What’s the impact of the trade of Avery Williamson from NY Jets to Pittsburgh? A look at how this change of scenery could impact your fantasy teams.
With the NFL’s trade deadline quickly closing in, it has been eerily quiet, as there has been just a handful of trades and no big blockbuster deals. However, late Sunday evening there was one change of scenery trade that occurred that I found very interesting. The Pittsburgh Steelers traded for inside linebacker Avery Williamson from the New York Jets. The Steelers would acquire Williamson and a 2022 7th round pick and in exchange they would send the Jets a 2022 5th round pick. It’s clear the Jets are cleaning the house of every piece they can squeeze a pick out of, but for the Steelers, this was a great acquisition for them in their championship run quest.
The Steelers basically stole Williamson based on the price they paid to get him and what makes this trade even better for them, is the fact that it filled a major need for them. After an unfortunate injury – torn ACL – to their young phenom star linebacker Devin Bush ended his season. His injury left a big void in the middle of that defense. For now, they have been playing Robert Spillane in that position, and while he has done much better than expected, he’s not the answer that Pittsburgh needs there. Let’s take a closer look at what this change of scenery means for Williamson and what the Steelers will be getting.
To begin his career, the Tennessee Titans drafted him in the 5th round, 151st selection overall of the 2014 NFL Draft, from the University of Kentucky. Willaimson spent four seasons in Nashville where he played in 63 games, starting 59 of those games. He recorded 376 tackles, 239 solos, 20 tackles for a loss, 21 QB hits, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups. Williamson produced two 100+ tackles seasons and was an excellent run-stopping linebacker during his time with the Titans. Once his rookie contract was up, they let him hit free agency where he was signed by the Jets.
In his first change of scenery for Williamson, the Jets signed him to a three year / $22.5 million deal, with $16 million guaranteed. Williamson had his career-best season in the first year with the Jets playing all 16 games and tallying 120 tackles, 80 solos, six TFLs, three sacks, one interception, and six PBUs. In year two, the expectations were super high, as they signed free agent CJ Mosely to play alongside Williamson, but both suffered injuries and would miss the entire season. Williamson missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL and was up against the start of this season with his recovery. He did start the season and once he got the rust off, he was back to his old self.
New Change of Scenery
The Jets are a crap organization right now, so this is a great change of scenery opportunity for Williamson. He’s a run-stopping machine that can be a jack of all trades linebacker. He is nowhere near as athletic or talented as Bush, but he’s a huge upgrade over Spillane. Williamson will be a reliable veteran playmaker in the middle of the field. Once he gets up to speed, Pittsburgh could have him wearing the dot. On the surface, this is a great trade for Pittsburgh. Keep in mind, it’s a one-year rental. Williamson is in the final year of his current contract and Pittsburgh is in a push for a championship.
Now, what does this change of scenery all this mean? I personally love this for fantasy managers. I feel he’s a great buy now piece if you’re in championship contention. You’re able to buy at a relatively cheap price for a solid high floor return. Williamson will be a high source of tackles. He moves to the AFC North. A division that has some of the NFL’s best RBs. Williamson is averaging eight tackles per game before the trade, however, that could tick up. Williamson has recorded eight or more tackles in five of the seven games. Including two of 10 or more.
An excellent low investment piece that will help your fantasy teams immediately. I would suggest seeing if he’s available for trade and surprisingly he may be available on waivers in some leagues. His best value will come in tackle heavy scoring leagues but I do like him in all IDP formats. In some of the IDP leagues that I play in, he’s scoring comparable to the likes of Fred Warner, Shaq Thompson, and AJ Johnson. As you can see he’s performing as well as some of fantasy’s bigger names. The bonus? He’s available at a cheaper price. It’s little acquisitions like this that can be a championship type move for your fantasy teams.