Leonard Williams got a big contract after a quiet season.
What’s he in store for following a big season? That’s a major question for the direction of the Giants’ offseason.
The Giants acquired Williams from the Jets to boost their pass rush in October 2019 and gave him a one-year, $16.1 million contract on the franchise tag, believing he was capable of much more than the half-sack he had as in his disappointing 2019 season. He has delivered with 8.5 sacks this season, upping his price tag in negotiations with every big play.
“So far, there haven’t been any conversations I know of,” Williams said. “I try to control what I can control. I’ve been enjoying my time here so far. I love playing with these guys. I love the direction of where it’s going with this new coaching staff.”
The Giants could use the franchise tag on Williams a second time, but it is more salary cap-effective to sign him to a long-term extension. If he reaches free agency, he will have more suitors than he would have had one year ago, when general manager Dave Gettleman underestimated Williams’ asking price.
“I’ll just have to focus on that when it comes around,” Williams said. “I have two more games to play. I really haven’t been thinking about any contract stuff, to be honest.”
The Giants might have to pick between re-signing Williams and re-signing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
“I’ve been proud to be a Giant for however long it has been,” Williams said. “If ends this year then it ends this year. Either way, I’ve been happy to wear these colors and play this season.”
Wide receiver Golden Tate was not seen at practice, and was scheduled to work with trainers on the calf injury he suffered Wednesday. He is trending toward missing Sunday’s game.
Outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who missed the last three games on injured reserve, was expected to progress from individual drills to team drills — a sign he could be activated.
“If he can’t do it this week, we’re very hopeful for next week,” coach Joe Judge said. “That being said, I want to make sure you put this guy out there with him being able to set the edge, play with force, play with strike, and then have quick reaction in short areas to burst. Coming off the lower leg with the calf, that’s something you have to really make sure he’s back and able to do that. Otherwise, you can re-aggravate it and just lose him, period.”
It is possible running back Devonta Freeman — who was the Giants’ starter before a hamstring injury and a positive COVID-19 test opened the door for Wayne Gallman to take over — will be activated for one or both of the final two games as well.
The Giants’ decision to attempt a fake field goal at the end of the first series against the Browns on which punter Riley Dixon threw to center Nick Gates was a result of trying to help out the shorthanded offense.
“We’re going to always err on the side of being aggressive,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. “Especially now, with our group and our team.”
Why throw to Gates? Does the 300-pounder have the soft hands of a receiver?
“You guys would be blown away, absolutely blown away if you saw him,” McGaughey said. “He’s caught every ball that we’ve thrown him. Since training camp we’ve been working this thing. Everybody laughs now because he’s a center. He has the best pair of hands I have ever seen on a center.”