Sources: Jets, star DT Quinnen Williams reach $96M deal

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Thursday, July 13, 2023

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets have locked up All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams with a four-year, $96 million contract extension that includes $66 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Thursday.

It's the largest guarantee in franchise history, surpassing linebacker C.J. Mosley's $51 million as a free agent in 2019.

Williams, 25, who had one year remaining on his rookie contract, is now signed through the 2027 season.

The Jets announced Williams' extension on Thursday but did not disclose terms of the deal.

The extension makes Williams the NFL's second-highest-paid defensive tackle, based on average annual value. At $24 million per season, he surpasses the Tennessee Titans' Jeffery Simmons ($23.5 million) for the No. 2 spot, behind Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald ($31.7 million). Williams' $66 million guaranteed surpasses Donald ($65 million), however, for the most guaranteed money in a defensive tackle's contract, according to the Roster Management System.

The Jets now have two of the highest-paid players at their respective positions in Williams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($50.3 million average), whom they acquired in an April trade with the Green Bay Packers.

Williams skipped the Jets' voluntary workouts as the two sides negotiated, more than once expressing his frustration on social media as other top defensive tackles landed huge extensions. He deleted the Jets from his Twitter bio, changing it to, "Defensive tackle for ...." He restored the Jets to his bio on Thursday shortly before news of his extension.

"The success of this organization is beyond important to me and completing this deal allows me to turn all my attention to positively impacting that," Williams said in a statement Thursday. "I am thrilled to put forth my best efforts alongside my brothers to get prepared for this season ahead of us."

This offseason, Simmons, Dexter Lawrence (New York Giants) and Daron Payne (Washington Commanders) scored new deals, ranging from $22.5 million to $23.5 million per year. Simmons, Lawrence and Williams were first-round picks in 2019.

The Jets re-signed Williams' brother, linebacker Quincy Williams, this offseason to a three-year, $18 million contract.

Publicly, Jets officials remained optimistic throughout the process, vowing to get it done even though the two sides went at least a month in April/May without talking, a source said. On June 6, coach Robert Saleh said "it's going to get done. He'll be here for camp, he'll be ready to roll and once he is, I'm sure he'll be the same guy he was a year ago."

The Jets' defense, which finished fourth last season in yards allowed and scoring, now has one of its pillars for the foreseeable future.

Money aside, the Williams deal also is significant because the Jets aren't known for retaining their top picks. They're the only team that didn't re-sign any of its first rounders from 2012 to 2018 to a second contract, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The last one to get an extension was defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, picked in 2011.

This marks the first time that general manager Joe Douglas, who took over in 2019, has re-signed a Jets draft pick to a multiyear extension. Of the 55 draft picks from 2012 to 2018, only two received multiyear extensions -- wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (sixth-round pick in 2014) and guard Brian Winters (third round in 2013). Those extensions predated Douglas.

After solid years in 2020 and 2021, Williams exploded in 2022, finishing with a team-high 12 sacks (third among interior linemen in the NFL). His pressure percentage (13.4%) was the highest among qualified interior linemen, according to NextGen Stats.

Williams made his first Pro Bowl and was named first team All-Pro. Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich called it "one of the best defensive performances ... I've ever been around -- and I've been around some really, really good players."

Ulbrich likened Williams to former San Francisco 49ers teammate Bryant Young, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February.

Williams was selected third overall in 2019, Mike Maccagnan's final draft as the GM. The former Alabama All-American has 27.5 sacks in 57 career games.

"We are thrilled to secure Quinnen as a New York Jet for the foreseeable future, as he embodies everything we look for in our players," Douglas said in a statement Thursday. "He is a leader on and off the field, who does everything asked of him and more. He is a young, ascending player who has shown a consistent ability to dominate the line of scrimmage and help this team win. We are happy to have the business of football behind us and to turn our focus to getting ready for the 2023 season."

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