The New York Giants have a multitude of players whose contracts are expiring this offseason and they’ll need to make a decision on each one.
Heading into the 2020 campaign, the New York Giants are equipped with over $61 million in cap space. This is good for seventh in the league; so, at least Big Blue is top-10 in something.
From a financial standpoint, you should save around $10 million for both in-season emergencies and rookies. With roughly $51-million remaining, the Giants will have numerous choices to make not just with free agents coming from other squads, but with their own pending free agents as well.
Big Blue currently has 10 primary players whose deals will be expiring this offseason. Some of these individuals will possess higher leverage in contract talks than others, but all of them carry significance to the team.
“To bring back or not to bring back?” That is the major question for the following players…
C Jon Halapio
The Giants brought Jon Halapio back last offseason on a one-year deal after he missed 14 games in 2018 due to an ankle injury. New York was hoping he would be an improvement from Spencer Pulley, who struggled in Halapio’s absence during the 2018 campaign.
Halapio wasn’t the worst in the league at his position, but his placement still ranked far from the top. With a Pro Football Focus grade of 56.3, he was essentially your average center.
In spite of the non-impressive performance, the Giants should still bring him back on another short-term deal. He’d likely perform at a higher level than Pulley — who has two years left on his current contract — and possesses experience with the Daniel Jones–Saquon Barkley-led offense.
Halapio will be a restricted free agent, so he can receive an offer sheet from another team that the Giants could then match.
RT Mike Remmers
The Giants inked a one-year, $2.5 million deal with right tackle Mike Remmers last offseason. A former Viking who played under Pat Shurmur in Minnesota, Remmers was supposed to improve the offensive line. Reality struck when he hit the field though.
Remmers was one of the worst offensive linemen in a group that heavily struggled and allowed 43 sacks and 119 quarterback hits. Individually, the veteran allowed five sacks for a total of 35 yards through 14 games. He additionally committed five penalties for 40 yards.
The verdict on Remmers is that they should let him test the market. New York could easily find a tackle to replace him in the draft and may use their first-round selection to do so. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. are expected to be in the mix if that’s the route the Giants decide to take.
FB/RB Elijhaa Penny
Elijhaa Penny will be a restricted free agent, so there’s a chance another team could provide an offer for him. If that’s the case, New York should absolutely try to match.
If you watch Giants games (it’s troubling, I know), you understand how thin the running back position can be at times. Barkley and Wayne Gallman both missed games this past year. In the Week 6 loss to the Patriots, the Giants were down to just Penny and undrafted running back Jon Hilliman.
Big Blue needs depth at this position. Penny can provide that while being able to play both the running back and fullback spots (if needed).
WR Corey Coleman
Remember Corey Coleman? The receiver was slated to be one of the top options in the team’s passing game heading into the 2019 season. But Coleman suffered a torn ACL very early in training camp, causing him to miss the entire year.
With his contract expiring, the Giants should ultimately look to keep him in East Rutherford.
Coleman could be a cheap but solid complement to Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Golden Tate. He would also be of assistance to the special teams group. In 2018, the former first-round pick returned 23 kicks for a total of 598 yards (26 yards per return).
WR Cody Latimer
Cody Latimer wasn’t a horrible reserve wideout last season, catching 24 balls for 300 yards and a pair of scores. The only issue is the fact that there may not even be a roster spot for him next year.
With Shepard, Slayton, Tate, and the possibility of Coleman returning, there’s a chance Latimer wouldn’t see the reps that he’s experienced in the past. Thus, it might just be more logical to look for someone in the draft.
Last year, Latimer played on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.
K Aldrick Rosas
This will be one of the bigger decisions for New York this offseason. In 2018, Aldrick Rosas was near the top of the league at the kicker position. He connected on 97% of his field-goal attempts and 96.9% of his extra-point attempts, which led to a Pro Bowl nod and a spot on the AP All-Pro Second team.
But in 2019, Rosas couldn’t find the same success, converting on just 70.6% of his field-goal attempts and 89.7% of his extra-point attempts. Overall, he missed a kick in eight of the 16 games he played.
So if the Giants bring him back, will he struggle again? Would it be a waste of money? Well, we don’t know that right now. But what the Giants could indeed do is give him another one-year deal with a low cap hit. Then, they could also work out other kickers in training camp as well.
If the organization shows more confidence in another kicker over Rosas, then there’s your answer for what his immediate future holds.
DL Leonard Williams
Whether the front office decides to re-sign Leonard Williams or not, the Giants absolutely came up short in that trade with the New York Jets back in October. If they don’t bring him back, they’d lose a future pick to their crosstown rivals for eight games of work (they’d receive a compensatory pick). If they do re-sign him, they’d lose multiple picks and would give up a whole lot of cap room for a player that may not even deserve it. Williams reportedly wants around $15 million per year.
I think the Giants have to bring him back and at least give it a shot though. The Williams-Giants era ending after just eight games would make the trade an even larger waste than keeping him would. Then Williams would’ve just been a rental player on a ballclub that’s nowhere near playing for a championship.
It’s unclear if the Giants will give him $15 million per year, but they need to at least make some progress with the discussions.
EDGE Markus Golden
Yes, the Giants should 100% bring Markus Golden back. There shouldn’t even be a build-up to the answer. He was the team’s top pass-rusher last year and was the first Giants linebacker to achieve at least 10 sacks in a season since Lawrence Taylor had 10.5 in 1990.
Golden will be more expensive than he was last season (one-year deal worth $3.75 million), but he’ll be worth it. New York was 22nd in the league with 36 total sacks, and it would’ve been a lot worse if Golden wasn’t on the roster.
ILB David Mayo
In 2019, David Mayo stepped up after Ryan Connelly’s injury and was a decent producer at the inside linebacker spot, racking up 80 combined tackles and a pair of sacks.
He’s not a dominant linebacker by any means, but he’s not the worst option either. Connelly will likely start when he returns from his torn ACL in 2020, so if Mayo is brought back, he could play right alongside him. This may be the case for both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes.
I think it’s reasonable to bring Mayo back. He wouldn’t be an expensive option at all and could produce just enough for New York’s needs.
S Michael Thoams
Michael Thomas hasn’t been an every-down defensive back for this team and doesn’t seem like he would be in the future. But he’s a solid special teams player and a fantastic leader nonetheless.
In 2018, Thomas made his first-ever Pro Bowl, racking up a total of 59 tackles in that 5-11 campaign. He’s also been a team captain and a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee.
Thomas brings value to the team that stretches beyond his on-field talents. He’s a motivator, a type of individual that would resonate well with newly-hired head coach Joe Judge. Not bringing him back would be a huge mistake on the organization’s part.