Seahawks trade for Giants D. Leonard Williams: What it means for both sides

Written by Diana Rossini, Charlotte Carroll, Jeff Howe, and Michael Sean Duggar

The Seattle Seahawks will acquire defensive end Leonard Williams from the New York Giants in exchange for their 2024 second-round pick and their 2025 fifth-round pick, the teams announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Giants retained a significant portion of Williams’ salary, so the Seahawks are only responsible for paying the balance of the veteran minimum for this season, according to league sources.
  • This is the second time Williams has been dealt before the trade deadline in his career. In 2019, the Giants sent third- and fifth-round picks to the New York Jets for Williams.
  • He has racked up 21 tackles and one and a half sacks through eight games for New York this season.

What the deal says about the Giants’ long-term plans

It’s a huge move for the Giants and shows that the team is looking beyond this season. Not only did general manager Joe Schoen and the Giants unload a very large contract, it is questionable how much of Williams’ contract the Giants took up while selecting two major draft picks as building blocks. Williams is owed about $10 million, and the Seahawks don’t have anywhere near that kind of cap space, so New York will be swallowing a lot as it looks to the future.

At 2-6 near the halfway point this season, the Giants have struggled offensively but the defense has been solid — thanks to the play of Williams and Dexter Lawrence on the line. The Giants added Rakim Nunez-Richez and Ashaun Robinson this offseason to bolster the line and give Lawrence and Williams some breaks given their importance. Now these two players will likely play significant minutes in Williams’ absence. — Charlotte Carroll, Giants staff writer

The trade confirms that Schwinn is the seller

The move also confirms Schoen as a seller as he looks to bolster his squad. In his first NFL deadline as a general manager last season, Schoen dealt Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs for a 2023 compensatory third-round pick as well as a 2023 sixth-round pick. While the Giants started last season hot, the move made sense as Schoen and the front office worked to rebuild them. A year later, that deal evolved into a trade for Darren Waller and the drafting of cornerback Trey Hawkins.

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While the Giants will have to eat up cap space, it’s hard not to like this deal initially as it allows Schoen and coach Brian Daboll to continue building given where things are this year. On the flip side, Williams will have a chance to show off his pass-rushing skills for a contending team and will reunite with former Giants safety Julian Love, who landed in Seattle this offseason. – Carol

How Williams helps Seattle

The Seahawks received solid defensive play from Jarran Reed and Dre’Mont Jones, their breakout free agent signing this offseason. Behind Reed and Jones, the Seahawks have fourth-round rookie Cam Young, veterans Mario Edwards Jr. and Myles Adams. Williams has the potential to be more impactful than Seattle’s current reserves up front.

After last season’s Wild Card loss to the 49ers, coach Pete Carroll concluded that Seattle needed to be more dynamic on the offensive line and that the gap between division rivals could be explained by the players San Francisco deployed on the D-line. Seahawks atop the division standings, Seattle didn’t want that hiatus to end its season prematurely again. -Michael Shawn Duggar, Seahawks staff writer

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(Photo: Vincent Carchietta/USA Today)

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