The Giants, coming off a 6-11 season that was largely toast by Week 6, have a ton of decisions to make this offseason.
As Joe Schoen & Co. look to rework the roster while creating a team that looks more like the 2022-23 version that many thought had Big Blue on the upswing, here are the two biggest questions they have on their plate:
- What do they do at quarterback? Daniel Jones' health and readiness is an open question following ACL surgery, and his Giants future is murky because of his lengthy injury history, poor play this season, and the possibility that they'll draft his successor in April.
- What do they do with Saquon Barkley? After amassing 1,242 all-purpose yards this past season, Barkley is again a free agent, and the Giants might tag him for a second time ... or let him walk ... or re-sign him.
Beyond the QB situation and uncertainty surrounding Saquon is a need to finally get the offensive line right, add a legitimate No. 1 option (or close to it) to a wide receiver group that has promise but no sure things, and beef up the defense.
While there were only five teams worse than the Giants in 2023-24 when it came to total yards allowed per game, the secondary was actually somewhat solid -- in the middle of the pack at No. 19, allowing 229.3 yards per game.
Part of that of course had to do with cornerback Adoree' Jackson, who is set for free agency.
Should the Giants bring him back?
Why it makes sense for Jackson to stay
For one thing, Jackson wants to remain a Giant.
"It’s always unfinished business when you don’t win anything," he told reporters toward the end of the season. "I would love to be here — keep grinding, developing and bringing a winning culture here — but if that doesn’t happen I’m not going to be mad. It might hurt. That’s the natural human tendency, even when I got released from Tennessee."
Jackson, who will be entering his age-29 season, is coming off the most games he's played during his three-year Giants tenure -- suiting up in 14.
The above reliability has been a trait during Jackson's seven-year NFL career. He has averaged over 13 games played per season, subtracting the fact that he missed most of the 2020 campaign due to a knee issue.
The only games Jackson missed this past season were because of a concussion.
Jackson is also a leader in the locker room and on the field (he was one of 10 Giants captains in 2023), and remains a solid corner.
Why it makes sense for Jackson to go
Deonte Banks is an emerging star and under team control through 2027, so one of the outside corner spots is already locked down. What about the one Jackson would be vacating?
In a world without Jackson, the Giants could turn to Cor'Dale Flott, who started six games during his rookie campaign in 2022-23 and seven games in 2023-24 -- when he graded out as slightly above average. Flott has excelled as a slot corner, though.
If the Giants prefer to keep Flott in the slot, another option to replace Jackson is Tre Hawkins III.
Hawkins, a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, faced adversity in his rookie year. He opened the season as the starting outside corner but was benched a few games in. Still, he appeared in all 17 games and is viewed by the Giants as a high-upside player.
Getting back to Jackson, while he remains solid overall, he seems to be on the decline.
His missed tackles tripled year-over-year (three to nine), his 13.0 receiving yards allowed per catch was tied for the worst mark of his career, and his completion percentage allowed jumped 14 percent.
If the Giants were well set up at most of their other key positions, it would be easier to make a case to keep Jackson, who has been a strong player in New York.
And even though Big Blue has a ton of cap space, they're probably better off using it elsewhere.
When you combine the relatively high salary Jackson will likely command, the fact that he's exiting his prime and that the Giants already have strong options to replace him, it amounts to what should be an easy decision to let him go and handle the position internally.