Quinnen Williams said he didn’t have a reaction to swirling reports that the Jets were shopping him.
When head coach Adam Gase publicly refuted the notion that Williams was on the trade block this week, it was all the same to Williams, who insisted Friday that he didn’t pay any attention to such rumors in the first place.
“It was cool,” the second-year defensive tackle said of the conversation Gase and general manager Joe Douglas had with him to put the trade reports to rest. “I really didn’t see it in the media or look at it in the media. So when they told me, I was just like, ‘Bet.’ It didn’t really change how I felt about the team, how I felt about the organization, I just want to work hard and do what I can do on Sundays.
“They didn’t have to talk to me if they didn’t want to, I was going to go play hard Sunday like I always do.”
That’s just how the 22-year-old has been since the Jets drafted him third-overall in 2019: Completely unfazed. It’s going to take a lot more than outside murmurs to throw Williams off and make him question where he stands in the Jets’ organization.
Considering he leads all interior defensive linemen with 18 stops, is third in run-stop percentage at 12.2 percent and is tied for fourth with 17 tackles against the run this season, per Pro Football Focus, it’s only fitting that Williams’ attention is strictly on the field.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Friday that he recognized the Alabama product’s will to grow “from Day 1.” With more tackles for loss (5) through seven games this season than he had in 13 games as a rookie last year, Williams has shown he is capable of raising his ceiling year after year.
Limited by a high ankle sprain, Williams wasn’t able to reach his full potential in his first NFL season. But it was how he handled himself during that time that makes the second-year defensive coordinator believe Williams is going to continue to progress.
“I mentioned this to you last year, the guts that he had and the strength that he had to play last year with that really significant injury that he had,” Gregg Williams said. “And then this year, he’s grown every single game. He’s at the very top of our league for an interior guy in the run and pressures and hits and tackles for losses. He’s only going to continue to get better and I believe that.
“He stays healthy, he’s going to be really, really, really good and I’m glad he’s here, I really am.”
The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Williams is in the second year of his four-year rookie contract, which includes a fifth-year team option. Set to count $9 million against the 2021 cap and $10.6 million against the 2022 cap, Williams could be seen as an affordable option to interested teams.
However, between the organization’s strong stance against the trade rumors, his current contributions to the defense and his general attitude, Williams looks like he’ll be in green and white for the foreseeable future.