The New York Giants are coming off another disappointing year, but they are in a good position to retool this offseason. The team has more money to spend in free agency than ever before, giving them a chance to go after some of the NFL’s best available players.
With the salary cap moving above $155 million for the 2016 season, New York has close to $60 million at their disposal. After going 6-10 with an historically bad defense, the Giants’ primary focus will be on the defensive side of the ball.
The Giants ranked last in total defense in 2015, giving up over 420 yards per game. They especially struggled against the pass, surrendering 299 yards per contest to opposing quarterbacks, playing nothing like the Super Bowl winning teams of the Tom Coughlin era. While those teams were known for putting pressure on quarterbacks, the 2015 Giants ranked 30th in the league with just 23 sacks.
Jason Pierre-Paul was an elite pass rusher a few years ago, but he only recorded one sack in eight games last year, recovering from the fireworks accident that severely injured his hand. New York refused their right to place the franchise tag on the 27-year-old, and they are hoping to sign the defensive end to a one-year contract. But The New York Daily News reports that Pierre-Paul could get a multi-year deal worth between $8 million and $10 million per season, leaving the Giants in need of finding a replacement.
A few impactful pass rushers will be available for the Giants to target, most notably Mario Williams. The former No.1 overall draft pick was released by the Buffalo Bills, following a subpar season. Before Williams recorded five sacks in 15 games last year, he had totaled 38 sacks in the previous three years. The Giants don’t traditionally overpay in free agency, but they have enough money to play with that giving Williams a lucrative deal might be worth the risk.
Malik Jackson is one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the NFL, and the Giants are expected to take a strong look at him. After recording five sacks for the Denver Broncos, Jackson will become a free agent next week. Denver used their franchise tag on Von Miller, allowing Jackson to hit the open market.
“If I did have an opportunity to go there, it would be cool to reunite with my boy Robert Ayers. I know Devon Kennard’s out there, too. If that was the case, it’d be dope,” Jackson said during Super Bowl week, via The New York Post. “Hopefully me and the Broncos work something out, but if not, there’s definitely a chance that I’ll be looking for a new home. It’s a business, you got to do what you got to do.”
New York is expected to have interest in linebacker Danny Trevathan, whom the Broncos have also been unable to re-sign. Trevathan was an important part of Denver’s top-ranked defense, recording 109 tackles in 15 games.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon was given the transition tag by the Miami Dolphins, but that doesn’t mean he’s returning to the team in 2016. Miami has a chance to match any contract offer that Vernon gets, but the Dolphins might be unwilling to give him a deal worth between $14 million and $15 million per season. Vernon is just 25 years old, and he posted 7.5 sacks last year.
With the Giants looking to spend money on other teams’ free agents, Prince Amukamara could be on his way out of New York. The cornerback will have suitors in free agency, and injuries have forced him to miss 13 games in the last two seasons.