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Johnathan Hankins’ value estimated at nearly $9 million per season

ESPN says Hankins of comparable value to Linval Joseph

NFL: New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret the New York Giants prefer pass-rushers over interior linemen. At the very least that’s been the perception, heightened when they let Barry Cofield walk in 2011, then Linval Joseph in 2014. With DT Johnathan Hankins expected to hit the open market early next month, Big Blue has another tough decision to make.

ESPN’s panel of experts (front office executives and numbers guys) estimate Hankins could net a five-year, $43 million contract, with $18 million guaranteed. When the Giants let Joseph go, he got five years and $31 million from the Minnesota Vikings, $12.5 million of which was guaranteed.

Consider that, then consider the fact Jason Pierre-Paul is also set to hit free agency, and its anyone’s guess which direction Jerry Reese goes in.

Paired with Damon “Snacks” Harrison inside, Hankins helped the Giants run defense jump from 24th in 2015 (121.4 yards per game) to tied for third last season (88.6).

The Giants’ resurgent defense led the charge in their postseason return, and keeping everyone together for at least another year is a no-brainer. Figuring out how to pay everyone, however, will make for a very interesting offseason in East Rutherford, N.J.