4 Giants storylines to watch during 2023 NFL Combine
There’s no shortage of headlines around the Giants as the NFL Combine begins.
Aside from getting a chance to know the top prospects in this year’s draft, GM Joe Schoen will meet with more than a few agents to try to get things in order with both his many free agents, and also those he wants to pursue once the market opens.
So, with the Combine just about here, what are the top Giants-related headlines you must know?
What’s the progress with Daniel Jones?
Jones’ agent switch should now allow his contract negotiation with the Giants to begin. There haven’t been any demands from Jones to the Giants yet, but they’re coming and when they do they’re expected to be $45 million or more. The Giants' response will be simple: We’re not going that high, and if you’re not willing to come down, we’ll hit you with the franchise tag.
The good news in all of this is that Jones will be the Giants' starting quarterback next year. The downside is that if the Giants have to franchise tag him, well, there’s very little Schoen can do in addition to retaining Jones to help build out the roster around him.
Remember, that $32.4-million tag is felt entirely in 2023. It will eat up virtually all of the Giants' $46.9 million in available cap space.
The Giants must try to convince Jones to take a long-term, five-year deal worth $35-$37 million annually. That’s believed around the NFL to be the fair price. The length of that contract will allow the Giants to spread out the cap hit, giving Schoen the freedom to build around Jones.
Schoen will meet the media in Indianapolis. It will be interesting to see if any progress has been made.
Is Saquon Barkley in the long-term plans?
The likelihood Barkley returns to the Giants might very well be tied to whether or not Jones accepts that long-term contract. If the Giants can extend Jones organically, that frees up the tag to use on Barkley. Considering Barkley’s bye-week contract demands were near $16 million annually, well, that might be the only option he has of sticking with the Giants.
The Giants have engaged in additional talks with Barkley’s representatives. There’s a chance he’s softened some on what he wanted during the bye. Schoen is usually pretty honest when it comes to updating where things stand with players. Maybe he’ll provide hope that the gap between what the Giants were willing to offer, and what Barkley was willing to accept, has lessened.
What’s the latest on cap-saving moves?
The Giants are in pretty good shape with nearly $47 million in salary cap space. They can certainly afford to create more, though, especially if they have to tag Jones. The most obvious transaction is the expected release of wideout Kenny Golladay. That would free $6.7 million.
There aren’t too many others the Giants can outright release, but extending defensive linemen Leonard Williams ($32.2 million cap hit) and Dexter Lawrence ($12.4 million) could provide additional relief. Schoen will have a chance to meet with all players’ agents at the Combine to get things rolling.
Which players are Giants keeping an eye on?
The downside to the Giants' surprising playoff berth (and Wild Card round victory) is that they’re slated to draft 25th. There are good players there, certainly, but they’re out of the running for the no-doubt, bonafide studs found in the top 10.
Some players Schoen and his staff could be watching, who figure to be available around there, include USC wideout Jordan Addison, cornerbacks Cam Smith (South Carolina) and Joey Porter (Penn State), and guard O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida) -- all of whom would step in as Day 1 starters at their respective positions.