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Leonard Williams, Giants haven’t begun contract talks yet

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It’s audition time for free agent to be

NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants did not surrender a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round in 2021 that could become a fourth-round pick to watch Leonard Williams leave via free agency eight games from now.

Williams is, though, playing on the fifth year option included in his rookie deal. So, on his first day practicing with the Giants Williams was asked if contract extension talks with the Giants had started.

“There hasn’t been any talk yet, but I’m assuming something is going to be talked about soon, or near the end of the season,” Williams said. “They [the Giants] knew that this was my contract year, everyone pretty much knows it. But at the same time, I still have stuff to prove to this team as well.”

So, Williams understands that he “definitely” is auditioning for the Giants and the rest of the league right now.

“I think this whole year has been an audition,” Williams said. “It’s my contract year and now I’m going through a transition in the middle of that contract year, but I’m going to try to lock in and do whatever I can to be the best I can on the field.”

Unless Williams surprisingly proves to be a total misfit with the Giants, it’s hard to imagine them not making him a fairly lucrative offer. Surrendering a pair of draft picks for a defensive lineman in the middle of a losing season, then losing that player in free agency would be a really bad look for the Giants.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur said he was “very confident” Williams would be with the Giants beyond this season.

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t be,” Shurmur said. “We brought him in with the idea that he was going to get out there and play and be with us.”

Williams, 25, said he “definitely would be open” to signing a long-term deal with the Giants before the end of the season.

“It’s an audition still and I have to go out there and prove it on the field,” Williams said.

He joins a young defensive line that includes Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill.