Giants’ top offensive line target is looking for ‘tackle’ money

New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu (71) (New York Giants free agency target) lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Gillette Stadium
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are expected to search for free-agent offensive line support actively. Considering they’ve spent multiple drafts addressing the line in recent years, the hope is that new coach Carmen Bricillo can provide better leadership and developmental progress to some of the team’s younger talent.

Notably, John Michael-Schmitz, Evan Neal, Josh Ezeudu, and Marcus McKethan could all use significant growth. However, general manager Joe Schoen is still keen on adding talent to the line, and New England Patriots star Mike Onwenu makes perfect sense.

Onwenu is only 26 years old and is coming off a solid season with the Patriots, with 850 snaps. He has played a minimum of 658 snaps over four seasons in the NFL, putting together some elite grades at right guard and right tackle. This past campaign, he played 656 at right tackle and 194 at right guard, giving up a combined 23 pressures and three sacks. Considering he was on one of the worst teams in football, he still managed to fight through adversity and put together strong performances.

READ MORE: Giants reportedly eyeing Saquon Barkley replacements in free agency

The Giants Will Have to Splash the cash for Onwenu

According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Onwenu is was looking for tackle money, despite having near an even split at the two positions in terms of overall snap count — he could be in line to earn $20 million per season, if not more. The Giants have $38.3 million available in salary space but can open up an additional $25 million in case of emergencies by restructuring Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence’s contracts.

Of course, Schoen would like to withhold from restructuring any deals, but it may be impossible to avoid it with Daniel Jones’s cap hit dragging their available cap space down. The likely scenario is the Giants will take the out in Jones’s dealnext off-season, saving a maximum of $30 million and looking to reinforce the team elsewhere. This would assume the Giants have an heir to the throne already in place, who they kind find in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Nonetheless, Onwenu will have a robust market and the Giants will certainly need to pay up to acquire up, but with little money invested in the trenches, the team needs to start investing more at essential positions. Having one of the worst offensive lines in football for a decade straight should be a problem the front office needs to fix now — another year at the bottom of the barrel would be a fireable offense.

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