New York Giants fans made an assumption when this offseason began. With how much the team spent to improve the defense last year, it was inevitable that someone would have to be jettisoned in 2017. There wouldn’t be enough cap space and money left to bring back all of Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, and Keenan Robinson, the team’s top three defensive free agents.
That was the assumption. We understood the situation. With the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the defense last offseason, New York couldn’t spend another $100 million this year while ignoring the offensive line and offensive skill positions.
Apparently, Giants brass has other ideas.
According to a recent Facebook Live post by ESPN journalist Jordan Raanan, the Giants are preparing and hoping to do exactly what we fans thought impossible: bring back every one of the team’s major defensive free agents. From Raanan:
The Giants are trying very hard — they’re going to try very hard to keep that defense together. That’s what I’m hearing right now. The Giants want to keep that defense together. . . Their desire, from what I hear, is to bring back JPP and Hankins and a guy like Keenan Robinson. They think that defense has the potential to be really special. So I think the odds are, right now, the odds are greater than 50% they are back for next season. All of them.”
This is quite a statement. Obviously, the defense has potential to be special. We all saw that this year. If the entire group comes back, it should be elite once again, and maybe the best in the NFL with a year together in the same system. To hear that the team is trying to bring back all the pieces, though, is surprising. Putting the odds above 50 percent that it happens is even more so.
According to Spotrac contract estimates, Pierre-Paul is going to earn something around $15 million per season if he isn’t franchised. His total contract could surpass $70 million, and he has made it clear that he may be asking for even more, approaching what Olivier Vernon received last year.
Both Hankins and Robinson will make far less than that. However, Hankins especially will not exactly be cheap. Re-signing all three, combined with the high-priced signees of 2016, would give the Giants that special defense they want. Except, we already saw this play out last season.
With not enough talent and execution on the offensive side, even one of the best defenses in football wasn’t enough to propel this franchise to a playoff win. There needs to be better balance. Unless these guys want to give NY a hometown discount, this offseason plan would seem to ignore that prospect.