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

By Diana Russini, Charlotte Carroll, Jeff Howe and Michael-Shawn Duggar

The Seattle Seahawks are acquiring defensive end Leonard Williams from the New York Giants in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 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 veteran minimum dues for this season, according to league sources.
  • This is the second time Williams has been dealt just 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 21 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in eight games for New York this season.

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

This is a big move for the Giants and indicates that the team is looking beyond the current season. It’s surprising how much the Giants ate up Williams’ contract, as general manager Joe Schoen and the Giants not only landed a hefty contract, but also took two key 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 has a lot to swallow when looking to the future.

At 2-6 near the midway point this season, the Giants have struggled offensively, but the defense has been a stalwart — thanks to the play of Williams and Dexter Lawrence. They added Rakeem Nunez-Richs and A’Shaun Robinson this offseason to provide some breaks given the importance of Lawrence and Williams. Now those two players will play significant minutes in Williams’ absence. —Charlotte Carroll, Giants staff writer

The trade confirms that Shon is a salesman

The move cements Shawn as a seller as he looks to grow his team’s roster. In his first NFL trade deadline as GM last season, Schone dealt Katarius Toney to the Chiefs for a 2023 third-round pick to replace a 2023 sixth-round pick. The move made sense as Schoen and the front office worked on their rebuild as the Giants started to heat up last season. A year later, that deal turned into a trade for Darren Waller and the draft of cornerback Trey Hawkins.

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While the Giants should eat up cap space, it’s hard not to like this deal early on, as it allows Schoen and coach Brian Daboll to keep the building where things are this year. Williams, on the other hand, will get a chance to showcase his pass rush skills for a contending team, and he’ll be reunited with former Giant safety Julian Love, who landed in Seattle this offseason. – Carol

How Williams Helps Seattle

The Seahawks got solid defensive play from their splashy free agent signings Jaron Reed and Dre’Mont Jones this offseason. Behind Reed and Jones, the Seahawks have fourth-round rookie Cam Young, veteran Mario Edwards Jr. and Myles Adams. Williams has the potential to make a bigger impact than Seattle’s current reserves.

After last season’s wild-card loss to the 49ers, coach Pete Carroll decided Seattle needed to be more dynamic, and the gap between the two division rivals could be explained by the guys San Francisco used on its D-line. With the Seahawks sitting atop the division standings, Seattle doesn’t want to close that gap early in the season once again. – Michael-Shawn Duggar, Seahawks staff writer

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(Photo: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)

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