There is one final piece to the off-season puzzle for the New York Jets to accomplish with OTAs and training camp on the horizon. It just doesn’t appear that it’s going to happen anytime soon.
The Jets and first-team All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams are “not close” on a long-term extension according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. The two sides have been negotiating to get a deal done that would keep the former third-overall pick in Florham Park for the foreseeable future.
But why isn’t a deal “on the right track” as general manager Joe Douglas has said? Almost every interior defensive lineman this offseason signed a long-term deal worth over $22 million including Giants’ star Dexter Lawrence. With the market all but consistent, it shouldn’t take long for both sides to come to an agreement.
Quinnen Williams isn’t like the other tackles who have signed their deals though. Only Daron Payne has notched over 10+ sacks along with the Jets’ phenom. None of the players that signed have been a first-team All-Pro selection either. Also, there’s a major gap between the highest-paid defensive tackle (Aaron Donald) and the second-highest (Jeffrey Simmons). An argument can be made that Williams is the best interior defender both against the run and past behind the future Hall-of-Famer.
In 16 games played last season, the former Alabama prospect recorded 12 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and four passes defended. All were career highs for the Jets standout, along with being a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award. That all adds up to a pretty lucrative extension on the horizon.
Of course, there isn’t a major incentive to get a deal done at this time. Williams is preparing for the arrival of a baby girl in the coming weeks, and mandatory minicamp doesn’t happen for a few weeks/months. With their best defensive player on “dad duty,” it makes sense that he wouldn’t be involved during the voluntary aspects of these practices.
There can be no denying though that the Jets are in a very difficult situation. They still need to restructure some contracts to open up more cap space, and alienating their best player behind Aaron Rodgers doesn’t make much sense when Williams is only 25 years old. While they do have the rights to Williams past the 2023 season due to the franchise tag, they can’t continue to let this drag on throughout the summer and ruin the vibes that have been brought in by a Hall-of-Fame quarterback.
New York may have accomplished a lot this offseason, but the longer their best defensive player remains unsigned, the more issues that will come from 1 Jets Drive.