A third NFL player is getting back-to-back franchise tags.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the New York Giants are expected to use the franchise tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams for the second straight season, per a source informed of the situation. The team later confirmed the move.
Rapoport added that the franchise tender is viewed as a placeholder for a long-term deal, which the two sides will continue to work toward this offseason.
The tag deadline is currently set for today at 4 p.m. ET. The deadline could get pushed with the salary cap still not announced.
Having been tagged last year, Williams' franchise tender isn't reliant on the cap. After earning $16.126 million on last year's tender, he's due $19.351 million in 2021. With a second franchise tag worth 120 percent of the previous season's contract, it's not a surprise that the three tags that have come down thus far are of this variety. Teams are likely waiting until they have official numbers before using the first-year tags.
Williams is coming off a career year with 11.5 sacks in his first full season with Big Blue. He was the Giants' best defender and a backfield-wrecker last season. Williams' penetrating ability was finally realized in 2020. Along with his QB takedowns, the interior menace added a career-high in tackles for loss (14) and QB hits (30). Williams ranked No. 4 on NFL.com's list of this offseason's top 101 free agents.
After Dave Gettleman gave up a third-round pick for Williams in 2019, the hog molly's potential has been realized with the Giants.
Big Blue has long wanted to lock down Williams long-term, but sides haven't been able to hammer out a deal. They'll have until mid-July to get it done this time around.
Having to use the franchise tag on Williams means the Giants could lose fellow DT Dalvin Tomlinson to free agency. There was some thought that if New York could have gotten a deal done with Williams, Tomlinson would have been a tag candidate. Tomlinson is now likely to hit the open market where he could price himself out of Big Blue's range.