The Jets Will Have To Pay Quinen Williams — And Perform Whatever Salary Cap Gymnastics It Takes When The Super Bowl-Or-Bust Window Opens

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The New York Jets have a counterfeit problem on their hands. They are the impossible position of moving the draft pick up to the point where they would have to pay a market rate extension.

Jets defensive tackle Quinnan Williams has made no secret of his desire to become the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league, including from social media sleuths. Williams removes Jets from his Twitter profile and mocks General Manager Joe Douglas Is Saying The Jets Are “Optimistic” They can make a deal. The 25-year-old has developed into an elite defensive player since the Jets took him with the third pick in the 2019 draft and the bills are due.

Williams has one big fact working in his favor as he and his team continue contract talks: The Jets need Williams on this roster. Head coach Robert Saleh's plan has always depended on having -tier talent up front along the defensive line and Williams is as good as they get – and he's coming off a career year. First-team All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Defensive Player of the Year vote and posted career highs in sacks (12), tackles for loss (12) and quarterback hits (28). He has become essential to a Jets defense that hinges in part on the success of their defensive line, though having a like Sauce Gardner takes some of that pressure off.

There is already an outline for what this contract should look like. Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence recently signed a four-year, $87.5 million contract with $60 million guaranteed. Earlier this spring, Jeffery Simmons of the Titans signed a four-year, $94 million deal and Daron Payne and the Commanders agreed to a four-year, $90 million deal. None of those are touching Aaron Donald's average annual contract value of $31.7 million, but signing a deal that reaches $25 million on an annual basis is reasonable enough for Williams to offer any team. It's incredibly difficult to find uber-athletic 300-pound players who also have the technical skills to explode offenses against the run and the pass. Letting such people walk out the door is a tough pill to swallow.

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Quinnen Williams will command top dollar from the Jets, and it won't be the easiest cap situation to manage, but that's the going rate for a player who makes his level of impact. (AP Photo/Adrian Cross)

To be fair to the Jets, it's unlikely they'll let Williams walk away in free agency. After closing the trade for Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are firmly in Super Bowl-or-bust mode. Now is not the time to move a player with the potential like Williams because he's going to be Necessary For the Jets' success this season on defense. There's also just the fact that they don't have great defensive depth outside of Williams. Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods are the remaining options, and they have flex players like Solomon Thomas and John Franklin-Myers to fill in the gaps on the interior at times.

The Jets will have to play with some cap space gymnastics over the next few years to make this contract work, but they're easily ahead of Franklin-Myers, CJ Mosley, LeKen Tomlinson and DJ Reed in 2024 to help them fit in. can increase. Williams on the roster. It would be a blow to the Jets' depth, but this business isn't always easy. Contract talks may not have progressed the Williams would have liked, but he's leaving regardless for his money. His contract with the Jets expires after this season, so the clock is ticking.

Jett can't let him go. The most fascinating part will be to see how Douglas and the rest of the front office build a roster with a top-heavy cap position.

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