New York Giants decide on Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence’s 5th-year options

daniel jones, new york giants

With the 2022 NFL Draft quickly approaching on Thursday evening, the New York Giants made a decision on the 5th-year options for quarterback Daniel Jones and interior defender Dexter Lawrence.

According to Judy Battista of, the Giants declined the 5th-year option for Jones, who failed to take a step forward last season under the leadership of Joe Judge and Jason Garrett. Jones tossed 10 touchdowns and failed to breach 2,500 yards, a number he reached in both his rookie and sophomore seasons.

With the decision to decline his option, the Giants avoided guaranteeing $22 million to Daniel in 2023, putting the ball in his court to justify an extension or moving on with a clean slate.

Since Jones was a Dave Gettleman selection back in 2019, this was the right choice for new management, who owe no allegiance to the former first-round passer. Nonetheless, new management does believe that Jones has all the tangible trades to become a quality quarterback in the NFL, but his time is quickly running out if he doesn’t take the necessary steps forward. If Jones ends up playing will in 2022, the Giants can offer him an extension well under the projected $35+ million franchise tag, given his small sample size of play. That would be best for both sides, giving him a big pay-day and allowing him to progress under Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka.

Aside from Jones, the Giants picked up the 5th-year option for interior defender Dexter Lawrence, who will now count $10.73 million against the salary cap for the 2023 season.

Given the Giants have upward of $100 million projected for next year, they can easily afford to retain Lawrence, who should take a nice step forward with defensive line coach Andre Patterson coming over from the Minnesota Vikings. Patterson is known for developing Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen into the pass rushers they are today, suggesting that Lawrence could gain a solid bit of knowledge from the veteran coach.

However, Lawrence has also disappointed the past few seasons, but is capable of being an above-average player. Given Wink Martindale requires his front forward to be stout in run defense, Lawrence is a people mover in that area, giving him solid value. While he did show up to camp a bit overweight, you won’t find many humans at 6’4″ and over 340 pounds that move like Dexy.

Report: New York Giants confirm Dexter Lawrence offsides call was botched

new york giants, washington, dustin hopkins

As if the loss against the Washington Football Team couldn’t get any worse, former New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes confirmed with a team source that the offsides called against Dexter Lawrence in the waning moments of the game was botched.

The Giants, who fell 29-30 to Washington to mark their second consecutive loss to start the 2021 season, are now staring a major deficit in the face. Allowing backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke to post 30 points on a top-10 defense from 2020 is quite problematic. Heinicke finished with 336 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He entered the game with three touchdowns in his career, nearly doubling that against a vulnerable Giants unit.

The Giants should’ve never provided kicker Dustin Hopkins with an opportunity to finish off the game, but the offsides called against Lawrence was a mistake, and the Giants will likely be hearing from the league office to tell them as much.

As you can clearly see, Lawrence reacts at the exact moment the long snapper begins his motion, which is entirely legal. Lawrence was, in fact, in an onside position that would’ve resulted in a missed field goal attempt from 46 yards, winning the game for the Giants and sending them to a 1-1 record as they prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons at home next weekend.

This controversial decision sparks an entirely new debate regarding the use of technology in the NFL. Ultimately, having a second look at plays like this must be a necessity, especially when it can change the course of a game and affect a result.

From the angle provided, you can clearly see that Lawrence reacts almost simultaneously with the snapping off the ball, but from a horizontal viewpoint, it confirms that he was onside. The umpiring crew missed several calls in this game, including a roughing the passer penalty on Chase Young that was undeserving and a holding call on a touchdown run by Daniel Jones on receiver CJ Board. If the referees get these calls right, the Giants walk away easily with a victory, which is a serious issue for the NFL.

New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin goes at Joe Judge, Giants players defend coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

Kelvin Benjamin had a chance to revitalize his career as a free agent signing with the New York Giants this offseason, but that’s far from how things actually turned out. The 30 year old wide receiver ended up released, and not only missed out on a chance to play this season but also caused quite a bit of drama on the way out.

It all stems from Benjamin showing up for practice on Wednesday and apparently getting into a dispute with head coach Joe Judge over his weight. The Giants required Benjamin to cut his weight down to 251 pounds, but his weight instead increased slightly since the end of minicamp. But Benjamin claims that others in the team building had previously told him that his weight was fine, and that the weight cut was an impossible request.

“I’m like: ‘I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?’” Benjamin told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday.

He claims that Judge just personally doesn’t like him, and that it led to the confrontation at practice and his release.

“The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up. I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter,” Benjamin said about Judge. He’d also say other things, claiming that Judge’s style won’t win a Super Bowl.

It’s not the first time Judge has been criticized for his style, but some players disagree.

New York Giants defend Joe Judge

Since the incident, several New York Giants players have been active in defending their head coach.

“He’s very intense, but I feel like he prepares us each and every day for the game. That’s his motto. That’s his mindset and it helps and it works. So for us, it gets us excited for practice,” said defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

His sentiment was echoed by cornerback James Bradberry, who has looked like one of the best corners in the league under Judge’s leadership. He spoke with the New York Daily News, and gave his take on the situation.

“It ain’t for everybody. You feel me? He’s entitled to his opinion. I definitely think Coach Judge is tough. But football is tough. There’s a lot of pressure being in our shoes, so I don’t expect him to give us our way all the time,” Bradberry stated. “A tough coach, that’s how you build structure. That’s how you build discipline.”

“It ain’t for everybody, man, ya know? It ain’t for everybody,” Bradberry would add.

It’s a sentiment that seems to follow in the footsteps of two very successful head coaches that Judge has worked under – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both of them have had problems with players over the years due to their strict nature, but have found tremendous success despite their style being deemed ‘not for everyone’ by many former players.

The current Giants roster, at least, seems to be all for Judge’s current style. As do the free agents who joined this offseason, many of whom specifically cited Judge as part of their reason for picking the Giants.

His style may not be for Kelvin Benjamin, but at the very least, it’s working with the group of players the Giants have now.

Coining the New York Giants’ most underrated defensive player

One of the assets the New York Giants gained from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade was the 17th overall pick in 2019. That selection was used on defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, Who has quietly developed into one of the Giants’ most integral pieces on defense.

As a primary run stopper, Lawrence saw his statistics expand last season, posting 53 combined tackles, 10 QB hits, 4.0 sacks, and posted a 3.6% missed tackle rate over 16 games. The craziest part about his statistical output is that he accrued significantly better numbers on nearly 50 fewer snaps compared to his rookie season. That is a clear indication that Lawrence took a big step forward in his game under Patrick Graham, similar to a number of fellow teammates on defense.

The New York Giants are expecting big things from Sexy Dexy:

However, with Dalvin Tomlinson leaving in free agency and signing with Minnesota, Lawrence will be expected to move around the interior, featuring at nose tackle at times but also dominating in the 3-tech. Out of any player in the trenches, Lawrence could be the one with the most potential, despite Leonard Williams posting 11.5 sacks last season. As a 6’4″, 342-pound lineman, he is primed for a breakout season they could land him on the Pro Bowl team.

As one of the most athletic defensive linemen in the NFL, he moves surprisingly quickly for his size, helping him rack up impressive numbers in essential categories at his position. He finished 16th among 85 qualifying defensive tackles in terms of overall grade, per PFF. He ranked 4th among DTs with 33 stops, which constitutes stopping a positive play for the offense.

The Giants are heavily relying on him to lock down one side of the field, as Graham continues to rely on his 3-4 base defense. This upcoming season, though, the Giants will likely utilize a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which operates with three interior defenders, three linebackers, and five defensive backs. This puts a lot of pressure on the interior pass rush to get the job done, but Graham will likely rotate outside linebackers to help aid the pass rush.

Lawrence, though, is one of the low-key talents that makes an impact on every play, whether it be soaking up double teams, allowing his teammates to thrive, or bursting through blockers to force running back’s to make premature decisions. Whether it be the slightest impact, he was quietly one of the Giants’ best players last season, and I fully anticipate he will become a much more flashy player this upcoming campaign.

New York Giants: One big breakout candidate on the defensive line for the 2021 season

One of the New York Giants’ most undervalued players is interior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, who is preparing to enter his third season at 23 years old. The 6’4″, 342-pound defender has proved to be a key cog in the interior for Big Blue alongside Leonard Williams.

Lawrence featured in 60% of defensive snaps last season, 3% less than his rookie season, but saw his statistics increase considerably.

He elevated his tackle totals from 38 to 53, earned 1.5 more sacks, and recorded more quarterback hits in nearly 50 fewer snaps. The statistical elevators are a clear indication of his quality and improvement, and the Giants expect him to be an even more important factor in their defense moving forward.

With Dalvin Tomlinson signing with the Minnesota Vikings this off-season, Lawrence will have to fill multiple roles and ultimately features in several alignments. Lawrence has the capability to play at nose tackle over the center, 3-tech, and 4i. This gives coordinator Patrick Graham plenty of flexibility when it comes to being creative and operating with multiple outside linebackers, and utilizing stunts to confuse offensive linemen.

According to one teammate, Lawrence is a “freak of nature,” and once he gets going, he’s simply impossible to stop.

“Dexter Lawrence is another freak of nature,” Blake Martinez told the New York Post. “He basically is just a little taller, so he kind of looks a little more thinned out. We call him the ‘Juggernaut.’ As in the Marvel Comics character: He pretty much runs through anything and nothing can stop that dude.”

The New York Giants have a unique player in “Big Dexy”:

With his size, most would assume Lawrence is a traditional nose tackle, but he has the quickness and agility of an interior pass rusher that primarily features in the 3-tech, similar to Leonard Williams.

The Giants not only signed a bevy of new pass rushers to add to the interior but also bolster the secondary, signing Adoree Jackson and drafting Aaron Robinson to play a more man-coverage-based scheme. With better corners and an experienced trio of safeties, the defensive line will only benefit from these additions and contributions.

The most valuable part of Lawrence is his ability to create pressure on quarterbacks but also play the run at a high level. According to PFF, Lawrence finished with a 73.1 overall grade last season, securing a 3.8% missed tackle rate, far lower than the 11.6% he posted in 2019.

With the proper coaching and support, the Giants might have one of the best interior defenders in the league blossoming before their eyes, and a full offseason of training and chemistry building should benefit him tremendously.

Despite losing Dalvin Tomlinson, the New York Giants still have a top-tier defensive line

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants improved in many ways during the 2021 offseason. New York landed premium playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. The focus was placed mainly on the offense, but the Giants still invested resources in their defense as well.

The Giants signed Adoree’ Jackson to be their new starting outside cornerback opposite of James Bradberry. They also added talented edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the draft. The Giants also made sure to lock up star defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a long-term deal.

These moves will all be impactful, but they were all quite costly. The Giants had to make a difficult decision and part ways with defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason. Re-signing Dalvin would have made it impossible for the Giants to upgrade the positions that they did in this offseason. However, despite the loss of Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants still have one of the most talented defensive line units in the NFL.

The Giants’ defensive line stats and highlights

Leonard Williams will return in 2021 after nearly hitting the open market this offseason. Big Cat spent the 2020 season on the franchise tag, but the Giants made sure to lock him in long-term after a career-year last season. Leonard Williams posted a career-high 11.5 sacks in his first full season with the Giants. He also made PFF’s list of top 1010 players from the 2020 season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Leonard Williams set a career-high in pressure with 62 combined sacks, hits, and hurries — seven more than his previous best. PFF also points out Leo’s typical run-defending excellence, stating that he had had 30 defensive stops in 2020.

The Giants have their top pass-rusher on the interior with Leonard Williams. But he’s not the only hog molly that can get after the quarterback. Dexter Lawrence has been a solid pass-rushing interior defensive lineman in his first two seasons, and he is only getting better. Sexy Dexy bumped his PFF pass-rush grade from 64.5 as a rookie to 73.2 last season.

Dexter Lawrence recorded 4.0 sacks, 53 combined tackles, and 6 tackles for loss in 2020. At 340 pounds, Lawrence moves quick for a man his size and also does a phenomenal job controlling the line of scrimmage, plugging holes in the run game.

With these two stud defensive lineman returning in 2021, the Giants’ defensive line is in good shape regardless of who mans the nose tackle position that Dalvin Tomlinson left vacant. Regardless, the Giants managed to add solid talent to fill Tomlinson’s shoes.

The Giants signed Danny Shelton this offseason. Shelton has been a solid, consistent run-defending nose tackle his entire career. According to PFF, Danny Shelton graded 69+ overall in 4 straight seasons from 2016-2019 before going to Detroit in 2020.

The loss of Dalvin Tomlinson will be felt on the Giants’ defense as he was a tremendous talent for them since 2017. However, the Giants still have a plethora of talent on the defensive line. The Giants should still have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL with Williams, Lawrence, and Shelton.

New York Giants: Offensive and defensive breakout candidates for 2021

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have made extensive efforts to upgrade their offense while also bolstering the defense this off-season. In free agency alone, they added several players who can help contribute toward a winning season in 2021, including the likes of Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson. With the NFL draft in less than a month, the Giants have more ammo and resources to allocate, which should help some of their individual players improve in the near future.

Take a look at breakout candidates for the New York Giants:

Offensive breakout candidate: Daniel Jones

If there’s any player that desperately needs a breakout season, it is quarterback Daniel Jones. After posting 24 touchdowns in his rookie season, Jones saw that number slash by more than half to just 11 under Jason Garrett. Unfortunately, he didn’t have Saquon Barkley and a plethora of playmakers, but the Giants are looking to give him everything he needs to succeed moving forward.

Adding Golladay, a bonafide wide receiver one, and John Ross, we should expect Jones to play a bit more efficiently. In addition, he will have a healthy Saquon Barkley, and the Giants could use the 11th overall pick on another play-maker.

Ultimately, there is no excuse for Jones not to have a better 2021 performance, and the Giants desperately need to see improvement if they want to commit to him as their franchise quarterback moving forward. Looking at a bit more of his statistical output, Jones is deadly accurate when throwing the ball downfield. I expect the Giants to take a more vertical approach to their offense, which is what sold Golladay on joining Big Blue, and the presence of Ross also suggests a more vertical strategy.

When throwing the ball 20+ yards downfield, Jones threw six touchdowns and zero interceptions, so adding more deep threats is exactly what the Giants set out to do, and they accomplish that goal in free agency.

Defensive breakout candidate: Dexter Lawrence

One player I believe will have a stand-out 2021 season is Dexter Lawrence, and with the absence of Dalvin Tomlinson after signing with the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants need Big Dexy to take a step forward.

Last season, Lawrence finished with 37 tackles, four sacks, and 33 stops. He was one of the most double-teamed interior defenders in the NFL, and with two seasons under his belt, a year-three breakout season should be expected.

I believe his knowledge of Patrick Graham’s scheme and the retention of Leonard Williams should assist in his production, and I think the Giants want to see him take more of a pass rusher role from the 3-tech position, where he can pressure the interior and get after the quarterback adequately.

3 New York Giants players primed to make big jumps in 2021

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants’ defense surprised everybody in 2020, ranking ninth in points allowed per game with 22.3. In rushing yards allowed, they were a top 10 unit but struggled in defending the pass until the second half of the year, ending up average, allowing 237.9 yards.

The injection of essential free agents completely overhauled the unit, along with Leonard Williams, who produced 11.5 sacks. Cornerback James Bradberry, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, had his best season to date, allowing 50+ yards just twice over the course of the entire season. He allowed three touchdowns, two of which came in week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, it was some of the rookies and youngsters that played a significant part, and some fresh faces are primed to take a significant jump in 2021.

Three New York Giants players primed to take big jumps in 2021:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

Lawrence is going into his third season in the NFL, and he took a big jump last year with the Giants. Alongside Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, who both had career seasons, Lawrence nearly doubled his sack totals from 2.5 to 4.0. He also totaled 10 QB hits and six tackles for loss. His combined tackles number went up from 38 to 53 over just 60% of defensive snaps, a decrease of 3%.

Lawrence was double-teamed more than either of his counterparts and ranked near the top of the league in the category as well. He recorded 33 stops, 19 hurries, and just two missed tackles all season long.

With his growth, I expect him to take a nice jump in 2021, especially if the Giants retain both of their interior lineman who are hitting free agency. If all goes well, Dexter is in line to become a staple in the trenches.

2.) Xavier McKinney

Xavier McKinney missed a majority of his rookie season with a fractured foot which occurred during training camp. However, he returned in the second half of the year to post some quality numbers to finish the season.

In week 17 against Dallas, he recorded eight combined tackles, one tackle for a loss, one pass defended, and one interception. He was all over the field making plays, at one point bursting through a TE to take down CeeDee Lamb in the backfield. With that impressive performance, the Giants must feel confident he can take a step forward in 2021.

Based on the fact that McKinney came from a pro-style defense with Alabama, his transition to the NFL was never expected to take long. It seemed as if he finally settled down against Dallas to finish the campaign, so I expect that to translate over to next year.

3.) Darnay Holmes

While rookie slot corner Darnay Holmes suffered through m injuries as well, he didn’t allow a touchdown the entire season, the only starting rookie corner to do so.

In addition, he allowed 30 yards or less in six appearances but did have some struggles toward the end of the campaign. A lingering injury hurt his efficiency, posting four penalties in his last four starts. With a superior mentality and NFL genetics, Holmes has the ability to become a stellar corner in the NFL, but he must remain healthy moving forward.

New York Giants: One pair of defenders is excelling in PFF statistics

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

While the season has been a mixed bag so far for the New York Giants, some players on defense have definitely flourished under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Some of these players were on the roster last season but have stepped their game up with a different system and better coaching. Others are new arrivals who have made an instant impact and helped the Giants turn it around over the past couple of weeks.

Two players in specific are worth praising as they’ve made themselves stand out on the field and in the statistics columns.

Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence came into the league at the same time as Daniel Jones and is already on his second defensive coordinator in the second year of his career. But it looks like Graham is bringing out better things in him than James Bettcher. He’s already set to surpass his statistics from his rookie season. He had 38 combined tackles after playing in every game last year. This year, after only playing in 10 games so far, he already has 33.

Lawrence already has more tackles for a loss than he had last year, and only three less quarterback hits. And when it comes to PFF grade, which accounts for a number of factors, Lawrence is currently one of the highest rated sophomore defenders.

The Giants picked up Lawrence in the draft not long after moving on from Damon Harrison and it looks like they made the right choice. Harrison had the worst statistical season of his career after leaving the Giants, and has already changed teams to the Seahawks. Lawrence, on the other hand, still looks like he has room to move up.

James Bradberry

The signing of James Bradberry was met with varying reactions from interest to skepticism, after the Giants brought in the former Carolina corner to replace Janoris Jenkins. The Giants have missed at evaluating cornerbacks a number of times in recent memory. If you want proof of that, just look at their results after drafting Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker in the first round. Even when they brought in Janoris Jenkins, the Giants found a corner that was effective but would ultimately talk himself off the team with his attitude.

But those situations haven’t repeated themselves with James Bradberry. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Bradberry looks like the most likely player on the Giants defense to make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team and has been worth the money so far. He has 3 interceptions so far, tying his career record, and also has 14 passes defended.

According to PFF, he leads the league this season when it comes to forced incompletions.

With six games left in the season still, there’s room for both Bradberry and Lawrence to further improve in their statistics. And it looks like both players are on pace for career highs in some of the most important areas. The Giants haven’t hit every time they’ve taken a swing at acquiring players. But this season, it does seem they have more hits than usual. Especially on defense, where the rebuilding process is finally showing some result.

New York Giants: Silver Linings From Week One vs Pittsburgh

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants suffered a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last night. After getting off to a good start, the Giants squandered their lead and ultimately lost the game by two possessions. The final score was 26-16.

Despite this loss, there was plenty to like about the Giants’ performance in Week One. Some Solid performances on both sides of the football can encourage Giants fans heading into the second week of the season.

The Silver Linings

Daniel Jones

The Giants’ second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones, played a great game on Monday night. However, he did turn the ball over twice, and it cost the Giants big-time. But outside of those two turnovers, Jones was impressive as can be in Week One.

The Steelers possess one of the best defenses in the NFL. Their run-defense and pass-rush were elite last night. The Steelers held Saquon Barkley to 6 rushing yards and pressured Daniel Jones on 26 of his passing attempts. Jones was pressured 6 times more than any other quarterback in the NFL in Week One.

Despite having pressure in his face constantly, and despite not having a solid run game to rely on, Daniel Jones stood in the pocket and made some of the best throws of his career. Jones totaled 279 yards and 2 touchdown passes on 26 attempts.

Jones was particularly good when targeting the middle of the field. When targeting the middle, Jones completed 13 of his 15 passing attempts for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones was also superb on third down and carried the Giants’ offense at times. If Jones can continue to play at this level while keeping the turnovers down and receiving more help from his offensive line, 2020 could be the year Jones establishes himself as a franchise quarterback.

The Front Seven

The Giants enjoyed multiple impressive performances in their front seven. No one was more impressive than newly-signed inside linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez recorded 11 tackles (tied for the most of all linebackers in Week One) en route to an 83.9 overall grade by Pro Football Focus. Blake Martinez played like one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Week One.

Lorenzo Carter also had one of the best games of his career on Monday night. Carter recorded 3 pressures, nearly had a sack, and earned an 81.5 overall PFF grade this week. His 3 pressures were tied for the team lead along with Leonard Williams, another player who had an impressive performance.

Leonard Williams recorded a sack and 3 pressures in Week One. Another interior defensive lineman also recorded a sack, though. Dexter Lawrence, the big hog molly out of Clemson started his second season off on the right track, earning a sack in an impressive performance.

The Giants’ defense was most impressive in Week One. The front seven was excellent, seeing multiple players have some of the best individual performances of their careers. This was especially important as the defensive secondary struggled to contain Ben Roethlisberger and his playmakers. The Giants will want to see their front seven build off of an impressive performance in Week Two, while also hoping to see some improvement from their young and inexperienced secondary.