Can the New York Giants afford WR Allen Robinson in free agency?

Alexander Wilson
Allen Robinson, New York Giants
Sep 27, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (12) runs against Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee (27) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In a perfect world, the New York Giants would find a way to sign star receiver Allen Robinson during the 2021 free agency period. However, there are many factors at play with the salary cap and the implications of COVID-19. Whether or not the Giants will have enough money to allocate toward a position player is yet to be seen, but they do have plenty of contracts coming off the books that will open up cap space in the near future.

Where will the New York Giants find the money for WR Allen Robinson in free agency?

Current cap (positive): $8.58 million

Golden Tate: $10.85 million cap hit if retained, $6.145 million cap saved if Giants elect to opt-out of contract

Leonard Williams: $16.1 million off the books if team moves on

Kyler Fackrell: One-year deal, $4.6 million off the books

Logan Ryan: One-year deal, $6.55 million off the books

Devonta Freeman: One-year, $1.189 million off the books

Cam Fleming: One-year, $3.43 million off the books

Levine Toilolo: One-year, $3.25 million off the books

TOTAL: $49.8 million in available cap (not including changes in league-mandated cap-space for 2021)

The projection is that the salary cap will shrink from $198.2M to $175M in 2021, which would slash $23 million from the Giants’ approximate $50M in space, leaving them at about $27M.

It’s also fair to mention the re-addition of Nate Solder at tackle, who will have a $16.4 million cap hit next season, bringing the Giants all the way down to about $10.6 million. If the Giants release Solder as a post-June 1 cut, the cap hit is $6.5mm in 2021 & 2022. If the Giants trades Solder, they swallow a $13M cap-hit in 2021. We can expect the team to release him and save about $10M next year.

There are a ton of different factors at play here, and the Giants are going to be cash-strapped, likely relying on the draft to primarily upgrade the team. The salary cap dropping is going to be a huge negative for their efforts to bolster the team and will likely disallow them from pursuing a player like Allen Robinson at wide receiver.

Alternatively, drafting a solid pass-catcher in the 2nd round of the draft seems to be more likely than signing a big-name free agent. As seen against Tampa Bay in week 8, the Giants can be successful with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton – adding Saquon Barkley back into the mix will only be extra.

Nonetheless, Robinson is a stud, having hauled in 50 receptions for 631 yards and three scores. He’s on pace for 1,262 yards and six touchdowns this season, putting him in a  great spot to earn top receiver money on the market. If the Giants can find a loophole and open enough money up for him, he would change the entire course of the offense.