Could the Giants make a blockbuster free agent signing at WR this offseason?

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) catches a pass against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will be looking to add playmakers to their lineup this offseason and there will be no shortage of wide receivers for them to target both in the draft and free agency. While drafting a wide receiver in the first round could be an exciting way to add some young talent to the offense, free agency would be the way to bring some experience to the lineup.

Pro Football Focus recently listed the Giants as a top landing spot for WR Michael Pittman Jr. of the Indianapolis Colts. Pittman is considered one of the top players in this year’s free agency and would be a blockbuster acquisition for the G-Men. But is this a move they could realistically pull off?

Giants listed as a top landing spot for Michael Pittman Jr.

PFF’s Brad Spielberger recently listed the Giants as one of the three top landing spots for Pittman in free agency:

“New York traded a third-round pick for tight end Darren Waller last offseason, but that experiment may already be a failure as he struggles to manage a nerve issue with his hamstring,” Spielberger wrote. “The Giants have plenty of speed and slot receivers, please get Daniel Jones a big target on the outside.”

Pittman is PFF’s No. 11 ranked free agent entering this offseason. They have him ranked as the second-best wide receiver set to be available behind only Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals.

What would Pittman bring to the Giants?

Pittman is a physical, 6-foot-4, 223-pound wideout who has topped 1,000 receiving yards in two of his four career seasons. He’s crossed the 900-yard threshold and put up at least four touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.

In 2023, Pittman totaled career-highs in receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,152) while also adding four touchdowns to the scoreboard. Throughout his four-year NFL career, Pittman has developed into a marquee receiving threat and has proven to be a true No. 1 wide receiver in the Colts’ offense. He could bring size, dependability, and explosion to the Giants’ receiving corps which currently lacks all three attributes.

Could the Giants afford to sign Pittman?

One hurdle to acquiring Pittman, however, will be his price tag. He has a projected market value of $22.7 million in average annual salary with an estimated contract worth $90.8 million across four years, per Spotrac.

Fitting a contract like that under the books would be quite the challenge for the Giants who currently have just $14 million in effective salary cap space to spend (effective cap space is the cap space a team will have after signing at least 51 players and its projected rookie class to its roster).

In order to sign Pittman, general manager Joe Schoen would need to get some big contracts off the books; namely Darren Waller, Mark Glowinski, and Darius Slayton, just to name a few. Then there would need to be some restructurings of major deals to free up additional cap space. And Pittman’s contract would need to be back-loaded, creating some massive cap hits for the front office to worry about down the line in future seasons.

Signing Pittman may not prove to be the most financially responsible decision. While he would bring game-changing talent to the Giants’ offense, the team’s lack of salary cap space this offseason is going to hinder their ability to shop at the top of the market. This will likely cause the Giants to ultimately miss out on Pittman despite him being a perfect fit for the team.

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