Quinnen Williams

Jets Rumors: QBs, Offseason, Injuries

After a season that saw the Jets start four different quarterbacks throughout the year, general manager Joe Douglas knows that New York has “a lot of work to do” at the position, according to Connor Hughes of SNY. Of the four passers who started games for the Jets this season, only second-year starter Zach Wilson and practice squad quarterback Chris Streveler are set to return to New York in 2023, after Streveler was announced to have signed a futures contract earlier this week. Veterans Joe Flacco and Mike White, on the other hand, are set to hit free agency.

Wilson was benched midway through the season and saw White take over starting duties. When White was injured, Wilson took over as the primary backup but was soon relegated back to the bench as White got healthy and Flacco started the season finale. Despite rumors that the Jets could move on from Wilson in the offseason, Douglas iterated that New York has “never been a team that has given up on talent early.” Hughes claims that the team expects to continue to work with Wilson moving forward. As for Wilson’s chances of starting, Douglas washed his hands of the decision, deferring the call to head coach Robert Saleh, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Cimini also noted last week a comment from then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who speculated that it “would’ve benefited” Wilson to allow him to sit and learn from a veteran. Unfortunately, when the team drafted Wilson, they had no such veteran. White had no NFL experience at the time, despite having been in the league for three years, and the only other quarterback on the roster was James Morgan. The team eventually brought in that experience, signing Josh Johnson late in that year’s training camp and trading midseason to bring in Flacco. LaFleur claimed he hasn’t done a good enough job of developing Wilson, saying that if any position player isn’t producing to the expected level, it’s a failure of the coach.

Wilson could potentially see his competition from this season return. White, who took the reins from Wilson this year, told Cimini that there is mutual interest in his return to the Jets from free agency. He also noted that situations change quickly in the league, hinting that he will keep his eyes open for other opportunities.

Here are a few other rumors from the Jets’ building as the franchise readies for the offseason:

  • Cimini took to ESPN as the Jets’ regular season came to an end and laid out the offseason plan for New York. Setting aside the search for a starting quarterback, mentioned in part above, and the search for a new course on offense after the firing of LaFleur, the Jets’ biggest focus will be free agency and salary cap space. To create cap space for free agent shopping, some guys with big cap hits may find themselves on the chopping block. Cutting players like wide receiver Corey Davis and offensive tackle Duane Brown could result in cap savings of $10.5MM and $5.3MM, respectively. Even players who have made significant contributions may find themselves in danger because of their salaries. Defensive end Carl Lawson could provide $15MM of cap savings, safety Jordan Whitehead $7.5MM, and return specialist Braxton Berrios $5MM. Not to mention star linebacker C.J. Mosley who is set to have a 2023 cap charge totaling $21.5MM.
  • In terms of what to look for in free agency, offensive line struggles severely hampered the team’s success this year. Starting guards Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker should return next season. After undergoing triceps surgery, Vera-Tucker is expected to be back in time for training camp, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Tackle Mekhi Becton is a question mark after missing the team’s last 33 games due to injuries and weight issues. Becton told Hughes he feels “real good” after losing a “lot” of weight and will be ready for Organized Team Activities. If Becton can’t deliver, the Jets are in trouble as they will watch tackle George Fant hit free agency and Brown could be a cap casualty or could just retire. Starting center Connor McGovern is also set to hit free agency.
  • While offensive line will be an important position to build, their most important signing may come on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will be with the team through next year due to the fifth-round option of his rookie contract, but that may not be enough to satisfy Douglas and company. Williams has established himself as one of the best at his position and will likely expect to be paid like it. Douglas will want to find an extended contract for Williams long before the idea of free agency enters his mind.
  • Lawson had a strong first year in New York despite coming back from an Achilles injury. Lawson’s recovery hit a snag when he needed a second surgery. He even tweaked something in rehab and was expected to miss a chunk of the season, according to Hughes. Despite not even running until about a month before camp, Lawson started all 17 games and recorded his highest sack total since his rookie season.
  • Running back Breece Hall‘s rookie season was cut short after the second-round pick suffered a torn ACL in October. According to Costello, Hall claims that he will be ready for the start of next year.

Jets DL Quinnen Williams Wants New Deal By April

Quinnen Williams is already making it clear that he wants a new contract…and he wants it ASAP. The Jets defensive lineman told reporters yesterday that he wants to sign an extension by April or he won’t report to the voluntary portion of the offseason program, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.

“Everybody knows I’m a team guy, man,” Williams said. “But I do want to get a contract done before the offseason program. I do feel like I deserve to get a contract done before the offseason program just because I did everything right on the field and everything right off the field. Having the organization behind me just like I’m behind them to show that they really support me is a major thing for me.”

The 2019 first-round pick has one year remaining on his rookie pact after the Jets picked up his fifth-year option. At the moment, Williams is set to earn $9.6MM next season. The league’s top defensive tackles earn at least $20MM per season, so Williams will surely be eyeing a significant pay raise on his next deal.

Williams was a bit trick-or-treat through his first three seasons in the NFL, but he finally seemed to put it all together during the 2022 campaign. The 25-year-old ended up finishing the season with career-highs in tackles (55), sacks (12), QB hits (28), and forced fumbles (two) en route to his first career Pro Bowl nod. Pro Football Focus rated Williams as one of the top interior defenders in the NFL, ranking him fourth among 126 qualifying players.

Jets To Focus On Quinnen Williams’ Extension After Next Season

With the end of the 2021 NFL season signaling defensive tackle Quinnen Williams‘ eligibility to sign a contract extension to remain in New York, the intentions of both parties have become much more clear, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. While early reports on the situation left room for doubt, positing that it made fiscal sense for the Jets to wait but could improve team-player relations for the Jets to pay, all the most recent signs indicate that New York will wait until after the 2022 season to attempt to extend Williams. 

Despite not getting the line help from free agent addition Carl Lawson, Williams had a very good season, albeit a disappointing one for those who expected Williams to take his play to the next level under head coach Robert Saleh‘s new defense. Lawson’s absence caused offenses to focus on Williams, but the young defender still graded out as the 37th best interior lineman out of 109, according to Pro Football Focus. Williams was 28th in pass rush grading and 47th against the run last year while leading the team in sacks (6.0) and finishing second on the team in quarterback hits (12) and tackles for loss (7.0).

With Lawson out and offenses focused on Williams, defensive line teammates Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers both excelled their way to big paydays, with Fatukasi’s taking him to the sunny shores of Duval County. This year’s lineup sets up much better for Williams to breakout. With the departure of Fatukasi, the Jets will ask Sheldon Rankins to step up. Fatukasi earned starting time over Rankins last year due to his superior play on run defense, but Rankins was more successful in the pass rush, racking up 3.0 sacks to Fatukasi’s zero. On the ends, New York will not only add a healthy Lawson opposite Franklin-Myers, but will also bring in rookie first-round pick Jermaine Johnson II. On obvious passing downs, New York can substitute Franklin-Myers on the inside for Rankins and bring in Johnson on the end. Regardless of how they form it, the defensive line around Williams should set him up better for success.

Another factor that could lead Williams to his best season in a contract year is his own health. Williams was forced to have surgery to fix a broken bone in his foot in the spring of 2021. This caused him to miss all of the team’s spring practices and most of the Jets’ training camp. With a full offseason with Saleh under his belt, Williams should be fully prepared to excel in his fourth season.

In terms of the contract situation, things have been quiet. Williams is heading into his fourth season with the team, making him eligible for a contract extension. The Jets also picked up the fifth-year option on Williams’ rookie contract, ensuring he can stay with the team through the 2023 season. After that the franchise tag amount is not insane for defensive tackles, so New York could retain Williams through the 2024 season at a bargain price.

Though he’s never quite graded out like the best at his position, Williams will likely get paid like them when he eventually gets a new contract, due to his effectiveness and production. So it makes much more fiscal sense to keep paying Williams like a rookie for as long as the team feasibly can. Luckily for them, Williams has no problem with that. Williams and his agent, Nicole Lynn, “have not made noise about his contract this offseason.”

Williams has been consistent in affirming that money is not currently a driving factor for him. If he can have a career-year, though, on the eve of a new contract, Williams may let his play do all the negotiating he hasn’t bothered to initiate and can land a massive second contract as a free agent. For now, though, the Jets and Williams are content to wait it out.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Jets Notes: Fatukasi, Williamses, Draft

Run-stuffing defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi moved into a full-time starting role last season and is now expected to generate considerable interest as a free agent. The four-year veteran started 15 games, after combining for eight starts in his first three seasons, and the Jets are prepared for the former sixth-round pick to move out of their price range when free agency opens next week, Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com notes. Although the Jets have deployed below-average defenses during Fatukasi’s two seasons as a full- or part-time starter, the UConn product has played well. Having turned 27 last week, Fatukasi should have prime years remaining. The Jets have Quinnen Williams under contract through 2023 and must make a decision on Sheldon Rankins, who will see $1.25MM of his $4.5MM base salary become guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2022 league year (March 20).

Here is the latest out of New York:

  • Fewer than 20 teams in the common draft era (1967-present) have made two top-10 picks in a draft. The Jets have the opportunity, holding the Nos. 4 and 10 selections this year. They might face a major decision at No. 4. The Jets are high on Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, but no team has chosen a safety in the top four since the Browns took Eric Turner fourth overall in 1991. Positional value would likely lean Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh to take Kayvon Thibodeaux over Hamilton at 4, in the event Aidan Hutchinson and tackles Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal are off the board, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Thibodeaux’s stock has taken somewhat of a hit, but the Oregon edge rusher still figures to be an early pick.
  • The Jets are picking up Quinnen Williams‘ fifth-year option, keeping the 2019 No. 3 overall pick under contract through 2023. A 2022 extension for the D-tackle starter does not sound especially likely, with Cimini noting the Jets are not in a hurry to hammer out a long-term deal. This is unsurprising, considering teams rarely extend first-round non-quarterbacks with two years of control remaining on their rookie contracts.
  • Quinnen’s older brother, Quincy Williams, will play for more money in 2022. Under the NFL’s player-performance escalator provision, the young linebacker will see his 2022 salary spike from $965K to $2.54MM, Cimini tweets. Acquired from the Jaguars last year, Quincy Williams earned sufficient playing time to qualify for the bump. The Murray State product started 13 games alongside his brother and enjoyed by far his most productive season yet, recording 110 tackles and two sacks in his first Jets season. His rookie deal runs through 2022.

Jets Will Pick Up Quinnen Williams’ Fifth Year Option

When speaking to the media at the NFL Combine, Jets general manager Joe Douglas confirmed a decision many felt was inevitable. The team will pick up the fifth year option on Quinnen Williams‘ contract (video link). 

We are going to pick up pick up Quinnen’s option”, Douglas said. “We had that conversation. I don’t think that’s really huge news… We’re excited to have Quinnen. This is going to be year two in a defense that we feel really accentuates his strengths… We’re looking forward for him to come back and dominate this offseason”.

It was reported late in the 2021 regular season that the Jets weren’t in a hurry to give the 24-year-old an extension when he first became eligible. That left the door open to the team letting him play out the last two years of his rookie deal, which would keep him in New York through at least the 2023 campaign. Franchise tags could extend that by two more years, of course, though a new deal would presumably be in place by then.

The third overall pick in 2019, Williams’ production this past year was closer to his second, most effective one than his rookie campaign. In 15 games, he compiled 53 tackles, including seven for a loss, along with six sacks and three pass deflections. Over the past two seasons, his 13 total sacks rank second in the league amongst interior linemen, demonstrating the disruptive presence he was touted to be coming out of college.

With Williams in place for at least another two years, the Jets can move forward this offseason looking to build around him in an attempt to upgrade the league’s worst statistical defense from last season.

 

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/25-12/26/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Christmas and today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Steven Sims

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Jets Unlikely To Extend Quinnen Williams In 2022?

When the 2021 season concludes, Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will have three years of service time under his belt, thereby making him eligible for an extension. Despite how good Williams has been, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the team to wait until 2023 to seriously consider a new contract for the budding star.

After all, the Alabama product will earn $10.6MM in 2022, the final year of his rookie contract. The Jets can keep him under club control through 2023 via the fifth-year option to his rookie deal, and at present, that option is worth $10.9MM. That number would jump to $16MM if Williams earns a Pro Bowl nod this year, but even if that happens, a two-year commitment for a total of $26.6MM is quite reasonable for a player of Williams’ caliber.

Plus, the franchise tag value for DTs is usually not too exorbitant, so if New York elects to tag Williams for the 2024 campaign, it will have secured his services from 2022-24 for no more than $45MM. Considering Williams would probably land a $20MM+ AAV contract if he were to hit the open market today, it’s easy to see why the Jets would be willing to wait on a bank-breaking extension, at least until the cap spikes again in 2023.

On the other hand, the club has developed a reputation of not rewarding its best players, so GM Joe Douglas could be tempted to reverse that trend with a player who not only looks like the anchor of the front seven for years to come, but who also is the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Taking a proactive approach certainly couldn’t hurt team morale and the outside perception of how the front office treats its top performers.

Pro Football Focus pegs Williams as a good defender this year, but not an elite one; his 65.3 overall score positions him as the 43rd-best interior defender out of 126 qualifiers. But this appears to be an instance where the advanced metrics do not quite mesh with the on-field production, as Williams has certainly been as much of a force as most of his top peers this season.

The fact that he excels as a pass rusher will only enhance his value. His 13 sacks over the past two seasons is second only to Aaron Donald‘s 16 among interior linemen.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/16/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Waived: OL Bryce Hargrove, LB George Obinna
  • Reverted to IR: WR J’Mon Moore

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

  • Waived: OL Gage Cervenka, DB Dionte Ruffin, WR Jester Weah

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Waived: WR Reece Horn, WR Riley Lees

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Waived: K Austin MacGinnis, LB Derrick Moncrief, T Ryan Pope, OLB Max Roberts, DL George Silvanic
  • Released from IR: DB Dayan Lake

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Waived/injured: K Riley Patterson, WR Blake Proehl

New York Giants

  • Signed: QB Brian Lewerke
  • Waived/injured: QB Clayton Thorson
  • Placed on IR: LB TJ Brunson, OL Kyle Murphy, S Joshua Kalu

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks