The New York Giants were the “winners” of free agency a year ago when they spent over $100 million on their defense alone with Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins. That helped the Giants make the playoffs and dramatically improve their ability to stop their opponents from scoring, but it has left them with some big decisions on how to proceed in free agency given potential future cap space issues.
That showed itself on Monday when New York released Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings. They seem to be doing fine now that they are $31 million under the cap for 2017, but that could change quickly depending on what they are able to do with this list of free agents and potential cap casualties.
Impending Free Agents
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE*
DT Johnathan Hankins
It may prove improbable that the Giants can bring back both Pierre-Paul and Hankins, and honestly probably a bad move to even do so. If they brought them both back, in addition to Harrison and Vernon, they’d be paying just their front-four alone over $50 million next season. That means Hankins, a very solid 24-year-old defensive tackle, could be switching teams in 2017.
The 2013 second round pick had 43 tackles and three sacks last season but as noted, is playing alongside some of the best defensive linemen in football. If the Seahawks find themselves moving on from Tony McDaniel and want to get much younger alongside Ahtyba Rubin, Hankins is definitely an intriguing option. But like with Rubin, McDaniel, and so many other defensive tackles in the Pete Carroll era, they’ll probably try to find a bargain rather than pay for someone like Hankins when he’s at his peak cost.
OT Will Beatty
G/T Marshall Newhouse
Beatty, soon to be 32, has a lot of experience at left tackle, some of it being pretty good play, but he missed all of 2015 and was relegated to backup duty in 2016. I don’t think a veteran with an injury history is much of a solution for Seattle’s offensive line.
Newhouse was off to a great start as the Green Bay Packers’ starting left tackle in 2011-2012, but he dropped out of favor and spent 2014 with the Cincinnati Bengals before going to the Giants in 2015. He started 14 games at right tackle that year but made just six starts last season. He’s only 28 ... if Newhouse wants to come to the Seahawks on a really cheap contract — which may be possible — sure, I’d entertain that.
Others: K Robbie Gould, CB Leon Hall, RB Rashad Jennings, QB Josh Johnson, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Kelvin Sheppard, OLB Keenan Robinson, S Coty Sensabaugh, CB Trevin Wade, RB Bobby Rainey, QB Ryan Nassib, TE Larry Donnell
Victor Cruz, WR
I know Cruz was dope for your fantasy team in 2013, but there’s so little to like here from a football standpoint. If he wants to do a one-year, non-guaranteed, $1 million deal, sure that’s worth a shot. Anything else, just allow yourself to move on from the notion that Cruz has NFL value left in the tank. Maybe he does, but the risk is too high to give him more than what I just noted.
Cap Casualty Candidates
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB
There’s some talk of the team releasing DRC to save some cap space, but given that he wasn’t in Monday’s purge, I think he might be safe. He played really well last year in the slot and New York will place a lot of value on their trio of corners with him, Jenkins, and Eli Apple.
They may also look into releasing running back Shane Vereen, linebacker J.T. Thomas, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, and fullback Will Johnson. Fifth-year guard Justin Pugh has suffered through injuries and inconsistent play, the Giants could save over $8 million if they release him before the first day of the league year (March 9) but they probably won’t do that given their other needs on the offensive line.
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