The Giants will need to make these decisions by early May.
It’s already been nearly three years since the 2019 NFL Draft (sheesh, I’m getting old).
This offseason, the players selected in the first round of that very event (except for DeAndre Baker and Dwayne Haskins, who are already on different teams) will be eligible for 5th-year options on their rookie deals.
The value of that fifth-year salary (which is guaranteed) is different for most players; it’s dependent on various factors, such as position, number of Pro Bowl berths, and amount of playing time.
On Monday, we learned of the official fifth-year salaries for the 2019 first-rounders, should their respective teams decide to exercise the option. And just looking at these numerical values, it’s clear the Giants shouldn’t make this move for either of their 2019 opening-round picks: Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 7, 2022
There is absolutely no reason why the Giants should guarantee Daniel Jones $22.384 million for any season right now.
The young signal-caller hasn’t consistently proven he deserves to be under center for the long haul in East Rutherford. The Giants must have the 2022 season be a make-or-break year for Jones in order to put a great deal of pressure on him to compete.
If the Giants exercised this option/guaranteed DJ that kind of money but the struggles persisted in 2022, they could always try to trade him ahead of his fifth season. However, that would be an extremely difficult task, because who would take Jones on that kind of fifth-year salary?
This is what the Giants are possibly dealing with when it comes to Saquon Barkley right now. They exercised his option last year and guaranteed him over $7 million for 2022. Now, his trade value is way down due to injuries, performance, and the upcoming salary, likely forcing the team to stick it out with the running back for another year.
Dexter Lawrence would earn a significant chunk of guaranteed change — $10.753 million to be exact.
If Lawrence was a game-changing run-stopper and/or talented weapon in the pass-rushing department, I would exercise the option.
But since the former No. 17 overall pick is neither of those, there’s no way I would guarantee him that kind of pay, regardless of how he performs in 2022.
Lawrence is a solid player, don’t get me wrong. But he’s not the type of player worth over $10 million of guaranteed money for one year — that amount, at the moment, would make him the 11th-highest-paid defensive tackle in the league for 2023.
The Giants are better off declining the option, seeing what they can get out of Lawrence in 2022, and then possibly formulating a long-term deal with an affordable annual value. No need to make such an investment in him now when he’s not confirmed to be a long-term piece on this defense.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY