Seahawks confirm veto power over trade of Leonard Williams to Seattle

RENTON – In his first full day as Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Leonard Williams on Wednesday, he praised the New York Giants for making him aware of potential trade opportunities and ultimately described the move as a collaborative process.

Although Williams and his agent, Brandon Parker, said Williams would have stayed in New York if he had primarily been given veto power, it became clear last week just how much cooperation there was.

Parker made the comments in a story published Wednesday in the New York Post, noting that it was unusual for the Giants to allow Williams to modify his deal because it does not have a no-trade clause.

“It was a tough decision for Leonard,” Parker said.

In an interview with The Seattle Times on Thursday, Williams reiterated Parker’s comments, saying Giants general manager Joe Shaw told him there were two offers on the table — from the Seahawks and Buffalo — and told him which team he wanted to trade. Or stay in New York.

“GM contacted me and they said they’re not trying to buy me out and stuff like that,” Williams said. “You are the greatest person in this group, A [team] Captain and all kinds of things. He said, ‘You’re the kind of guy we’d lose the locker room to.’

“But he said, ‘Seattle and Buffalo are both trying to make a push for you.’ He was like, ‘We don’t want to trade you, so if you want to go to one of those teams or stay here, let me know by 4.'”

While the Giants have said they won’t shop Williams, they’ve been listening to offers since Williams can become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season and New York has fallen out of the postseason hunt. The Giants lost the day before the trade to drop to 2-6.

The New York Post reports that if Williams were to trade, the Giants’ choice would be to pick the Seahawks because they offered so much — a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick.

According to The Post, the trade offer from Seattle was “better compensation than that.” [the Giants] It was a move he expected and the team wanted to make. But only if Williams signs.

After being given a few hours to think about it, Williams said he considered his options before signing the deal for Seattle.

“Both teams would be good to go,” Williams said. But I felt like I knew people here. I felt more welcome here.

Williams has already played with a few current Seahawks, most notably safety Julian Love with the Giants and both safety Jamal Adams and quarterback Geno Smith with the Jets, as well as Uchenna Nwosu at USC. He also got to know coach Pete Carroll from playing with the Trojans. Carroll coached USC from 2001-09 while Williams played from 2012-14.

The trade was the second of Williams’ career — he was also traded from the Jets in mid-2019. He was approached by the Jets, who drafted him sixth overall in 2015 out of USC.

“It was a tough decision,” Williams said of being given veto power. But it was nice to be in that position. It was a lot different than what I went through when I came from the Jets to the Giants. It was like I woke up one day, and they were like, ‘You’re gone.’ So it felt a little smooth for the transition.

Not that he hasn’t had some complications.

As Williams noted, his trade from the Jets to the Giants meant he didn’t need to move.

This time, he had to move cross-country at a moment’s notice.

He’s currently living in a hotel and dealing with things like figuring out how to get his car from New York to Seattle, even though he has longtime girlfriend Hailey Lott — the daughter of NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott — doing most of the logistics.

“She came out here helping me handle everything outside of football,” he said.

And the Seahawks made it work last week, with Williams playing 41 of 76 possible snaps (54%) in Sunday’s 37-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, not far behind Jaron Reed’s 63% and Draymont Jones, the other starters in Seattle’s three-man base line.

“I expected to play straight away, but to be honest I think I played more than I thought I would – but not in a bad way,” he said. “I’m so glad they trusted me there.”

Williams said he had only one mental error despite three days of practice against the Seahawks before the Baltimore game.

He was credited with two tackles.

“I thought Leonard did a great job with everything he needed to do on short notice,” coach Pete Carroll said this week. He played very strong and very good technique as he always does and gave us a good healthy dose of play there.

Williams said he expects to be even better Sunday when the Seahawks host the Washington Chiefs at Lumen Field because he now feels more comfortable with the playbook and the environment.

“Going into this week, we’re going to make it a lot easier,” he said. “And that allows me to play faster.”

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