General manager Joe Douglas has gotten high marks for this offseason.
He has put together a strong roster.
He landed star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a blockbuster.
And he has the Jets entering a season with higher expectations than they have had in more than a decade.
But the one hole remains the lack of a deal for Williams.
Is there reason to panic that a deal won’t get done?
There is still confidence the two sides will reach an agreement, according to those in the know about the negotiations.
The sense is they are not that far apart, and there is hope something could happen in the next few weeks before NFL business slows down in mid-June.
“I’m not worried at all,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “That thing will get done, and he’ll be here.”
The team values Williams and wants him to be a Jet long-term.
This is nothing like the Jamal Adams situation of three years ago.
The two sides have been negotiating since the scouting combine, and all signs point to a deal getting done and Williams being the NFL’s highest-paid defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald.
Most people are focused on the average salary per year, but that may not be the hurdle the two sides need to clear.
The Post asked former NFL agent Joel Corry — a contracts expert for CBSSports.com — about the potential sticking points.
“It could be length of the contract,” Corry said. “The market has been set at four years, so if the Jets want five years, it’s not getting done unless they want to pay through the nose for the fifth year. … Or, if he is looking for $25 million to $30 million per year, that’s the other reason why.”
While defensive tackles Daron Payne of the Commanders, Jeffery Simmons of the Titans and Dexter Lawrence of the Giants all signed four-year extensions, the Jets may be trying to lock up Williams a little longer in exchange for a higher per-year average.
Williams’ agent, Nicole Lynn, surely wants her client to get another shot at free agency in four years, closer to his prime, instead of five. Though that could lead to a standoff, it should not be an impossible hurdle to clear.
Other issues beyond the length of the deal and the average per year could be three-year cash flow and total guarantees.
Payne signed a four-year, $90 million extension in March, which quickly was topped by Simmons’ four-year, $94 million deal.
Lawrence was the most recent of the three to sign and surprisingly didn’t push the market forward, accepting a four-year, $90 million pact nearly identical to Payne’s. Lawrence and Payne share agent Joel Segal.
Because it was widely accepted that nobody will top future Hall of Famer’s Aaron Donald’s $31.6 million per year, the current second-, third- and fourth-biggest deals for defensive tackles all are worth between $22.5 million and $23.5 million per year, with between $59 million and $60 million guaranteed, according to Over the Cap.
Payne’s is a straight four-year deal, whereas Simmons and Lawrence added the extensions to the final remaining year of their previous contracts.
“As soon as Simmons’ deal got done, that became Quinnen Williams’ floor,” Corry said. “He’s going to say, ‘Who was First Team All-Pro last year?’ I want at least $24 million per year.’ I can understand why he would want [to average] $25 million. That’s not an unreasonable ask. There shouldn’t be as big of a gap between Aaron Donald and everybody else.”
The Jets could play hardball with Williams by making him play the 2023 season on his $9.6 million fifth-year option, then using the franchise tag on him in 2024.
But they don’t want to do that. Williams has been a dominant player and a good guy in the locker room.
Williams is surely annoyed that while other defensive tackles have been paid, he has not been.
He is staying away from the voluntary portion of the offseason program and recently removed the Jets from his social media bio.
Even so, there are no signs of true acrimony between the two sides, and they both have every reason to want to get a deal done.
Negotiations should lead to a compromise that leaves Williams in the middle of the Jets’ defense for years to come.