New York Giants 2022 Offseason Preview: Pending free agents, team needs, draft picks, and more

New York Giants 2022 Offseason Preview: Pending free agents, team needs, draft picks, and more

The New York Giants’ season is mercifully over and attention can now turn to an offseason that will see them with a number of pending free agents, a number of team needs, and some high-leverage draft picks.

By all indications, Dave Gettleman’s four-year run as the team’s embattled general manager is also over. That inauspicious era was marred by a number of terrible key decisions: Taking Saquon Barkley over Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson; selecting Daniel Jones sixth overall; and giving out terrible contracts to Golden Tate, Patrick Omameh, and Kenny Golladay, to name a few. No surprise, then, that the G-Men — with one playoff appearance in 11 years — are looking to make a move.

Update: The Giants fired Joe Judge as head coach and Dave Gettleman retired as general manager.

New York Giants 2022 Offseason Preview

Once the Giants get things sorted out at the top, the attention will turn to overhauling a roster that, outside of the skill positions, was really bad in 2021. The most significant question: What to do with Jones? He has one year left on his rookie contract and is set to earn just over $5 million next year.

The Giants have two big decisions to make with Jones. First, do they even want him on their roster in 2022? And second, do they want to pick up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option? According to a report by ESPN in December, the answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is somewhat murkier with Jones expected to earn a guaranteed $21.4 million in 2023 if they do decide to pick up the option.

The Giants would be absolutely insane to commit to that fifth year. Jones, in three seasons, completed just 62.8% of his passes for 45 touchdowns, 29 interceptions, 6.6 yards per attempt, and a passer rating of 84.3. Those are backup QB stats.

Therefore, the Giants should treat him as a backup. They should bring in a new starter — through a trade (Russell Wilson, anyone?) or free agency — and try to move Jones if they can. If they cannot, let him stay in the building, ride out his contract, and move on after 2022. Of course, to bring in a big name takes big money — something the Giants, without financial finagling, don’t currently have.

Giants have $2.8 million in projected cap space

Source: Spotrac (as of Jan. 9)

To put it simply, the situation looks bleak for the Giants. However, there’s some wiggle room financially. The only players guaranteed to be on the Giants’ roster in 2022 (barring a trade) are Leonard Williams, Kenny Golladay, Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan, Andrew Thomas, and Saquon Barkley.

The Giants can clear more than $30 million in space by cutting James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Sterling Shepard, and Kyle Rudolph. However, doing so would leave a lot of dead money (around $20 million) and it could leave the Giants with a void in terms of veterans at some positions. They need to weigh up the value of those veterans compared to the cap space additions when it comes to improving their roster.

Giants’ pending free agents

When a team is as bad as the Giants, free agency is often addition by subtraction. Tackle Nate Solder finally comes off New York’s books, and the Giants will be looking to upgrade. You could make the same argument with Evan Engram, who has never managed to fill his potential since being drafted.

New York’s other pending free agents — including safety Jabrill Peppers, guard Will Hernandez, and edge defender Lorenzo Carter — are similarly replaceable. Other Giants 2022 UFAs include DTs Austin Johnson and Danny Shelton, OL Billy Price, QB Mike Glennon, and FS Nate Ebner. Johnson might be the most impactful among that group.

How do the Giants’ free agents rank among the best available in 2022? Be sure out our list of top free agents available at each position to find out.

Giants’ team needs

Quarterback is a big worry, no doubt. But the Giants’ issues go far deeper than that. They need to invest in the trenches significantly. New York ranked in the bottom part of the league in pass-rush win rate, pass-block win rate, defensive sack rate, and rushing yards gained per game.

Quarterback will be where the focus is from the outside. However, inside the organization, they need to know that a QB addition is not simply going to make them Super Bowl contenders. There is much more at stake, all across the roster.

Giants’ top five needs in the 2022 NFL offseason

  • Quarterback
  • EDGE
  • Offensive line
  • Linebacker
  • Tight end

Giants’ 2022 NFL Draft picks

Gettleman critics certainly have plenty of reasons to trash his tenure, but not every decision he made was wrong. In fact, one of his last big moves helped set the Giants up for the future. Trading down from pick No. 11 to 20 — which allowed the Bears to draft Justin Fields — was a stroke of genius.

The Giants were still able to land a budding star — wide receiver Kadarius Toney — while adding Chicago’s first- and fourth-round picks in 2022. Since the Bears were terrible this year, that first-rounder will end up in the top 10. The Giants could turn around and use that selection on a new quarterback of their own.

Here’s how the Giants’ 2022 NFL Draft picks currently stand according to the draft order:

  • Round 1 (Picks 5 & 7 — from NYG)
  • Round 2 (Pick 4)
  • Round 3 (Picks 3 & 17 — from MIA)
  • Round 4 (Pick 7 — from CHI)
  • Round 5 (Picks 4 & 30 — from KC)
  • Round 6 (Pick 3)