The New York Giants have major questions to address this offseason. Eli Manning taking a pay cut could give the team more flexibility.After three consecutive losing seasons, the New York Giants rebounded with an impressive 11-5 campaign. A vastly improved defense coupled with an offense that did just enough formed a competitive roster. If the Giants want to build on 2016’s success, they’ll have to answer several key questions this offseason.
The Giants should have over $30 million in cap space, but face several imperative tasks. The elephant in the room will be resigning Jason Pierre-Paul. It’s no secret that JPP won’t come cheap this offseason, and having two mammoth contracts at both defensive end positions could handicap the rest of the Giants’ offseason spend, including resigning fellow defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins.
The aforementioned Hankins quietly has been a consistent force in the middle of the Giants’ revamped defense. Playing amongst several stars on the d-line, he often gets overlooked by fans, but isn’t likely to be glossed over by opposing general managers this offseason. Hankins will turn 25 in March with his best days still ahead of him and will be an important assignment for Jerry Reese and company.
Now, consider Eli Manning’s current contract. His $19.7 million cap hit next season (via Spotrac) is a hefty price tag for a team with financial restraints. Now, Manning deserves to be paid like an elite quarterback, and if we’re being realistic, is the least of the Giants’ concerns. However, taking a pay cut could give the front office more flexibility to field a championship roster.
Manning is entering his age 36 season and won’t play forever. While his arm strength still looks adequate and his health remains amongst the best at the position, the often mildly spoken Manning could be best off taking a home-town discount. If he wants an improved offensive line and better weapons to throw to, it might have to come out of his pocket.
It’s obvious the Giants need to address their left tackle position, and whether it be through the draft or free agency, it figures to be a position of investment this offseason. It’s also very possible the Giants could replace Victor Cruz on the outside. Additionally, Keenan Robinson‘s free agency at middle linebacker also creates another hole. Quality doesn’t often come cheaply and each team only has so many draft picks.
If Manning were to restructure, it wouldn’t be the first time a high-profile quarterback did so. Tom Brady notably re-did his deal in January of 2015 knowing the Patriots had a chance to re-sign the likes of Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty and Nate Solder, amongst others.
The Giants are not in rebuild mode any longer and possess a roster that isn’t too far away from making another run deep into the postseason. In order to return to the promised land, the New York Giants must have an offseason that rivals the success of 2016. Whether Manning decides to take a pay cut is unknown. Although, it would give his GM more flexibility while maximizing his chances of gunning for a third Lombardi trophy.