The New York Giants have a busy off-season ahead of them, especially with the extensions of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley waiting in the wings. Jones’s price tag seems to be increasing every day, with Connor Hughes of SNY reporting that it could reach upward of $35–37 million per season.
The Giants have two different numbers regarding their salary space, one before extending Jones and Barkley and one after. In all likelihood, their available cap space this off-season will be completely tied up, but they will have cash to invest in 2024 and beyond.
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The New York Giants have some money, but not much:
Currently, Big Blue has approximately $47.5 million in available salary space. That is without the extensions of Jones, Barkley, and Julian Love. However, they could clear even more cap space by cutting Kenny Golladay and Leonard Williams.
Golladay will save the team $6.7 million and is all but guaranteed to depart this off-season, but Williams is a bit different. The veteran defensive lineman has already suggested he may be willing to accept a pay cut to stick around — the team would save $12 million by cutting him. If they want to save $18 million, they can release him post-June 1, which would push the additional $6 million in savings into the future, which isn’t exactly ideal. General manager Joe Schoen is trying to open up money down the road, not keep kicking it.
Let’s assume the Giants have about $55 million since Golladay is almost guaranteed to leave. If they pay Jones $35 million per season, they’re already reduced to about $20 million, not factoring in structuring the contract in a way that would push money into the future. In all likelihood, they will structure Jones’s contract so that the first year doesn’t hold a significant cap hit, instead guaranteeing more money.
If the New York Giants manage to keep his salary hit down to about $20 million, that leaves them with about $30 million to spend, and that is not even including Saquon’s deal, which could end up paying him $13 million per season if the Giants are lucky. They could hit him with the franchise tag, which is $10.1 million this year for running backs. There’s also a chance they let him walk in free agency if he’s asking for too much since his representatives have already declined a $12 million AAV extension.
Looking ahead to 2024, the Giants have about $180 million available, but that will come down with Jones, Barkley, and Dexter Lawrence receiving new deals. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Andrew Thomas get a big deal, considering he’s entering his fourth season. The Giants do have his fifth-year option to pick up, but that will be a high number (projected $21.2M).
The Giants likely have one more year of cash-strapped strategy to work around, given the extensions on the docket. However, they have plenty of financial freedom in the future, and they would prefer to build through the draft anyway instead of supplementing weak spots with free agents.
We’ve seen what big spending sprees can do to a roster, courtesy of Dave Gettleman and Jerry Reese over the past decade. Both tried to work around poor drafting, which ultimately failed.
Retaining your own, investing in culture, and relying on good coaching is a much more efficient strategy than overspending on mercenaries. The Giants have an opportunity to reset the clock and do things the right way. Finally, they have leadership that understands what needs to be done.