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Report: Leonard Williams, Giants Restructure Contract to Create $12M in Cap Space

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 6, 2022

Leonard Williams (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New York Giants and defensive end Leonard Williams reportedly agreed to restructure his three-year, $63 million contract to create an additional $11.9 million in salary-cap space for 2022.

ESPN's Field Yates reported Tuesday the Giants converted $17.9 million of Williams' $19 million base salary into a signing bonus and added a void year to the deal, which runs through 2023.

New York needed to work some financial gymnastics because it was $6.7 million over the cap with five days until it kicked off the regular season, per Spotrac.

Front offices always look to players with high base salaries that can be converted into bonuses, which moves the cap issue down the road. Williams' $19 million salary was $6 million more than anyone else on the team, making him an obvious candidate.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who has a $13 million salary and $21.2 million cap hit for 2022 in his four-year, $72 million contract, is another restructure option should the Giants need more space during the campaign.

Williams, who's entering his eighth NFL season, is coming off a 2021 season when he tallied a career-high 81 total tackles along with 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defended. He received a 71.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

In May, the 28-year-old USC product discussed the "contagious energy" around the franchise under new head coach Brian Daboll and his staff.

"The vibe I'm getting is the excitement people are coming into work with," Williams told reporters. "I think guys are happy to be here. They're happy about the teammates that they have next to them. They're happy about the coaches that are coaching them."

New York hasn't generated a ton of attention heading into the new season, but it has a chance to contend in the wide-open NFC East if quarterback Daniel Jones takes a step forward in his fourth NFL season.

The defense, which tied for 22nd with 34 sacks last season, should get a boost from rookie edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and will also look for a bounce-back season from Williams, who tallied a career-best 11.5 sacks in 2020.

A tricky early-season schedule awaits, however, starting with a Week 1 road clash against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

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