Yes, the New York Giants indeed have ample cap-space to sign talented free agent players, but breaking the bank for them should curate some hesitancy.
Pass-rushers are some of the most expensive players in the game, and they’re becoming more so with every passing season. Good but not great players can now earn upwards of $20 million dollars, similar to former Jacksonville Jaguar, Yannick Ngakoue, who’s seeking $22 million in free agency.
All he has done since the Jaguars took him in the third round in 2016 is rack up 37.5 sacks (second on the franchise’s all-time list) and 14 forced fumbles. The tag would be for approximately $19.3 million, which is doable because the Jaguars are expected to release several players in the coming weeks to clear about $35 million ($46 million if CB A.J. Bouye is released). Ngakoue wants a long-term deal and is seeking about $22 million annually. He also indicated late last season that he would be unlikely to show up until the Aug. 11 reporting deadline for players under contract if he had to play on the franchise tag.
Ngakoue has proven he’s a talented player on the defensive line, having breached double-digit sacks just once in four years but never falling below 8.0 total sacks. However, he’s posted three seasons with four fumbles forced or more, indicating he’s a talented tackler and can play against the run.
Again, is $22 million worth it for the Giants? Considering he would become the highest-paid pass-rusher in the league, beyond the $21 million Demarcus Lawrence landed in 2019?
The New York Giants can land a young stud with room to grow:
At 24-years-old, you can argue that Ngakoue is in the midst of his prime and deserves the money and then some. Signing him to a four-year deal worth $84 million ($21 million per season), with elevated guarantees, would likely get the deal done, but it’s a risk. Pass-rushers are hard to come by in today’s NFL, and locking down one of the rising stars in the NFL is a good first step for the Giants.
Big Blue currently has $61 million in cap space with an expected $24 million jump to $85 million after cuts. Signing Yannick would leave them with about $62-64 million in remaining cap-space, in which they can sign Byron Jones and Devin McCourty for a total of $27 million (hypothetically), bringing them down to $37 million. Dave Gettleman stated that the Giants must hold $20 million going into the season, so that leaves $17 million to address other positions. However, I believe the right tackle spot should be filled in the draft considering the price-tag Jack Conklin will command in free agency.
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