Giants GM Gettleman hoping to re-sign Leonard Williams

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FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2019, file photo New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams celebrates after sacking Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II during the second half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla. A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the New York Jets have traded Williams to the Giants for a third-round draft pick next year and a fifth-rounder in 2021.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants want to sign recently acquired defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a multiyear deal before his contract runs out at the end of the season.

General manager Dave Gettleman disclosed the plans in a letter sent to season tickets holders Thursday and released as a story on the team’s website Friday.

The Giants obtained Williams from the rival Jets on Monday on the eve of the NFL trading deadline for a third-round draft choice in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round choice in 2021.

The conditional pick will become a fourth if the Giants (2-6) re-sign Williams, who was the sixth overall draft pick in 2015.

“We gave up a three and a five,” Gettleman said in the message to the ticket holders. “Our goal is to sign him long term. He’s only 25 years old. And obviously talented. He’s a piece you can build around.”

Gettleman, who has not spoken to the media on the record since the end of July, said he reached out to Jets counterpart Joe Douglas last week about Williams.

“We went back and forth and basically came to an agreement over the weekend,” Gettleman said. “But we didn’t finalize it. He had to speak to his ownership and I had to speak with mine. We made the deal on Monday. Leonard came in and passed his physical on Tuesday, and he’s now a Giant wearing No. 99.”

The addition of the 25-year-old Williams gives the Giants a young group up front that includes third-year pro Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year veteran B.J. Hill and rookie Dexter Lawrence, one of three first-round draft picks this season.

“It gives us a really strong inside defensive tackle rotation,” Gettleman said. “We’re very happy with the progress that B.J. Hill is making. We’re happy with Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson. We’re very happy with our defensive tackle group, but you’re always looking to get better. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Defensive tackles line up closer to the quarterback than defensive ends.”

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher on Friday called Williams a versatile, explosive player who can line up anywhere on the line. He had 17 sacks with the Jets and made one Pro Bowl.

“He gets in here at the beginning of the week, and here I guess we’re three quarters of the way through the week and he’s not making mistakes,” said Bettcher, adding Williams will play Monday night at MetLife Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys (4-3). “He’s locked in on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and he’s working his tail off. So, we’re excited to have him, we’re excited to have an opportunity to work with him.”

The Giants have one of the NFL’s youngest teams. Quarterback Daniel Jones, receiver Darius Slayton, cornerback DeAndre Baker and Lawrence all starting along with second-year players Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, the starting halfback and left guard, respectively.

Wiilliams played in all 71 games with the Jets, starting all but once.

“When you’re building your team, especially in the offseason, you count on guys to be available,” Gettleman said. “When you get into a situation where you can’t count on a guy, how do you plan? The best ability sometimes is availability. Leonard has been available his whole career. We just think that he has plenty of upside, he’s athletic, he can run.”

NOTES: Giants said WR Sterling Shepard and rookie CB Corey Ballentine have been removed from the concussion protocol. They have practiced all week and should be ready to play Monday. … Shepard missed the last three games with his second concussion of the season. … If Shepard plays it would mark the first time Jones has had Shepard, TE Evan Engram, Barkley and WR Golden Tate III all in the lineup. Jones replaced Eli Manning as the starter in the third game of the season. Ballentine, who handled the kickoff returns, missed the last two games.

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