On Monday morning, Jets fans panicked when they saw star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams’ Twitter profile.
Williams changed his Twitter bio to say “Defensive Tackle for ………..” He also now has a photo from his college days at Alabama instead of a more recent one in a Jets uniform.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Williams is unhappy with his contract situation with the Jets. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which is scheduled to pay him $9.5 million.
Williams told reporters in January he would not attend the Jets’ optional offseason program without a contract extension. Until this point, he has kept his word, as Williams was a no-show on April 17. Along with being unhappy with the lack of progress with his contract situation, Williams has been preoccupied as he and his wife are expecting the birth of their child during the next few weeks.
This was not Williams’ first social media response to the lack of movement regarding his contract extension. Last month, Williams quote tweeted Jets general manager Joe Douglas’ comments when he was asked about the fifth-year player’s status with his contract.
“Still optimistic, had a lot of positive discussions with [agent] Nicole [Lynn] and optimistic,” Douglas said. “I feel like we’re trending in a good place, so optimistic and hopeful is how I would describe that.”
It isn’t time for Jets fans to panic, but there should be a level of concern after Williams has voiced his displeasure several times. Defensive tackles around the league have received the bag this offseason. But Williams, who arguably had the best year out of any of them, remains without long-term security past the 2023 season.
Commanders’ Daron Payne (four-year, $90 million contract with a $28 million signing bonus and $45 million fully guaranteed) and Titans’ Jeffery Simmons ($94 million has $66 million in guarantees, including a $24 million signing bonus) became two of the highest defensive tackles in the league this offseason. Recently, Williams watched the Giants reward their star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with a contract extension.
The Giants gave Lawrence a four-year, $90 million extension with $60 million guaranteed, making him the league’s third highest-paid defensive tackle. Rams’ Aaron Donald is the highest-paid defensive tackle in terms of AAV at $31.67 million. Simmons is second, as his AAV is $23.5 million.
A source told the Daily News that Williams is looking for a deal that would make him the second-highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL at around $25 million. After his 2022 campaign, Williams certainly deserves to receive the bag.
Last season was Williams’ best in a Jets uniform as he registered career-highs in tackles (55), sacks (12) and tackles for loss (12) and was named a first-team All-Pro. He was also named to his first Pro Bowl as Williams, cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and linebacker C.J. Mosley helped anchor a Jets defense that finished fourth in points and yards allowed.
The biggest problem for the Jets right now is their lack of salary cap space for the 2024 season. While they will need escrow money for the guaranteed money they will give Williams, the Jets are projected to be $41 million over the salary cap for the 2024 season.
The reason for the lack of cap room is because the Jets restructured quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ contract into next year. Rodgers is only making $1.165 million in 2023 as they converted his $58.3 million option bonus into the next season, as his bonus is fully guaranteed. Rodgers’ salary is scheduled to increase to $107.55 million, including a $47 million option bonus, plus $1.21 million and the $58.3 million bonus from this year.
Obviously, the Jets will restructure Rodgers’ contract once again to make it more salary cap friendly. However, until they do, the Williams extension is unlikely to get done as the two sides are reportedly far apart from agreeing to a deal.
The longer the Jets wait, the more money it could cost them, in the long run, to re-sign Williams, as Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is also looking for a contract extension this offseason.
Gang Green has all leverage in this situation as it could fine Williams if he misses the mandatory minicamp in mid-June and any training camp practice in July. Also, the Jets could franchise tag Williams after the 2023 season if the two sides do not agree to an extension.
However, the last thing the Jets would want is a black cloud hovering over them during the summer with all the excitement surrounding the organization after acquiring Rodgers. Getting a contract extension done for Williams will show the Jets are not only committed to becoming contenders in the AFC but they value taking care of their homegrown players inside the locker room.
Source: Berkshire mont