EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The struggling New York Giants have traded defensive end Leonard Williams to the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks for a pair of draft picks.
The Giants (2-6) said Monday they will receive a second-round draft choice in 2024 and a fifth-rounder in 2025 for Williams, who had a $32 million salary cap hit this season, the highest on the team.
Seattle (5-2) has two third-round picks next year, which will help soften the blow of giving up a second-rounder.
The deal came a day before the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Adding Williams is the second move Seattle has made in the past week to add to its defensive line. The Seahawks reunited with veteran defensive end Frank Clark last week after Uchenna Nwosu was lost for the regular season with a pectoral injury in Week 7 against Arizona.
Williams will likely step into a rotation with Dre'Mont Jones, Mario Edwards Jr. and Jarran Reed on Seattle’s defensive front. Reed in particular has played a lot of snaps as a shaded nose tackle through the first seven games, and the Seahawks have wanted to get more pressure with the interior of their defensive line.
Ultimately, adding Williams will make that group deeper and give the Seahawks the flexibility to use the veteran in different spots on the defensive line.
The addition of Williams continued Seattle’s remodel of its defensive line from last year after it was a clear focus in the offseason. The Seahawks brought back Reed, signed Jones and Edwards to free agent deals and spent draft picks on nose tackle Cameron Young, edge rusher Derick Hall and big defensive end Mike Morris. The Seahawks took a hit to their depth when Morris was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury after Week 1.
The Giants were expected to challenge for a second straight playoff berth entering the season, but they have been beset by injuries on their offense line and at quarterback this season and the offense is among the worst in the league.
New York's record made it a seller at the deadline and Williams has been playing well lately, starting seven games. He blocked a field-goal attempt against Washington a week ago Sunday, had 21 tackles and had been steady against the run.
A nine-year veteran, Williams started 53 of 61 regular-season games and two playoff games with the Giants after being acquired from the Jets in October 2019. He was the No. 6 overall draft pick by the Jets in 2015 and played 71 games for them.
Williams was selected a team captain in 2022 and 2023 and was twice the NFC Defensive Player of the Week in the final five weeks of the 2021 season, the first time against Seattle.
With the Giants, he had 230 tackles, 22 1/2 sacks, including a career-high 11 1/2 in 2021. He also had 162 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press