The New York Giants have several difficult decisions to make this off-season, especially regarding free agents and the retention of several key players. Ranging from Dalvin Tomlinson to Leonard Williams, the Giants need to find ways to allocate their money, especially with the offense in need of serious upgrades.
Ultimately, retaining Williams and Thomas should be a priority, since their defensive line is the most integral part of the unit and a solidified foundation. However, the Giants are currently $3 million over the cap, indicating they don’t have too much money to spend this off-season unless they get creative.
Essentially, the salary cap is fluid, but depending on how well Kevin Abrams can manipulate it, the Giants could either be strapped for cash or make aspiring playoff moves. During John Mara’s postseason press conference, he guaranteed that they would be looking to bolster the offense this off-season, so we need to hold him to that promise.
Whether they do it through free agency or the 2021 NFL draft has yet to be seen, but expect them to make a run at a receiver, whether it be Curtis Samuel or a premium draft pick with the 11th overall selection.
I do want to take a look at several options the Giants do have in free agency and how they can allocate their available funds.
Reviewing three free-agent scenarios for the New York Giants:
1.) Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, low-tier WR
Ideally, the Giants will be able to keep Williams and Tomlinson, who combined for 15 total sacks this past season. They’re a dynamic duo and a major reason the defense was able to hold it together last year, putting together a top-10 run defense and a middling pass defense.
Continuity is the most important thing in the trenches, so making the decision to keep both of these big interior lineman would be a positive move for a coordinator Patrick Graham. It would, however, strap them of cash to acquire a premium receiving threat. You can kiss a WR1 goodbye in FA, but they could look to the draft supplement their needs — nothing is guaranteed since prospects aren’t proven players in the NFL.
2.) Leonard Williams, mid-tier WR
Retaining Leonard Williams and signing a mid-tier receiver seems like a more beneficial option. Personally, if the Giants kept their top pass rusher and signed a player like Curtis Samuel, not only with the defense likely survive this off-season with minimal regression, but the offense would also add a player capable of being extremely productive. Samuel thrives as a gadget player and short/intermediate route runner. In Jason Garrett’s scheme, we can estimate that Samuel be would be utilized in the 0-10 yard range heavily, as he caught 21 of 22 passes ranging from the LOS (line of scrimmage) to 10 yards deep.
Samuel finish the 2020 season with an 82.8% catch rate, which ranks at the top of the NFL among receivers with at least 81 targets, per PFF. Ultimately, he is a consistent threat that would pair well with Saquon Barkley, considering he is a former running back that has the ability to play in that role. He would also be cheaper than sign in Kenny Golladay or Alan Robinson, who are both expected to be franchise tagged.
3.) Dalvin Tomlinson, upper-tier WR
Alternatively, the Giants could retain Tomlinson and target Robinson or Golladay in free agency. They would lose their top pass rusher but retain an elite run stopper that was double-teamed frequently.
Tomlinson has always been a consistent player, gradually improving over the last four years and never missing a game due to injury. He’s a player they would feel confident investing in, but his lack of pass rush and nose tackle specific playstyle limits his upside. Williams is only 26 years old and could end up being even more productive, so spending a bit more and settling on a mid-tier receiver like Curtis Samuel would likely be a better move.