Giants give DL Leonard Williams 2nd straight franchise tag

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — For the second consecutive year, the New York Giants have given the franchise tag to defensive tackle Leonard Williams.

The Giants applied the non-exclusive franchise tag on Tuesday, just before the league deadline. He earned $16.1 million on the 2020 tag and a second franchise tag is worth 120% of the previous season’s contract. Unless the 26-year-old Leonard and the team reach a long-term deal by July 15, he will earn more than $19 million for the upcoming season.

Because the Giants used the non-exclusive tag, Leonard could sign elsewhere, but the Giants would get two first-round draft picks as compensation.

Williams, the first player the Giants have tagged twice, has flourished with the team after being acquired on Oct. 29, 2019, from the other local New York club, the Jets. He was the Jets’ first draft pick, sixth overall, in 2015.

Williams had a team-leading 11 1-2 sacks in 2020, the most by a Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 14 1-2 in 2014 and were 7 1-2 more than any of his teammates. He ranked third in the NFL with 30 quarterback hits and tied for sixth with 14 tackles for loss. Williams was fifth on the Giants with 57 tackles (29 solo).

His career totals include 323 tackles (164 solo), 29 sacks, 131 quarterback hits, 48 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, seven passes defensed and one interception.

NOTES: Head coach Joe Judge hired Rob Sale as the new offensive line coach. Former Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty has joined the staff as a consultant. … Freddie Kitchens and Derek Dooley have switched positions, with Kitchens, the former Cleveland Browns head coach, going from tight ends to senior offensive assistant. Dooley is now coaching the tight ends. … Jeremy Pruitt is the Giants’ new senior defensive assistant.

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