As we head into the middle of May, the New York Giants have begun the vitally important process of agreeing to contracts with their 2017 rookies. The first domino to fall was second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson. The former Alabama defensive tackle signed a deal with the Giants, making him the team’s first rookie to agree. Based on draft slotting, Tomlinson’s deal is likely in the range of $4.5 million over four years.
He is expected to challenge, and ultimately earn, the starting spot along the defensive line next to Damon Harrison. If he becomes an able replacement for the departed Johnathan Hankins, Tomlinson’s $800,000 cap hit for 2017 will look tremendous. It is easy to see why draft picks and young players are so sought after in today’s league. The value for good ones is unbeatable.
Speaking of value, the Giants are on the precipice of losing some along the offensive line. Guard Justin Pugh is set to play this year on his fifth-year option. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018; if the contracts laid out to interior linemen this offseason are any indication, Pugh is going to garner a huge payday. Next door, center Weston Richburg is also primed for free agency unless he and the team agree to an extension sometime this season.
Of course, the biggest name in the same boat as Pugh is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is also playing on his fifth-year option, ready to hit open free agency. New York will need rookies like Tomlinson to play well, keeping allocated money low for the big second deals for the guys in their mid-20’s.
Speaking of shelling out money, it now feels doubtful that NY will explore signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount. Prior to the draft, Blount was a real possibility, but a few things have played against that notion since. For one, the Giants drafted a talented tailback. Also, the New England Patriots tendered Blount a contract very late in the process. Now, any other team that signs him will have to jettison a compensatory pick on top of whatever money he costs. Blount is probably going to be a Patriot again this year.
In one last piece of contract news from last week, the Giants learned that linebacker Keenan Robinson actually turned down larger contracts for more years to come back to New York. This is a great sign for the team, that players desire playing in this locker room and are willing to forgo some cash to do so.
Robinson’s thoughts on the topic were so nonchalant, like it was never even a decision.
Other teams offered multiple-year deals, but I’m still young. A one-year deal is fine. I’m still 27, so, like I said, right now I’m in a great situation. So I wanted to be a part of it. I was willing to make it work and be flexible as far as that goes.
The Giants defense should be superb this season, with Robinson and Tomlinson playing major parts in that. In the coming days, we will hopefully see the rest of the 2017 rookies sign deals as well, setting the roster heading into organized team activities and training camp.