Asked if the Giants have discussed using the franchise tag or transition tag on pending free agent Leonard Williams, GM Dave Gettleman answered in the affirmative.
"We're discussing that and I don't discuss negotiations anyhow, but that's [in] discussion," Gettleman said Tuesday at the NFL Combine.
Still, while the Giants could tag Williams or extend him between now and the start of free agency, Gettleman -- who surrendered a 2020 third-round draft pick and 2021 fifth-round pick to trade for Williams during the 2019 season -- seemed open to the idea of letting him walk. And the fallout that could result from it.
"Oh, I'll get killed," Gettleman said. "But I've got thick, Rhino hide."
The transition tag period begins Feb. 25 and ends March 10.
The franchise tag period begins Feb. 27 and ends March 12.
If the Giants wind up placing a transition or franchise tag on Williams (or letting him walk for nothing), the blowback Gettleman gets will be massive.
Williams was clear after being traded that he was open to re-signing with the Giants before reaching free agency, and Gettleman made it known that the plan was to re-sign him.
On Dec. 31, Gettleman said "the juice was worth the squeeze" when explaining the rationale behind trading for Williams during a season when the Giants weren't in contention.
"But bringing in Leonard, obviously, we evaluated the film. By bringing him in, we felt he could be a disruptive force inside -- and he has been, he has been. ... At the end of the day, we felt good about him," Gettleman said. "He did what we wanted him to do and he wants to be here. ... Now we know what we have and we're willing to (re-sign Williams). We felt we needed him. We felt good about him and we feel the improvement -- he's disruptive in there. He improved our rushing defense in there and he buzzes around like a linebacker.
"We're just getting finished now, but we felt like the bottom line is we felt it was worth the deal. The juice was worth the squeeze."
Gettleman added at the time that he had met with Williams, who said that he wanted to remain a Giant.
"He was in my office yesterday and told me he wants to be here," Gettleman said of Williams.