With the start of NFL free agency beginning on March 17 and the three day "legal tampering window" starting Sunday, March 14, the New York Giants have applied the franchise tag to defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Unlike last season when Williams played on the tag, this time it's to get a long-term deal done. For the Giants' sake, they better. Right now, Williams with the tag will receive $19.351 million, which also counts against the team's salary cap. But the tag does keep him off the market while they work it out.

Williams had a breakout year for the G-Men last year with 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, and 30 quarterback hits. In 2019, the Giants gave the Jets a third and fifth-round draft choice to acquire what was the Jets first round (6th overall) pick in the 2015 draft. The worst nightmare for the Giants would have been if Williams left in free agency and signed back with the Jets.

Giants fans' worst nightmare, on the other hand, would be if Giants general manager Dave Gettleman doesn't get this deal done, which could force them to cut players to get under the salary cap. As of Monday according to nj.com, they have around $7.3 million on a projected $180.5 million cap.

Not getting a deal done would also mean letting their other free agent Dalvin Tomlinson walk, which was probably going to happen anyway and forget about adding anyone else of significance.

The Giants have had a problem signing Williams since they traded for him. They should have made a deal when they brought him in, then again last year when they franchised him off the 2019 season when he had only a half a sack. Williams gambled on himself and won with the breakout year in 2020.

As good as he made Dave Gettleman look after trading for Williams, that will be as bad as he will look if he doesn't get this deal done.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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