The New York Giants have a few difficult decisions to make during the 2021 off-season, and a lot of it will revolve around their available cap space. League officials believe the cap could drop as far as $25 million from $200 million to $175 million. This would severely limit the ability to allocate resources toward potentially expensive players. The receiver market is expected to be flush with talent, but the price-points will be lower than usual due to COVID-19 and the financial restrictions it had on the NFL.
I would expect plenty of players to settle for one-year deals, hoping to cash in when the cap rises again in 2022. However, it will take a few months for things to settle down after the conclusion of the 2020 season, but the Giants are in a peculiar situation. They only have 846K in available salary space (Overthecap.com) but expect it to rise exponentially with a multitude of off-season moves.
Kyler Fackrell will come off the books, opening up $4.6 million, Golden Tate will likely be released, saving about $6 million, and Nate Solder could be a June-1 cut, which would save the Giants $10 million. Altogether, they will have a bit of financial flexibility to work with, and they can always structure contracts to hit in the second and third seasons, avoiding the 2021 financial mess.
As owner John Mara and general manager Dave Gettleman stated during their postseason press conference, the offense could use some revitalizing. With Saquon Barkley tearing his ACL in week two against the Chicago Bears, the Giants were forced to utilize a bevy of unproven players. Their only consistent threats were Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, and as we know, Engram couldn’t catch a cold, and Shepard was being matched up against CB1s.
Playmakers being added to the unit is a necessity, and Iâ€™m going to go through multiple scenarios this off-season the Giants can follow. This one revolves around signing a big-time receiver and fantastic offensive weapon in the draft.
How the New York Giants can overhaul the offense: Scenario 1
1.) Let Dalvin Tomlinson walk in FA
Ultimately, the Giants are going to have to make some sacrifices if they want to bolster their offense. Both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson are hitting free agency, and while retaining both would be the best-case scenario, they are going to need money to allocate elsewhere.
Williams played so well in 2020 (11.5 sacks), he wins the new contract over Tomlinson, as the Giants are forced to let him walk and sign elsewhere. This opens up about $10 million to work with, and they look toward the best receiver on the market as an alternative.
2.) Sign Allen Robinson
Ever since Robinson entered the league in 2014, he has been a fantastic receiver. Working with some lackluster quarterbacks, he has posted three seasons with over 1000 yards and has a career-high of 14 touchdowns in 2015. At 27 years old, heâ€™s looking to cash in on a new deal, and considering the numbers he put up with Mitchell Trubisky as his quarterback, things can only get better with Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and a new play-maker in the draft.
Robinson is an expensive commodity, but he completely revitalizes the offense as a true number one wide receiver and is already a proven talent that can fit in like a glove.
3.) Draft TE Kyle Pitts
There will be several options with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, but the Giants elect to give Jason Garrett another weapon to work with. Florida stand-out Kyle Pitts is the selection in this scenario.
He finished the 2020 season with 770 yards and 12 touchdowns over eight games. He is a premier playmaker and a quintessential tight end in the modern-day NFL. Averaging 17.9 yards per catch, he can stretch the field and play in multiple positions, including the â€œXâ€ receiver on the outside. His ability to play in-line, slot, and outside makes him a matchup nightmare.
Adding a player like him with Robinson would completely overhaul the offense and represents a scenario I would buy into in a second.
4.) Gain Saquon Barkley back from injury
Of course, the return of Saquon Barkley is a major factor in the offenseâ€™s elevation. After finishing with 17.5 points per game, most blamed OC Jason Garrett for the team’s woes. Itâ€™s only fair to play devil’s advocate.
Garrettâ€™s scheme was heavily reliant on Barkley, and losing him so early in the season completely changed his entire outlook moving forward. The Giants seemed to feel that Jason can get the job done, and adding all these playmakers, including Barkley, would be a massive upgrade.
Just two years ago, Barkley finished with 2028 yards from scrimmage, including 15 total touchdowns. He is a premier running back, and if he can return to 100% health, this scenario could turn out to be genius.