When the New York Giants traded veteran defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this week, speculation arose that the team might continue offloading players with expiring contracts. Contrary to some predictions, the Giants retained starting free safety Xavier McKinney, even after opting not to extend his contract this past offseason.
McKinney’s Reaction to Williams Trade
McKinney openly expressed his disappointment over Williams’s departure, emphasizing the value Williams brought as both a leader and a skilled player.
“I hate it,” said safety and team captain Xavier McKinney. “He was a leader and a captain for our team, he’s a guy that we all respect as a player and a person. He’s going to be missed.”
Williams was well-regarded within the team, consistently performing at a high level without complaints despite the Giants’ lackluster seasons.
Giants’ Rebuild and Trade Outcomes
In a shrewd move by General Manager Joe Schoen, the Giants secured a better trade deal than what the team initially offered to the New York Jets years prior. Acquiring a second-round pick in 2024 and a fifth-round pick in 2025 allows the Giants multiple avenues to advance their rebuilding process.
However, McKinney criticized the front office’s decision, suggesting it reflects a focus on future prospects over immediate success.
“Yeah, I don’t got much comment on that, but it sucks to lose a guy of his caliber,’’ he said. “I thought that our mindset as a team was to win right now, not future stuff, but I guess that’s not what they saw. We’ve just got to keep fighting and try to stack wins. That’s all we can do. We’re never going to give up on a season.”
Potential Roster Moves and Team Strategy
While the Giants could have unloaded several key players such as Williams, McKinney, Adoree Jackson, and even Saquon Barkley, they ultimately only parted ways with Williams after receiving an irresistible offer. The team is now potentially considering extending McKinney, who is performing well, albeit not yet at a star level.
McKinney’s desire for a significant salary increase, which the Giants were not willing to provide in 2022, may hint at the team’s intention to release him rather than secure a long-term deal at the safety position.
Offensive Struggles and Upcoming Games
Despite the defense’s solid performance, the Giants’ offense has been struggling, ranking among the lowest in the league. Quarterback Daniel Jones is set to return from a neck injury for the upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins.
Optimism surrounds the potential starts of Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal against the Las Vegas Raiders. These high-profile players rejoining the lineup give the team hope, but with so much to prove, the Giants may still be considering drafting another quarterback in 2024.