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Former Trojan Leonard Williams receives franchise tag from New York Giants

Williams left one New York team for the other midseason last year and received the Giants’ franchise tag on Monday.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants placed their franchise tag on defensive lineman Leonard Williams on Monday, the deadline day for teams to exercise their franchise tags. Williams, who joined the Giants in a midseason trade from the New York Jets, will now be bound to the Giants for at least the 2020-21 season at a salary rate based upon the top five salaries across the league at his position.

That’s some big bucks for the former Trojan who recorded just a half sack for the Giants a year ago. He finished the season with 15 games played, 46 total tackles, three passes defended and a forced fumble in 2019.

During his time at USC, Williams finished with 218 tackles, 36 of which were for a loss, 21 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and nine more pass deflections at the line. His career highlights also include being selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2012, a 2x All-American by ESPN from 2013-14 as well as All-American selections by the American Football Coaches Association in 2014.

After forgoing his senior season in 2016, Williams was selected with the sixth overall pick by the New York Jets. His NFL career saw him earn a spot on the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America in 2015 and a Pro Bowl invite in 2016.

To date, Williams has recorded 266 career tackles including 17.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in the NFL.

Williams and the Giants can now either work out a long-term deal to keep him in New York, or allow him to play this one year and decide to use another franchise tag next offseason or let him test the free agent waters in 2021. Either way, Williams is now set to become one of the NFL’s top-five paid defensive tackles.

That’s a great way to start your week.