Several New York Giants players could end up playing for a new contract throughout the upcoming 2020 campaign.
This offseason, the New York Giants will have a great deal of cash on hand. Over $61 million to be exact. Free agency is where a huge part of it will be spent, as Big Blue possesses a number of holes to fill. If they don’t solve the respective issues through the draft, the Giants could look to the market for an inside linebacker, pass-rusher, cornerback, offensive lineman, or even a backup quarterback for Daniel Jones.
The list of needs includes but isn’t limited to the aforementioned positions.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Giants do with the cap space and whom they ultimately sign. But what will also be intriguing is how they spend their money the following offseason. Numerous players are heading into the 2020 campaign either on the last or second-to-last year of their deals. Therefore, each of these players could be playing for a new contract once the upcoming season begins.
That being said, let’s take a look at seven Giants players who could be fighting for their financial futures in 2020.
In my opinion, it’s a done deal; the Giants will look to extend running back Saquon Barkley. The Penn State product is entering his third season having established himself as one of the league’s best at the position.
It’ll come down to a matter of how much money the Giants will be willing to spend on him. Saquon will, without a doubt, be looking for an extremely significant payday and will use Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s deal as a reference point. Zeke just signed a six-year, $90 million contract prior to the 2019 campaign.
Will the Giants pay him the amount he’s going to truly desire? It’s tough to determine at this point. After a sensational rookie year in which he led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards, his health slowed him down in 2019. Barkley missed three games due to a high ankle sprain and barely cracked the 1,000-yard rushing mark (1,003 yards and six touchdowns).
If another injury-prone season arises for Saquon, maybe the Giants will pull back on the amount of cash they thought they’d originally be giving him.
At the moment, Barkley is on a four-year deal (with a fifth-year option) worth over $31 million, and he’ll likely be reluctant to enter the final year of the contract (2021) without having signed an extension. This upcoming campaign will decide a lot for the young back.
Tight end Rhett Ellison is entering the final year of the four-year, $18 million deal he signed with the Giants prior to the 2017 campaign. In 2020, his contract will include a cap hit of nearly $7.2 million and a cash payout of $5 million.
He’s not a No. 1 tight end on this team. He’s proven to be a reliable asset when it comes to run-blocking and is a productive complement when Evan Engram is healthy.
In 2019, Ellison caught 18 balls for 167 yards and one score. The year prior, he racked up 25 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown. They’re not the most prolific statistics for a tight end, but the Giants aren’t asking that much from him.
So if he’s reliable and has helped the Giants out in numerous ways, why wouldn’t they re-sign him?
Well, for one, the Giants could have a very productive tight end duo brewing in Engram and 22-year-old Kaden Smith.
If Engram can stay healthy (missed eight games last season), then Jones could have multiple options at that position for years to come. Smith — who caught 31 balls for 268 yards and three touchdowns in nine games last year — may be a phenomenal No. 2 behind Engram if he keeps improving.
Those two tight ends producing for this offense could mean the Giants won’t have a spot for Ellison on the roster. But if they do end up wanting Rhett back for 2021, expect a two-year, $8-10 million deal to come his way (I’m spitballing).
Speaking of tight ends, let’s talk about the one who’s versatile, athletic, but just can’t stay out of the medical tent. When healthy, Evan Engram is an extremely talented option and could be great for Jones in his early years. But when you look at the trio of years Engram has been in the league, you notice he’s missed nearly an entire season.
He missed one game his rookie year, five his sophomore campaign, and eight this past year for a total of 14 matchups on the sideline.
In his inaugural pro season, the Giants and their fans thought they had their guy at this position for years to come. The then-first-round pick out of Ole Miss caught 64 balls for 722 yards and six touchdowns that year. But now, the organization may not be so sure of his future in blue, which is why this season will be huge for him.
If the same issues present themselves for Engram, the Giants will be reluctant to give him a new deal. The new season will be the final year of his four-year contract, with a fifth-year option included. If anything, the Giants would possibly pick up that option and wait to see if Engram is worth the investment.
All-in-all, Engram will want a big payday. It’s just a matter of that being feasible.
The 27-year-old pass-rusher is entering the final year of a three-year, $15 million deal and will really need to prove himself in 2020. He sat out much of the 2019 campaign, racking up just six total tackles and one tackle for loss in five games.
In a pass rush that struggled last year (22nd in the league with 36 sacks), Martin could possess the opportunity to make a name for himself. If the Giants decide not to bring back Markus Golden (led the team with 10 sacks), then Martin may be a potential starter.
At the moment, it’s still unclear if Golden will return. His one-year deal is expiring.
Say things truly work out for Martin and he puts up big numbers. If that’s the case, he could be receiving a brand new check ahead of 2021. It all depends on his production, but I’d assume he’d be receiving something along the lines of his current contract.
The Giants have a decision to make when it comes to their safeties. Antoine Bethea is on a two-year deal, with the final year of his contract coming in 2020. Nevertheless, the Giants may look to part ways with him before the season even starts.
This would then pave the way for Julian Love — who just wrapped up his rookie year — to potentially start at the free safety spot.
What would that mean for strong safety Jabrill Peppers? Barring any other moves, he would become the oldest starter throughout the secondary. In 2020, Love, Deandre Baker and Corey Ballentine would be enduring their sophomore campaigns. Sam Beal and Grant Haley would be third-year players.
Peppers, who’s entering his fourth season, would thus be a leader among this group. Being that the Giants have lacked leaders on the defensive end, keeping Peppers for the long term is something they should definitely consider.
Not to mention, he was a part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, so not keeping him would look horrible for the front office.
The 2020 season will be the final year of Peppers’ four-year rookie deal. Last year, he racked up 76 combined tackles with five tackles for loss, one pick-six, five passes defended and three forced fumbles in 11 games.
The Giants are very young on the defensive line, as each of their starters played on a rookie deal in 2019. Despite that, one of the older guys within the group is Dalvin Tomlinson, whom the Giants drafted in 2017.
Last year, Tomlinson put up productive numbers in James Bettcher’s 3-4 defensive set, combining for 49 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, nine quarterbacks hits, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He put up career-highs in each of those categories besides total tackles.
Additionally, Tomlinson has stayed healthy, appearing (and starting) in all 16 games in each of his first three seasons.
Having said that, Tomlinson will wish for a significant new deal at some point. He’s proved to be a reliable asset and is one of the guys that carries the defensive line at times.
If the Giants do indeed want to bring him back, the amount of money to give him could depend on how much they pay Leonard Williams. The former New York Jet — who the Giants traded for prior to the deadline last season — experienced the final year of his rookie deal in 2019.
Tomlinson’s 2020 season will be the final year of his current contract. With an average salary of $1.14 million (16th in the league), expect the defensive lineman to possibly want around $3.5-4 million per year.
As Giants fans know, Wayne Gallman isn’t a No. 1 running back in this league. In New York, he’s especially not a top back due to the fact that Barkley is present.
He’s also not a horrible option as a reserve back and is a nice complement to Saquon.
In his one full-game start this past year (Week 4 vs. the Redskins), Gallman totaled 118 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
The upcoming season will be the final year of his four-year, $2.8 million rookie deal. By employing him, the ballclub will endure an $840,000 cap hit, as Gallman will receive a yearly cash payout of $735,000.
If the Giants were to bring him back in 2021, it’s unclear how much he’ll want in a new deal. He’ll have to understand it won’t nearly be what other running backs in this league receive. Anyhow, this year will answer a lot of questions regarding what numbers that potential contract will portray.