Where are the best fits for Leonard Williams this offseason?
The career of Leonard Williams has been rooted in coaching changes and inconsistencies. Drafted by the New York Jets with the sixth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, the former USC Trojan has also been moved around the defensive line.
Coming into the NFL, Williams was viewed as a defensive end. In his second season in 2016, he made the Pro Bowl. However, he was later moved inside to play tackle, where he seemed somewhat uncomfortable at first.
That position change never seemed to do Williams well with the Jets, and he was sent across the stadium hallway to play for the New York Giants in 2019 after Adam Gase and Joe Douglas appeared to have seen enough from him.
Dave Gettleman, general manager of the New York Giants, caught some flak for the fee he surrendered to acquire a player who appeared to have reached an unflattering ceiling. He did not raise any eyebrows in his eight games with the Giants after the move, but in 2020 he broke back out.
Williams was a terror, collecting a career-high 11.5 sacks playing under another new coach in Joe Judge with Patrick Graham at defensive coordinator. Now, at just age 26-years old (turning 27), he will have teams calling for his services all offseason. So, which teams are the best fits?
5. Indianapolis Colts
For the Indianapolis Colts, signing Williams would be adding to an already talent-rich defense. This would be a luxury, not a necessity. Although, a front office can be afforded luxuries when they have the cap space and feel like the club is close.
Of course, general manager Chris Ballard went out and handled priority number-one this offseason, which was getting a quarterback. He filled this need with the Carson Wentz trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 18. As far as the rest of the roster goes, many positions are filled and locked in. Therefore, that fourth-most cap space in the NFL can be used a bit recklessly.
You never want to tie yourself down with bad contracts. Never. But, why not add a game-wrecker like Williams to a line that could use another pass rusher? Justin Houston and Denico Autry are free agents, and Williams could form an incredible duo with DeForest Buckner on that line.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Colts had 40 team sacks. That number was tied for 12th in the NFL with Williams’ team, the Giants.
Ballard has the space to be creative and somewhat risky this offseason. Williams is not a dire need as stated before, but the thought of pairing him with Buckner and solidifying that line for the next few seasons might be tantalizing.