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#pounditSunday, May 16, 2021

Leonard Williams filing franchise tag grievance with Giants over positional dispute

Leonard Williams is set to take the New York Giants to arbitration over an issue related to his franchise tag.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported on Thursday that the former Pro Bowler has officially submitted a case to the NFLPA to contest the Giants’ decision to tag him as a defensive tackle instead of as a defensive end. The NFLPA will then file a grievance for him.

While such an issue might seem minor on its face, the non-exclusive franchise tag, which Williams officially signed from the Giants this week, guarantees him a salary equal to the average of the top five salaries leaguewide at his position. For a defensive tackle, that would be $16.1 million, but for a defensive end, the number would rise to $17.8 million.

The 25-year-old Williams began his college career at USC as a defensive tackle and switched to defensive end as a sophomore. In the NFL, Williams has been listed as a defensive end throughout his career but actually played 12 of 15 games at defensive tackle last season, per Pro Football Focus.

Williams clearly considers himself a defensive end based on his approach to the game, but he will have to see if a neutral arbitrator agrees with him.


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