Giants cut significants costs in the secondary in favor of youth

Oct 22, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) celebrates after an interception against the Washington Commanders during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants‘ defense is facing significant changes at the start of the 2024 regular season following the departure of several key players. The secondary in particular has seen substantial turnover, with Deonte Banks remaining the primary mainstay at cornerback. The team drafted a new free safety and anticipates a competitive battle for the second cornerback position.

Xavier McKinney departed in free agency, signing a four-year, $67 million deal with the Green Bay Packers, which includes $23 million guaranteed at signing. Green Bay’s contract has a potential exit after the 2024 season despite a $17.25 million dead cap hit. With a cap hit of $7.8 million this coming season that escalates to $17.6 million, the Packers might choose to cut costs after 2024.

Giants’ Strategic Shifts in the Secondary

General Manager Joe Schoen opted for a more budget-friendly approach by drafting Tyler Nubin from Minnesota, aiming to mitigate the loss of McKinney. While Nubin lacks NFL experience and may see a drop-off in immediate productivity, his strong leadership and ball skills at Minnesota suggest he could offset some of McKinney’s attributes.

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Credit: Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

Moreover, with Adoree’ Jackson also leaving in free agency, the Giants’ cornerback group is thin, turning to developmental players to fill the void. Cor’Dale Flott, Nick McCloud, and Tre Hawkins are all contenders for the CB2 role alongside Banks. The Giants also drafted Andru Phillips from Kentucky in the third round, who shows promise to potentially secure the slot cornerback position.

These changes have saved the Giants over $20 million, funds which have been redirected to strengthen the defensive line, notably through the acquisition of Brian Burns. With these shifts, the Giants’ defensive strategy will rely heavily on a robust pass rush and a young, less experienced secondary to hold the line.

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