There wasn’t a more dominant player for the New York Jets this season other than Quinnen Williams. The former third-overall pick out of Alabama tallied a career-high 12 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, and 12 tackles for loss in his fifth season in New York.
But as the First-team All-Pro gears up for his first Pro Bowl selection, contract talks between Williams and the Jets will dominate the news cycle this offseason even more so than New York’s quest to find a veteran quarterback for the current roster.
It’s important to note that the Jets are entering the final year of Williams’ rookie deal. He’s set to make over $9 million as a base salary and carry a cap hit of over $11 million.
“You can’t say enough good things about Quinnen. He’s a big part of our success this year. We’re going to get together and come up with a good play.” general manager Joe Douglas said after the season. “We’re definitely going to do what’s in the best interest of the team and the organization”
Williams has made it known that if a contract extension is not reached, he would sit out of workouts as the 2023-24 season draws closer.
An extension for Williams would be the first in a long time for the Jets. New York has not agreed to a second contract with their first-round selections since 2011’s first-round pick in Mo Wilkerson.
A deal for a player of Quinnen Williams’ skillset is tricky to predict. Aaron Donald’s $31 million per year contract seems unlikely to ever be touched for a non-quarterback, but Leonard Williams, DeForest Buckner, and Chris Jones are all hovering around the $21-20 million per year deal. Williams is expected to look for an extension of over $20 million.
Coming in closer to his cross-town brethren than Aaron Donald seems more likely for the Jets and their top defensive player. With only -$2.7 million in cap space currently, the Jets will need to clear a few contracts to even make that work.
Add in the potential deal for a veteran quarterback and the majority of the Jets’ overall cap space in 2023 could potentially go to two players.
There can be no denying though the impact Quinnen Williams has had going into his fifth season. New York is looking to end a 12-year playoff drought and can only do that with an infusion of great talent.
It would seem unlikely that they let a top player like their first-round pick walk without locking him down to be a career Jet.