Is any Giant worth retaining on a one-year deal for a fixed, position-based price?
“Franchise tag season” is approaching.
The annual period of the NFL offseason, when teams can place the tag on a player with an expiring contract, will be open from Feb. 22 until March 8.
Various players around the league will receive the tag. And if the team doesn’t eventually sign that player to a long-term deal or just simply rescind the tag, he will need to sign it ahead of the 2022 regular season.
These chosen players won’t be ecstatic; the tag will prevent them from testing the free-agent market and keep their 2022 salary at a fixed, position-based value.
Regardless, teams will still utilize the roster-constructing tool, just like they do every single offseason.
TE Evan Engram
So…um…I think I speak for the entire fanbase (and much of Giants/NFL Twitter) when I say, “absolutely not.”
The Giants need to rid themselves of Evan Engram along with his lack of production, spotty health history, and ability to greatly underachieve despite having the potential to be one of the more athletic and versatile tight ends in the NFL.
The former first-rounder has fallen off a cliff since his productive 2017 rookie campaign. Between the drops and missed blocks, Evan has been a sheer disappointment, and his 2020 Pro Bowl selection further solidified the embarrassment that is the NFL’s annual all-star game.
Spotrac projects the franchise tag value for tight ends to be $11 million. Spending that amount on someone who isn’t even close to that per-year mark from a value standpoint would be a detrimental move, especially considering the Giants are in salary cap hell (Spotrac projects the team to be $10.73 million over the cap for 2022).
S Jabrill Peppers
The projected franchise tag value for safety Jabrill Peppers: $13 million.
The 2022 cap hit for safety Xavier McKinney: $2.29 million.
Financially speaking, it would make no sense for the Giants to keep Peppers on the pricey tag when they could just progress with the cheaper McKinney.
Also, it’s clear Xavier’s strengths gear more towards what the modern-day NFL is — a passing league.
Peppers has been a liability in coverage and is really just a box safety, an on-field role that’s decreasing in value. McKinney, on the other hand, led the team with five interceptions (tied for first in the league at his position) and only allowed opposing quarterbacks to combine for 443 passing yards and a 72.2 passer rating through 17 games.
OG Will Hernandez
The projected franchise tag value for an offensive lineman is $16.5 million.
You think Will Hernandez, who hasn’t shown a glimpse of consistency since his promising 2018 rookie campaign, is worthy of a $16.5 million salary next year?
I honestly don’t know why I even brought his name up in this conversation — Joe Schoen would be doing the entire organization and its fanbase an absolute disservice by tagging Hernandez or even considering it.
If you want to bring Will back on a cheap, one-year deal to possibly compete with Shane Lemieux, a rookie, and/or a free-agent acquisition for a starting spot, that’s fine.
But throwing $16.5 million toward an unproven interior lineman while residing in salary cap hell would bring you close to Dave Gettleman territory as a GM.
And trust me, you don’t want to be compared to Dave Gettleman. Especially in this town.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY