The New York Giants have seen their salary cap space expand recently. The team had three players officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns, freeing up plenty of money for Big Blue. Nate Solder, Sam Beal, and Damari Scott were the three players who opted out.
Now, according to Field Yates of ESPN, the Giants have the twelfth-most salary cap space in the NFL post-opt-outs. New York is sitting with $21,441,129 in cap space available. That is a considerable amount of money, but Joe Judge made it clear this week that the Giants “don’t feel like [they] have money burning a hole in [their] pocket.”
Joe Judge indicated that the team was not planning on spending this money. But that was before DeAndre Baker’s prosecution became official and before Sam Beal opted out of the season. The Giants have a huge hole to fill at cornerback and they might be wise to reach into their pocket in order to fill that hole.
Why Should They Spend It?
If the Giants spend this money, they need to get a player in a serious position of need. The biggest weaknesses on this roster are at center and cornerback. But the Giants seem content with what they have at the center position, preparing Nick Gates to compete with Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux for that job.
The Giants have a few young guys at cornerback that could fill the role, but their inexperience could lead to a season full of struggles. Last year, the Giants rolled into the season with a young stable of defensive backs. Week after week, the team’s secondary was torn to shreds. The Giants would be wise to sign another veteran cornerback to their roster for the 2020 season.
There are some notable veteran cornerbacks available on the free-agent market. The biggest name is Logan Ryan, a former New England Patriot and Tennessee Titan. Ryan’s time spent in New England gives him a connection to Joe Judge. Other notable free-agent cornerbacks include Ross Cockrell (formerly of the Giants and then the Panthers, giving him a connection to James Bradberry), and Dre Kirkpatrick.
If the Giants were to sign Logan Ryan, he could provide a huge boost to the team’s defense. Ryan totaled 13 combined tackles, 8 quarterback hits, 18 passes defended, 4.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions. His sack total would have ranked second on the Giants in 2019. Ryan is versatile with the ability to play in the slot or outside. More importantly, Ryan has experience, something the Giants’ defense lacks.
Why Shouldn’t They Spent It?
If the Giants decide to pursue a player like Logan Ryan, he will not come cheap. Ryan is asking for over $10 million, which would just about cut their cap space in half. The Giants could hold onto their money and allow it to roll over into 2021.
New York also needs to get its younger players more experience. Signing a veteran cornerback would take valuable snaps and playing time away from younger guys, such as Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Darnay Holmes. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through experience. Failure can be a great teacher (see Dagobah scene in Empire Strikes Back).
These young defensive backs have plenty to learn, and much of it can only be learned on an NFL football field going against the toughest competition. These young guys are the future of the Giants’ defense. Getting them the live experience now will help them develop in the long run. After all, the Giants are a rebuilding team with plenty of young players. It might not be in the best interest of a rebuilding team to spend significant money on a 29-year-old cornerback.