Giants playing with fire as star safety’s contract extension is put out of mind

new york giants, xavier mckinney
New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney (29) holds up at the ball at the end of the game of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The New York Giants defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-17. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jki 102322 Giants Jags Cp 19 Syndication Florida Times Union

The New York Giants have made some major moves this off-season, locking in core players like Andrew Thomas, Daniel Jones, and Dexter Lawrence with lucrative extensions. However, other pivotal players like Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney are still awaiting their own contract renewals.

Xavier McKinney’s Social Media Discontent: Is He Worth a Payday?

McKinney has been vocal about his vague dissatisfaction on social media, raising questions about his value to the team. Last season, he missed a substantial chunk of games—Weeks 9 to 16—due to fractured fingers incurred during the BYE week.

McKinney’s Performance: A Look at the Stats

Over his three-season stint with the Giants, McKinney has put up impressive numbers. In the previous year alone, he amassed nine pressures, two sacks, 42 tackles, and 12 stops, along with a low missed tackle rate of 6.6%. Despite giving up 220 yards and three touchdowns in coverage, he managed four pass break-ups. Though he didn’t snag an interception last year, he did have five to his name in 2021, proving his potential as an elite ball hawk.

Giants’ Stance on McKinney: No Immediate Extension in Sight

For now, General Manager Joe Schoen has indicated that there are no plans to extend McKinney’s contract during the 2023 season. “I won’t say we won’t do it, but we have nothing on the docket right now,” Schoen said. The reluctance is understandable; the GM wants to see consistent performance before committing to a substantial payday.

Market Comparison: Where Does McKinney Stand?

Currently, the safety market is dominated by top earners like Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Jamal Adams, who pull in between $17.5-19 million annually. Those figures don’t quite align with McKinney’s current performance level. A more realistic estimate for him would fall in the $12-13 million range per season.

What McKinney Must Prove in 2023

McKinney, who is only 25, has a pivotal season ahead of him. To command top-tier money, he’ll need to demonstrate his value by creating turnovers and maintaining his health throughout the season.

Financial Strategy: Giants’ Available Cap Space and Upcoming Decisions

While the Giants have approximately $60.7 million in available cap space for next year, they also face the impending free agency of impact players like Adoree Jackson and Leonard Williams. Decisions about their future will need to be made, impacting the available budget for other extensions.

Looking Ahead: Future Options for the Safety Position

Should McKinney perform exceptionally well in the upcoming season, an extension at the midway point is possible. However, the Giants also have the option of utilizing the 2024 NFL Draft to fill the free safety role at a more economical price. Ultimately, the ball is in McKinney’s court; he needs to prove that he is irreplaceable, a status he’s yet to achieve.

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