According to multiple reports, the New York Jets have agreed to trade defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the New York Giants in exchange for a 2020 3rd round draft pick and a 2021 fifth round draft pick that will be upgraded to a fourth round pick if Williams signs an extension with the Giants.
This trade marks a clear delineation of the Joe Douglas era from the Mike Maccagnan era. One of the many failings of Maccagnan was his inability to convert expiring contracts into assets. He repeatedly failed to re-sign free agents without either obtaining a compensatory draft pick or trading them before they left.
If Joe Douglas was not interested in re-signing Williams, then the right move was to trade him to the highest bidder. Doing so while obtaining more draft pick compensation than would have been possible under the compensatory pick system is a feather in Douglas’ cap. In addition, this trade frees up additional cap space for the Jets. The Jets have reportedly agreed to pay $4 million of the more than $7 million remaining out of Williams’ 2019 salary. The Giants will pick up the other $3+ million, saving the Jets $3+ million in 2019 salary cap space.
With the Williams trade the heavy lifting of the Joe Douglas era has begun. There’s a whole lot of work still to be done, but this was a good start.