NEW YORK – Avery Williamson is going from winless to undefeated.
The New York Jets agreed Sunday night to trade the veteran linebacker to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets also are sending a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to the Steelers for Pittsburgh's 2022 fifth-rounder.
The deal, announced by both teams Monday, moves Williamson from the Jets, who are 0-8 after a 35-9 loss at Kansas City, to the 7-0 Steelers, the league's only undefeated team after a 28-24 win at Baltimore.
The 28-year-old Williamson should immediately help the Steelers, who were in need of an experienced inside linebacker after Devin Bush was lost for the season on Oct. 18 with a torn ACL. Pittsburgh has survived without Bush but the run defense was gashed by the Ravens, who piled up 265 yards rushing but were undone by four turnovers by quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Williamson had been the subject of trade rumors during the offseason because of his hefty salary. He was set to make $6 million in base salary this season, but agreed to restructure his deal for this season. Williamson was making $3.5 million with $1 million in guaranteed money, and was scheduled to be a free agent after this season.
It's the latest cost-cutting, draft-pick-gathering move by the Jets and general manager Joe Douglas — with the struggling franchise setting its sights on the future ahead of the NFL's trade deadline on Tuesday.
New York released running back Le'Veon Bell on Oct. 13 after it couldn't find a trade partner. Bell signed a few days later with Kansas City and ran for 7 yards on six carries against his former team Sunday. He also caught three passes for 31 yards.
The Jets traded nose tackle Steve McLendon to Tampa Bay five days later. New York also sent a 2023 seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for the Buccaneers’ sixth-rounder in 2022.