The offseason isn't even a month old, and the Jets are set to look dramatically different in 2021 because of their new coaching staff alone. More change could be coming at quarterback, and New York will surely be in the market for upgrades at running back, wide receiver, offensive line and cornerback.
Whatever the final roster proves to be, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams wants to be on it.
The No. 3 pick of the 2019 draft has been the subject of trade speculation for months, and he reiterated Wednesday that he hopes it is nothing more than talk. That conversation has recently involved him being part of a package to net quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"I'd be disappointed," Williams said of a potential trade to the Texans in an interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. "I really want to be a Jet for life. I like New York, and I want to play in New York."
Williams, who last season improved upon a modest first year but has yet to prove he's a defensive cornerstone, added that he understood this is a business and he could be moved. After all, he too views Watson as "a top-five quarterback in the league." Thus, his focus since the season ended has been on himself rather than rumors while the organization decides on what to do with its first-round draft capital (picks No. 2 and 23) and incumbent quarterback Sam Darnold.
"I just handle what I can handle, just control what I can control," Williams said. "Just go out and work hard as I can for any team that I'm on. Hopefully it's the Jets so I can play with coach (Robert) Saleh, but any team I'm on, I just work my hardest so that when that comes around I can be the best player I can be."
In 2020, Williams recorded 7.0 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 14 QB hits and two forced fumbles, all of which more than doubled his rookie output. He's hoping that improvement will continue under the defensive-minded Saleh, who made sure to get acquainted with the Alabama product during the draft process as his 49ers were effectually deciding between Williams and Nick Bosa. Williams took notice of what Saleh did in San Francisco thereafter.
"To get the chance to see that scheme and that front four and just the different things Coach Saleh brought to that defense, I can't wait to get around him and pick his brain and get him to bring that to the New York Jets," Williams said. "You can tell he brings passion to the game, passion to where he's coaching, just passion. ... You have to bring passion, you got to bring love and dedication to your job. So you could see he brings all of that into coaching."
Williams will soon find out whether Saleh is passionate about coaching him.