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Avery Williamson reveals true reason why he signed with NY Jets in 2018

Avery Williamson, New York Jets, Contract
Avery Williamson, New York Jets, Getty Images

“The Jets came out of nowhere,” Avery Williamson says of 2018 free agency

Former New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson made an eye-opening confession this week about his 2018 free agency period. Appearing on the “Bleav in Jets” podcast with Andrew Golden, the former Jet talked about the offseason experience that led him to sign with the Jets among other things.

“Free agency was nerve-racking … especially coming off of my last year in Tennessee,” Williamson said. Williamson recalls his usage in 2017 playing into the uncertainty of how he’d fare in the open market. He played a reduced role (career-low 654 snaps) but lined up at every linebacker position, at the line of scrimmage, and even in the slot at times.

“I thought I was going to sign with either Philly [Eagles] or the Colts, and then the Jets came out of nowhere and [the Jets] threw that bag; I was like ‘oh shoot.'”, Williamson said.

It seems the Jets were not on Williamson’s radar throughout the process, but their general manager at the time, Mike Maccagnan, gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“People were like, ‘What attracted you?’… I had to go chase the money.”

The “bag” in question was a 3 year, $22.5 million contract with a whopping $16 million guaranteed. For perspective, it was reported at the time that the Titans offered him just $12 million over four years. When you look at the pay gap, it’s clear why New York was a no-brainer for Williamson.

Williamson would go on to only play 23 games in green and white over three years. Due to an ACL tear in the 2019 preseason, he went on to miss the entire regular season. He played decent in 2018, racking up three sacks, 88 total tackles, one interception, and six passes defended over 16 games.

After missing all of 2019, along with a regime change to the Gase-era Jets, he was traded at the trade deadline in 2020 to the Pittsburgh Steelers along with a 2022 seventh-round pick. The Jets received a 2022 fifth-round pick, which they would later use to move up two spots to draft running back Breece Hall.

Ultimately, Williamson is just one of many players from the Maccagnan era that never lived up to their paycheck in New York. Williamson is currently a free agent after spending time with the Titans and Broncos in 2021.

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