Eagles landed the most accomplished player of this year’s in-season trade crop. Kevin Byard is a two-time first-team All-Pro safety, and although he is in his age-30 season, the former third-round pick is signed through 2024. The Eagles sent the Titans fifth- and sixth-round picks (and Terrell Edmunds) for Byard, a Philadelphia native, marking the team’s second splash trade for a safety in two years. Philly’s C.J. Gardner-Johnson swap turned out well, and Byard not being a pure rental could make this a better move.

Rather than turning to a fifth-round rookie, the Vikings acquired Josh Dobbs in a pick swap involving sixth- and/or seventh-rounders and saw the move translate to a surprising Week 9 win. Dobbs following in Baker Mayfield‘s footsteps as a trade acquisition-turned-immediate starter also made him the rare QB to see extensive action for two teams in two weeks; Mayfield was inactive in his final game as a Panther. The well-traveled Dobbs could give the Vikings a better chance to stay afloat in the NFC playoff race.

The Lions (Peoples-Jones), Jaguars (Cleveland) and Bills (Rasul Douglas) also made buyer’s moves at the deadline. The Bills gave the Packers a third-round pick, collecting a fifth in the pick-swap deal, for Douglas. They will hope the Green Bay starter can help stabilize their cornerback corps after Tre’Davious White‘s second major injury.

Who ended up faring the best at this year’s deadline? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this year’s moves in the comments section.

Seahawks Unlikely To Extend DT Leonard Williams In 2023

Seattle was among the teams to make a notable splash on the trade front, acquiring Leonard Williams from the Giants. The veteran defensive tackle’s contract was restructured to make the deal feasible, but a new pact should not be expected in the near future.

The Seahawks sent New York a second-round pick in 2024 along with a 2025 fifth-rounder. In return, the Giants agreed to rework Williams’ deal, leaving the Seahawks on the hook for only a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum. That arrangement helped the Giants secure notable draft compensation for a veteran on an expiring deal, and gave Seattle a cost-effective starter on their defensive front.

In many cases, acquiring teams quickly work out extensions for players upon trading for them. That turned out to be the case for the Bears with Montez Sweat, who inked a monster deal before making his Chicago debut. At the age of 29, though, Williams finds himself in a different situation. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports no extension is likely before the end of the 2023 season for the Pro Bowler.

Williams’ sizeable cap hit was a key talking point entering the campaign, but the Giants elected to neither move him during the summer or work out an extension to flatten his 2023 hit. That decision, along with the notable trade offer from the Seahawks, has now resulted in Williams heading to the West coast. His play in Seattle will determine his value on an extended look by his new team or on the open market if he reaches free agency.

The former top-10 pick saw his production dip toward the end of his time in New York, despite his playing time remaining consistent. After posting 11.5 sacks in 2020, Williams took a step back in that department each subsequent campaign, recording just 1.5 in 2023. An uptick in that category during his audition period in the Emerald City would go a long way in boosting his free agent stock, though a repeat of his three-year, $63MM contract handed out by the Giants will surely not take place in 2024.

Deadline Notes: Dolphins, Saints, Rams

The Dolphins are one of the most explosive teams in the NFL and sit tied atop the AFC with a 6-2 record. While Miami has clearly established themselves as a contender, the team remained quiet through the deadline. In fact, head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that the Dolphins really didn’t have any trades in the works leading up to the deadline.

This is mostly because of the team’s IR situation, and the Dolphins will soon see a number of talented players return from injury. As McDaniel explained to reporters, those additions should give the Dolphins the boost that they would have been seeking via trade.

“Yeah, we actually have several of the best trades that exist in the works. Ok? You’re talking about getting players with no compensation, or no assets given, from injury. So, I mean, we’re in a great spot,” McDaniels said (via Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com).

“I think [GM] Chris [Grier] is always, and will always enter into, you know, whatever conversations that are sought out to him and, you know, that’s that’s a part of his job. He doesn’t labor my mind with, ‘Hey, you know, like NFL gossip, like, hey, I talked to this guy and this guy,’ you know, he, he, he brings it to my attention when we need to discuss it when it, when it’s to a serious platform.

“And he didn’t discuss anything. And that speaks to where we’re at with our football team. We’ve been playing some good football, and then we have some players that are very good players that are returning.”

Safety Jevon Holland (concussion), cornerback Xavien Howard (groin), and center Connor Williams (groin) are among the injured players who could return to the field as soon as this week.

More notes following the trade deadline:

  • Following a quiet deadline day, Saints GM Mickey Loomis admitted that he discussed acquiring players for draft assets but never actively shopped any of the players on his roster. “We talked to a couple of teams about a couple of things, more in the acquisition area as opposed to trading somebody,”  Loomis said (h/t John Hendrix). “We didn’t really talk about trading anyone from our team. We did talk to a couple teams about an acquisition, but I wouldn’t say it ever got really serious.” The Saints currently sit with a 4-4 record and are tied with the Falcons atop the NFC South.
  • The Rams have a 3-5 record and are facing some uncertainty at QB, leading some pundits to wonder if they’d be sellers at the deadline. While the team received calls on some veterans, the Rams never shopped any of their star players. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the Rams didn’t consider moving Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, or Aaron Donald despite the front office potentially having eyes on the 2024 campaign.
  • Similarly, the Cowboys didn’t initiate any trade talks with teams, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The reporter notes that the front office did receive some calls on their defensive depth, but the Cowboys were content sticking with their current squad.
  • Some details on trades that were actually made: the conditional seventh-round pick that the Cardinals sent to the Vikings alongside QB Joshua Dobbs was a selection that originated with the Falcons, per Howard Balzer. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brady Henderson notes that the Giants are paying most of the remaining $10MM on Leonard Williams‘ contract, with the Seahawks owing their new player only $647K.

Giants, Seahawks Agree To Leonard Williams Trade

The next major trade domino has fallen. The Giants are sending defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seahawks, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.

In exchange, Seattle is sending a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-rounder to New York. The deal marks an end to Williams’ time in the Big Apple and puts to rest long-running questions about his future with the organization. It will also give Seattle a signficant boost along the defensive front.

As part of the agreement, the Giants restructured Williams’ deal. They will pay out $9.35MM of Williams’ remaining salary as a signing bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. That will allow for proration into void years. As a result of that move – which will help the Seahawks absorb his remaining 2023 salary and his cap hit, and no doubt played a role in helping the price include a Day 2 pick – the trade will not be official until after 3pm today. Indeed, Albert Breer of SI reports the Giants will retain all but the veteran’s minimum before sending Williams westward. Another factor which drove up Williams’ price was the interest he generated amongst contending teams.

Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz notes the Giants had “several suitors” in on the 29-year-old. Seattle has outbid the other teams which showed interest, though, and they will now take on Williams for at least the remainder of the season (which calls for a 2023 salary of $18MM). The Seahawks will take on roughly $650K of that figure as Williams looks to contribute to a playoff contender ahead of free agency in March.

A three-year, $63MM extension signed in 2021 left Williams with the league’s highest cap hit amongst defenders this season. For that reason, many speculated that an extension or restructure would be worked out. The former Jets first-rounder made it clear he was open to another Giants contract, but general manager Joe Schoen insisted throughout the offseason no such move would be coming. After standing pat during the summer, New York has now swung a deal ensuring greater draft compensation than the team would have been due in the event Williams walked in free agency. As Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport notes, the Giants knew the possibility of Williams departing in the spring was high.

The Seahawks entered Monday with less cap space than the roughly $10MM remaining on Williams’ deal. As a result, the Giants’ decision to retain essentially all of his outstanding compensation was necessary. While that will hinder their 2023 cap situation, it will provide some clarity moving forward with a number of other extensions on the team’s priority list. Seattle, meanwhile, will see another high-profile veteran join a new-look defensive front.

Uchenna Nwosu‘s season-ending injury helped bring about a Seahawks reunion with Frank Clark. The latter will help in the edge rush department, while Williams will aim to provide a starting-caliber presence along the interior. His 2023 performance (21 tackles, 1.5 sacks) has fallen short of his previous years in New York, but the USC alum will have the chance to boost his free agent stock on a Seattle front which underwent signficant changes this offseason.

Most significantly, that included signing Dre’Mont Jones to a lucrative pact in free agency. The former Bronco has registered a pair of sacks so far while logging a starter’s role on a defense which ranks eighth against the run. Seattle will look to upgrade in the interior pass-rush department with Williams now in the fold, though the team already sits in the top five in sacks (26).

While this will likely be the only major move made by the Seahawks ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s deadline, the Giants have been named as a team to watch in the seller’s category. They have made clear their intention of retaining Saquon Barkley, but other players could be on the move. It will be interesting to see how New York approaches its remaining deadline plans, and how much of an effect this deal has on the market for other notable defenders.

Giants, Adoree’ Jackson Discuss Extension; Leonard Williams Deal Not On Radar

Adoree’ Jackson‘s MCL sprain decimated the Giants at cornerback last season. Although the team made a surprising run to the playoffs, it spent much of the stretch run without Jackson and its other Week 1 starting corner (Aaron Robinson).

Robinson has not returned to practice yet, remaining on New York’s active/PUP list due to the knee injury he suffered early last season, but first-round pick Deonte Banks now joins Jackson as a surefire starter. Banks’ presence, along with the host of big-ticket deals the Giants handed out this year, complicates Jackson’s Big Apple future. The former first-round pick is going into the final year of a contract the Joe Schoen regime did not authorize.

[RELATED: Giants Do Not Intend To Extend Xavier McKinney In 2023]

While a previous report indicated the Giants were not planning Jackson extension talks, the seventh-year defender said (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) conversations about a second agreement with the team have occurred. Jackson’s three-year, $39MM deal calls for a $19.1MM cap number this season. The team already attached a 2024 void year for cap purposes.

The Giants doled out a $40MM-per-year deal for Daniel Jones, while Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence are now respectively tied to $23.5MM- and $22.5MM-AAV extensions. Each contract will produce a significant cap spike between 2023 and ’24. Jones’ cap number rises from $21.75MM this year to $45MM in 2024. Thomas’ vaults from $9.3MM to $23.7MM, while Lawrence’s balloons from $6.7MM to $21.9MM. These changes will result in adjustments for the Giants, with Jackson’s future with the team in doubt.

Jackson, who is going into his age-28 season, became a more important Giants piece following the team’s May 2022 James Bradberry release. Pro Football Focus graded Jackson, a former Pac-12 long jump champion while at USC, just outside the top 30 at corner last year. Missing seven games due to injury, the 5-foot-11 defender still returned in time for the team’s wild-card win in Minnesota and accounted himself well against Justin Jefferson.

The Giants have experimented with Jackson in the slot during training camp. A strong second year in Don Martindale‘s system could create another good market for the ex-Titans first-rounder in March. Even with Banks in the fold, cornerback will be a key need for the Giants if they do not re-sign Jackson before the 2024 legal tampering period.

This offseason has revealed zero hesitation on Schoen’s part about committing to Dave Gettleman investments, with Jones, Lawrence and Thomas all first-rounders under the since-departed GM. Higher on the Giants’ 2023 payroll, Leonard Williams is also going into a walk year. Gettleman gave the 2019 trade acquisition a three-year, $63MM extension shortly after applying a second franchise tag in March 2021. Williams holds the highest cap number among NFL defenders this year — by a wide margin. Williams’ $32.3MM number jumps out on a Giants payroll that does not include another cap hit north of $22MM.

A June report pointed to the Giants not eyeing an adjustment to bring down Williams’ monster cap number, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes the team remains unlikely to address the deal. No extension or pay cut should be expected here, with the Giants viewing the ninth-year veteran as an important piece in Brian Daboll‘s second season. Williams, 29, is not a 2024 franchise tag candidate, since the Giants have already tagged him twice. He is open to an extension with the team.

Williams fared well during his most recent contract year (2020), totaling a career-high 11.5 sacks and 30 quarterback hits. Jackson’s former USC teammate has not topped 15 QB hits in the two seasons since, but with the prospect of one final major payday in play, motivation will certainly exist for the ex-Jets top-10 draftee in 2023. With Lawrence’s contract running through 2027, however, Williams is no longer the Giants’ D-line centerpiece.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Defense

While the NFL’s top 2023 cap hits go to players on offense, a number of pass rushers are tied to lofty figures as well. None check in higher than Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Williams and Chiefs D-tackle Chris Jones carry high contract-year cap hits, while the Steelers’ two front-seven cornerstones each are set to go into training camp with cap figures north of $20MM. As the salary cap climbed to $224.8MM this year, here are the top defensive cap figures as camps near:

  1. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $32.26MM
  2. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $29.37MM
  3. Myles Garrett, DE (Browns): $29.18MM
  4. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $28.29MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DL (Rams): $26MM
  6. Arik Armstead, DT (49ers): $23.95MM
  7. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $22.26MM
  8. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $21.48MM
  9. Jonathan Allen, DT (Commanders): $21.44MM
  10. Shaquil Barrett, OLB (Buccaneers): $21.25MM
  11. Grady Jarrett, DT (Falcons): $20.63MM
  12. Marlon Humphrey, CB (Ravens): $19.99MM
  13. Shaquille Leonard, LB (Colts): $19.79MM
  14. Kevin Byard, S (Titans): $19.62MM
  15. Adoree’ Jackson, CB (Giants): $19.08MM
  16. Harold Landry, OLB (Titans): $18.8MM
  17. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.15MM
  18. Jamal Adams, S (Seahawks): $18.11MM
  19. Matt Judon, DE (Patriots): $18.107MM
  20. Quandre Diggs, S (Seahawks): $18.1MM
  21. Nick Bosa, DE (49ers): $17.9MM
  22. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $17.25MM
  23. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE (Dolphins): $17.19MM
  24. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE (Cowboys): $17.11MM
  25. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $17.1MM

The Chiefs are working toward a second extension agreement with Jones, who is in the final season of a four-year, $80MM contract. A new deal with the star inside pass rusher would free up cap space, and DeAndre Hopkins is believed to be monitoring this situation.

As for Williams, the Giants had wanted to adjust his deal to reduce his eye-opening cap number. As of mid-June, however, no extension appeared to be on the team’s radar. The previous Giants regime signed off on the 2021 Williams extension (three years, $63MM). The Giants are also uninterested — for the time being, at least — in extending Jackson, who was also a Dave Gettleman-era defensive addition.

Donald is in the second season of a three-year, $95MM deal. The Rams gave Donald a landmark raise last year, convincing the all-everything D-tackle to squash retirement talk. A no-trade clause exists in Donald’s contract, which pays out its guarantees this year. Mosley remains tied to the $17MM-per-year deal the Mike Maccagnan regime authorized with the Jets. That contract, which reset the off-ball linebacker market in 2019, still has two seasons remaining on it due to the deal tolling after Mosley’s 2020 COVID-19 opt-out call. The Jets restructured the deal last year.

Washington now has two D-tackles tied to deals of at least $18MM per year. While Daron Payne‘s pact is worth more ($22.5MM AAV), higher cap hits on that deal will come down the road. Three years remain on Allen’s 2021 agreement. At safety, no team is spending like the Seahawks. In addition to the big-ticket deals authorized for Adams and Diggs, Seattle gave ex-Giants starter Julian Love a two-year, $6MM accord in March.

New Titans GM Ran Carthon attempted to give Byard a pay cut. That request did not go over well, but the standout safety remains with the team and has not requested a trade. Tennessee re-signed Landry on a five-year, $87.5MM deal in 2022; the veteran edge rusher has yet to play on that deal due to the ACL tear he sustained just before last season.

The 49ers can bring Bosa’s number down via an extension, which has long been on the team’s docket. As San Francisco extended Deebo Samuel just after training camp began last year, Bosa received back-burner treatment due to the fifth-year option. The star defensive end’s price undoubtedly went up during the waiting period, with the former No. 2 overall pick earning Defensive Player of the Year acclaim in the fourth year of his rookie contract.