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Giants trade Leonard Williams to Seahawks for draft picks


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants added future assets when they traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Giants received a 2024 second-round draft choice and a 2025 fifth-round selection in exchange.

They acquired Williams from the Jets four years ago yesterday for third and fifth-round draft choices.

The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday.

The Giants are 2-6 after a 13-10 overtime loss to the Jets. They play their next three games on the road, at Las Vegas, Dallas and Washington.

Williams, a nine-year veteran, on Sunday played his 61st regular-season game for the Giants after playing the first 71 games of his career with the Jets. He started 53 of those games for the Giants. Williams also played in two postseason games for the 2022 Giants.

Williams was selected a team captain in 2022 and 2023 and was twice named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week in the final five weeks of the 2021 season, the first time against Seattle.

With the Giants, Williams totaled 230 tackles (115 solo), 22.5 sacks (including a career-high 11.5 in 2021), 162 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

This season, he played all eight games with seven starts and has 21 tackles (13 solo), 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hits. Williams had two tackles against the Seahawks on Oct. 2. In the Giants' victory last week in Washington, he blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt by Joey Slye, the team's first such block since 2015.

When the Giants earned their first playoff berth in six years in 2022, Williams started all 14 games in which he played (two in the postseason). His regular-season totals were 45 tackles (26 solo), 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Williams had six tackles in his first two career playoff games.

In 2021, Williams started all 17 games and totaled a career-high 81 tackles (34 solo), 6.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was one of three Giants to start every game. Williams' 81 tackles were the fourth-most by an NFL defensive lineman in 2021.

The previous season, Williams had the most productive season of his career while playing in all 16 games with 12 starts. His team-leading 11.5 sacks were the most by a Giants' player since Jason Pierre-Paul's 14.5 in 2014 and were 7.5 more than any of his teammates, 4.5 more than his previous best total (in 2016) and 11.0 more than he had in 2019. Williams was third in the NFL with 30 quarterback hits and tied for sixth with 14 tackles for loss.

Williams received his first Player of the Week Award following the Giants' 17-12 defeat of the NFC West champion Seahawks in Seattle on Dec. 6. He tied his then career high with 2.5 sacks – all in the second half – for 25.5 yards and was credited with five of the Giants' 10 pressures of Russell Wilson. In the third quarter, Williams sacked Wilson for a 15-yard loss to help force a Seattle punt. Midway through the fourth quarter, Williams teamed with Jabaal Sheard for a 5-yard sack. And with the Seahawks trying to drive for the go-ahead touchdown, Williams sacked Wilson for a 10-yard loss on third down with 48 seconds remaining, all but ending Seattle's chances to win the game.

Williams won the award again three weeks later, when he posted a career-high 3.0 sacks in a season-ending victory against Dallas.

Without Williams, the Giants' defensive line room includes 2022 Pro Bowler Dexter Lawrence, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, A'Shawn Robinson, D.J. Davidson and rookie Jordon Riley, who has been active for just two games this season but will presumably be in uniform more often after Williams' departure. Another lineman, Ryder Anderson, is on the practice squad.

In Seattle, Williams will join former teammate Julian Love, a safety who played for the Giants from 2019-22 before joining the Seahawks as a free agent in the offseason.

The trade results in one quirk for Williams. The Seahawks had their bye in Week 5, immediately after defeating the Giants on Monday night, Oct. 2. The Giants don't have their bye until the first weekend in December. Williams will not get a bye week and barring an injury, will play in 18 regular-season games this year.

Seattle's next game is Sunday in Baltimore. The Seahawks have games remaining against NFC East teams Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia.

*The Giants released wide receiver Gunner Olszewski on Monday. Olszewski was signed from the practice squad Saturday and saw extensive action on special teams against the Jets, returning six punts for 56 yards (9.3 avg.).

Additionally, the Giants signed cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver to the practice squad. The 25-year-old was a seventh-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2020, where played 25 games from 2020-2022, primarily on special teams.

View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2023 cycle.


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