Jets pick up fifth-year option on Leonard Williams’ contract

The Jets picked up the fifth-year option for 2019 on defensive lineman Leonard Williams’ contract on Saturday.

Williams, the sixth overall pick in 2015, has had a solid start to his career, making this an easy decision for the Jets. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and has been very strong against the run in his career. Williams, 23, is viewed by the organization as a big part of its core moving forward.

It is unclear whether Williams was classified as a defensive end or a defensive tackle for option purposes. They carry two different salaries. The option for defensive ends is $14.2 million. The option for defensive tackles is $11.4 million. Williams moves around the defensive line, so a case could be made for either spot.

The option year is only guaranteed for injury, but don’t expect Williams to go anywhere. The Jets likely will try to sign Williams to a long-term deal before next season.

Williams spoke recently of wanting to improve as a pass rusher this year. He only had two sacks in 2017.

“I feel like I’ve been right there,” Williams said. “The years that I don’t have a lot of sacks I still have a lot of quarterback hits. That’s my goal, that’s always been my goal, is to not have it close anymore and to make those hits into sacks. It’s just getting that one step closer. I’ve always been right there. I’m pretty sure it’s close and everyone can see that. There’s no pressure. It’s just working to get better.”

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