FLORHAM PARK, N.J — Quinnen Williams’ teammates called him “Big Money” after the rookie signed his contract Friday. Now Williams is ready to show he can make a big impact.
The Jets’ first-round pick will put on the pads Saturday and take part in his first training camp practice. He missed Thursday’s first practice because of a contract dispute, and coach Adam Gase decided to hold him out Friday. But a lighter and stronger Williams is raring to go.
“I’m super-excited,” he said. “I was just fidgeting on the sideline, like, ‘I know what to do on this play, I know what to do.’ I was just really taking all mental reps on the sideline, getting ready for tomorrow.”
Williams, the No. 3 pick, reached a four-year deal worth $32.5 million with the Jets on Thursday, including a $21.7 million signing bonus. The holdup was related to the payment of the signing bonus. A quarter of it will be deferred to Year 2.
Now that that’s out of the way, Williams can focus on getting ready for the season. The former standout Alabama defensive tackle already is off to a good start.
The 6-3 Williams had been working out feverishly at Alabama and at Georgia Tech. He said he was keeping busy, spending up to 18 hours a day training, getting massages, sitting in hot tubs and cold tubs and saunas, stretching — doing whatever he could to make sure he was ready for his first NFL training camp.
Williams lost 10 pounds and currently weighs 295.
“I’m in great shape right now,” he said. “I trimmed my body down a lot. I’m ready to perform. I feel I’m way better than I was in college. I feel like I’m way stronger, way faster and way more flexible because of a lot of different things that the veterans taught me.”
Williams did most of his training by himself. He said he wasn’t going to spend any money on a personal trainer or special coach to get him ready. He bought new track cleats and ran because he saw receiver DeSean Jackson doing it.
“I don’t really have to go pay a superstar or super performance dude,” Williams said. “I can just YouTube and just do it. I did YouTube a lot. I did a lot of the stuff we do here over and over. I did a lot of conditioning or I ran track a lot. I seen DeSean Jackson run all the time so I got me some track cleats and started running track. They got me in great shape.”
Gase used the word “crush” to describe how Williams performed on the conditioning test.
Gase also raved about how smart Williams is and how quickly he picks things up. It didn’t surprise Gase that he already knew the plays.
“He’s a quick study,” he said. “His football intelligence is off the charts.”
Williams played nose tackle in college and was voted top interior lineman last year. Gase said he will play “all over the place” on the line in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ system.
Gase also believes that Williams can play anywhere because of his combination of skill and smarts.
“He’s in the backfield a lot,” he said. “He’s a good player. That [intelligence] just helps him get another extra step outside of his athletic ability. You look at the guys that have a lot of success like Aaron Donald, he is smart and he’s a freak athletically. You put those two things together, it makes it tough to stop.”
Gase said Williams still has a lot to learn, but all indications are he will pick things up quickly. Williams is just happy that he doesn’t have to worry about his contract anymore and that he can get ready for his first NFL season with his team.
“It was a huge relief just to be back with my bros, be back with the team, be back in New York/New Jersey,” Williams said. “It’s just an amazing feeling to get everything done and situated so I can focus on football.”