A reunion that was thought to be unlikely with the team’s limited cap space may become a reality for Johnathan Hankins and the New York Giants.
As the free agent defensive tackle pool continues to dry up, one name still remains on the market. New York Giants free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins has yet to sign a deal, despite other players at the position receiving contracts.
While names continue to come off the board, the incumbent Giants’ starter remains available. The Denver Broncos, a team Hankins had been tied too, recently picked up two defensive tackles themselves. Domata Peko and Zach Kerr both got two-year pacts to head to the Mile High City.
The lack of traction on Hankins may indicate the Ohio State product is simply over valuing himself. If Big Hank is holding out for a Damon Harrison type of pay day he won’t see it this offseason.
In 2014, Hankins had a dominant campaign, putting up 51 tackles and seven sacks in 16 games played, but last season his numbers regressed. After missing seven games and landing on the injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle in 2015, he didn’t look like the same player when returning the following year. Hankins played a full 16 game schedule in 2016, but registered only 43 tackles and three sacks.
Teams may be wary of this regression when looking at the possibility of signing him. Though Hankins is only 24-years old and has plenty of time in his athletic prime to return to form, he only has one truly elite season under his belt.
A reunion between Hankins and the Giants may be the best case scenario for both sides. New York wins by bringing their starting defensive tackle back on a one-year “prove it” deal. Meanwhile, Hankins gets to play out his contract year in a system he is familiar and can earn big money in 2018 with a productive season.
When the Giants placed the $17 million franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul a Hankins return seemed highly unlikely. However, as free agency has played out the possibility has grown less and less out of the question, despite the team’s still limited cap space.