The New York Giants will place the franchise tag on defensive lineman Leonard Williams before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET to do do, per NFL insider Ian Rapaport. Rapoport is reporting as of 2:20 p.m. ET that the Giants have made that move official.
The Giants also used the franchise tag on Williams a season ago, and this tag will cost at least $19.4 million. It could cost more if Williams is considered a defensive end. Using the cap would put the Giants roughly $5.5 million over an estimated cap of $185 million, per Spotrac. The Giants have until March 17, the beginning of the free agency signing period, to be in compliance with the cap.
Rapoport reported that the Giants consider the franchise tag “a placeholder for a long-term deal, which the two sides will continue to work towards.”
The tag amount costs toward the cap immediately, whether or not Williams signs it. Thus, it would behoove the Giants to get that long-term deal done before free agency, driving the 2021 cap hit down and giving them more financial flexibility.
There is a possibility the league will push the tag deadline back from today. In which case the Giants might end up not having to use it on Williams. For now, though, tagging Williams is reportedly the plan.
Williams is coming off a career-best 11.5 sack season. Ensuring that he returns has been thought to be a priority for the Giants this offseason. Now, we know that is the case.
The Giants have several other decisions to make with their own players. Can they re-sign Dalvin Tomlinson? What will they do with Nate Solder and Kevin Zeitler?
Their first order of business, though, has been decided.