The New York Giants have some key players set to become free agents this offseason. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are the biggest names receiving the most attention for their contract negotiations. The lesser discussed impending free agent, however, is defensive captain Julian Love. The Giants’ safety is set to become a free agent and could cash in on a solid payday in free agency. Big Blue will need to decide whether or not they want to retain the starting safety.
Should the Giants extend Julian Love?
Julian love was a fourth-round draft pick by the Giants in 2019. Since then, he has started 32 career games for Big Blue including 16 games this season. This was Love’s first season as a full-time starter and defensive captain.
Julian Love posted career-highs with two interceptions, six tackles for loss, one sack, and a team-leading 124 combined tackles. Love has been a consistent, dependable player for the Giants’ defense, taking on an expanded role this season with a slew of injuries decimating the Giants’ secondary.
Not only is Julian Love dependable, but he is also extremely versatile. According to PFF, lined up everywhere, with 271 snaps down in the box, 154 in the slot, and 494 at free safety. PFF described him as a “Swiss Army Knife on the backend who rarely misses a tackle” and labeled Love one free agent the Giants can’t afford to lose. Among 43 safeties with at least 150 tackles over the past three seasons, Love’s 13 missed tackles are the second-fewest, per PFF.
Julian Love and the New York Giants did briefly begin contract negotiations during the team’s bye week this season. “There was some movement,” Love said to the New York Post. “We left off in a better position at the end of the bye week.”
“I hope it doesn’t get that far, but you never know,” Love said of gauging his value among teams during free agency. The Giants’ safety hopes to re-sign with the team, but he made it clear that he will not be taking a discount to make that happen, as Love is looking to “secure generational wealth” for his family.
“I think I had a huge impact on this team this year, not just with play but with who I am as a person. I was the level-headed person this locker room needed at times. … Everyone put their ego to the side — some guys had the ego — but it all meshed together in a cohesive way.”Julian Love via The New York Post
The Giants are projected to begin the offseason with the third-most cap space in the NFL, around $53 million. That money is sure to dry up quickly, however, with new contracts needing to be handed out to the likes of Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and potentially Dexter Lawrence and Julian Love. According to Spotrac, Julian Love has a market value of $7.9 million average annual value, projecting a five-year deal worth $39 million. The Giants will need to determine whether Julian Love is worth extending or if their money could be better allocated elsewhere.