FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- While they wait on a decision from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets locked up linebacker Quincy Williams with a three-year, $18 million contract, a source told ESPN on Sunday.
The deal can be worth as much as $21 million and it includes $9 million in guarantees, the source said.
The Jets identified Williams, a pending free agent, as one of their top priorities. They worked diligently in recent days to keep him off the open market. Coach Robert Saleh said his goal was to "run it back" with the same defense that ranked fourth in total yards last season, and ensuring Williams' return is a step in that direction.
Williams, the older brother of Jets star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, made $2.54 million last season in the final year of his rookie contract and quickly emerged as one of the team's best waiver pickups in recent years.
He arrived in New York after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on the final roster cutdown of the 2021 preseason.
Known for his speed and sideline-to-sideline tackling ability, Williams solidified himself as the weakside linebacker in the Jets' 4-3 front. He started 28 games over the past two seasons, recording 147 solo tackles, 5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. He played 79% of the defensive snaps last season. He missed two games with a high ankle sprain, but returned with a 14-tackle performance against the Green Bay Packers.
Williams, who turns 27 in August, has "Pro Bowl potential," according to Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.
One weakness in his game is that he tends to overrun plays, getting caught out of position. Undersized at 5-foot-11, 235 pounds, Williams is best suited to a 4-3 scheme, which allows him to utilize his speed.
Williams has played in 49 career games (36 starts) with five sacks and no interceptions.