The Giants traded valuable assets for pending free agent Leonard Williams earlier this season with the idea that they would extend him. But Williams recently said that testing the free agent market is "definitely a logical possibility."
While the Giants have an exclusive window with Williams before other teams can negotiate with him, his return is not certain. And he has his eye on a big payday.
"I definitely think I'm a top-tier interior defensive lineman, in that top percentage of the d-linemen," Williams told Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "I wouldn't say Aaron Donald [level]. But I would definitely put myself up there with a lot of those other top guys."
Williams told Slater "everything is going to have to match up," but added that he liked the fact that Dave Gettleman wanted him on the Giants.
"I think it speaks volumes that they were willing to trade for me in a rebuilding year," he said. "I think that shows that they want me to be a part of this program."
Williams said in his first days as a Giant that he would "definitely be open" to signing an extension before the end of the season if the Giants approached him.
Meanwhile, sources told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano shortly after the trade that Williams' worth was in the range of roughly $10 million to $12 million per season, but suggested he would likely ask for more. Many believed he would be looking for a five-year, $75 million contract with $20 million guaranteed.
Gettleman made his intentions clear after dealing for Williams, saying that the Giants' goal was to lock him up.
"We gave up a [third-round pick] and a [fifth-round pick]" Gettleman said. "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. ... When you're building your team, especially in the offseason, you count on guys to be available. 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."