Any DT contract has the potential to impact the NY Jets’ negotiations for Quinnen Williams’s new deal
Last offseason, there were several seminal contracts that blew up the free agent and trade markets, completely reversing the fortunes of some teams.
Christian Kirk’s free-agent deal was the first domino to fall. It seemed absurd that a player who had never recorded a 1,000-yard season received a contract worth $18 million per year in average annual value.
That set the tone for Davante Adams’s trade. Up until then, the Packers had hoped that they could come to terms with Adams after retaining Aaron Rodgers. However, they realized they had no chance of keeping Adams at the price point he requested and pivoted to trade him to the Raiders.
Las Vegas then reset the receiver market by signing Adams to a five-year, $140 million deal with $65.67 million guaranteed. The $28 million AAV was an absolute death knell for the Kansas City Chiefs’ negotiations with their own star receiver, Tyreek Hill. They allowed him to seek a trade.
Hill returned a boatload of picks to Miami while exceeding Adams’s contract value. He signed a four-year, $120 million extension, a $30 million AAV that no one could have forecast for a wide receiver. Hill also beat Adams’s guarantees with $72.2 million guaranteed.
After a rash of other lucrative receiver contracts last offseason, including A.J. Brown’s trade-and-sign and Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin’s extensions, we now arrive at a reality in which Jakobi Meyers may receive $20 million per year and Odell Beckham Jr. feels justified in demanding it.
Similarly and more prominently, Deshaun Watson’s whopping five-year, $230 million, fully guaranteed deal dealt a haymaker to the quarterback market. Although no one else has received that kind of contract as yet, the $46 million AAV certainly affected Kyler Murray’s and Russell Wilson’s extensions. Besides Lamar Jackson’s infamous quest for a Watsonesque deal, the over-$40 million number clearly got Daniel Jones paid this offseason.
This brings us to the New York Jets‘ contract negotiations with DT Quinnen Williams. Williams has already stated that he will skip voluntary workouts without a new deal. The Jets would not do well to antagonize their 2022 team MVP, first-team All-Pro, and most important defensive player.
However, will those negotiations be made thorny by Daron Payne’s new contract? The Washington Commanders placed the franchise tag on the five-year veteran before signing him on Sunday to a four-year, $90 million deal with $60 million guaranteed. The finer points of the contract will be released in the coming days, but the $22.5 million AAV is interesting.
How will Payne’s new deal affect Quinnen’s? I would contend that the answer is very little, if at all.
Looking at the previous defensive tackle market, it was fairly obvious that Williams was going to want to be the second-highest-paid DT in the game, behind only Aaron Donald. Williams cannot realistically argue that he is in the same category as perhaps the greatest defensive player of all time. Donald’s contract is three years, $95 million, which is $31.7 million AAV and is fully guaranteed.
The next-highest DT contract until now was that of DeForest Buckner of the Colts. Buckner signed a four-year, $84 million deal with a $21 million AAV and $44.4 million guaranteed. However, that deal was signed in 2019, and the overall free-agent market has appreciated significantly since then.
Therefore, it was fairly obvious that Quinnen was going to want significantly more than Buckner. At various times on Jet X, we have projected somewhere in the $25-26 million per year range over four years.
Does Payne’s contract really change that? $22.5 million barely beats Buckner’s AAV despite coming four years later. Payne is also in a similar boat to Quinnen in certain ways: he had a breakout year after several seasons of adequate play that was far below his potential.
I don’t believe that Payne’s contract will change that much about what Quinnen will get other than being another data point. My prediction for Quinnen’s contract remains in the four-year, $100 million, $65 million guaranteed range.
One interesting note
As I was writing this article, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that the Jets have agreed to a deal with Quinnen’s older brother, Quincy Williams, on a three-year deal.
The #Jets agreed to terms with LB Quincy Williams on a three-year, $18 million deal that maxes out at $21M with incentives, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 12, 2023
The Williams brothers were widely seen as package deals. Quinnen wanted his older brother to get paid even as he did. Now, the Jets have taken the first step toward getting both of their players locked up in Green and White.
Will this affect the actual contract number for Quinnen? Likely not. But will it incentivize him to get a deal done sooner rather than later? Very possibly.
As the Jets remain in limbo over their quarterback saga, Joe Douglas has continued to wheel and deal to make his team as strong as possible heading into 2023.