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Giants have opened contract negotiations with Dexter Lawrence

Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley decisions are made, but Giants still have a lot to do

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Daniel Jones negotiations are done, and a long-term deal with the quarterback is in place. Saquon Barkley has been franchise tagged, though negotiations with the running back will continue. Now, the New York Giants can move on to other important business as they construct their 2023 roster.

General manager Joe Schoen addressed some of those other pieces of business when he met with the media via Zoom on Wednesday.

The Kenny Golladay decision

Schoen and the giants have already made the decision that Golladay will not be part of the 2023 Giants. Two years into a failed four-year, $72 million deal with the Giants that Golladay signed with the previous decision-makers, the veteran wide receiver will be cut on March 15 when the league season begins.

The Giants, though, have not made a final decision as to whether Golladay will be designated a pre-June 1 cut or a post-June 1 cut.

Why does that matter?

If the Giants make Golladay a pre-June 1 cut they save $6.7 million on the 2023 cap and can use that money immediately once free agency opens on March 15. They would, however, carry $6.8 million in dead money charges into the 2024 season.

If they designate Golladay a post-June 1 cut they would save $13.5 million against the cap in 2023 and be clear of any financial obligations after this season. They would, however, not be able to access that $13.5 million until after June 1. That means they would not have that money available during the primary portion of free agency.

Schoen tipped his hand in terms of which way he is leaning.

“There’s a good chance that we just take the hit this year. We already have some money that’s dead money in 2024. Just to get through this past season, we had to do some financial moves and actually kick dead money into 2024,” he said. “So, if we can take our medicine this year, I think that’ll help us in 2024 and get out of the business of having a lot of dead money in any year.”

Dexter’s on deck

Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is scheduled to play the 2023 season on his $12.407 million fifth-year option.

“We’ve started talking with his representatives. He’s on the fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus,” Schoen said. “So, the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the length of the contract up to five years, and that’s how you’re able to lower the yearly amount that counts against the cap.”

Lawrence, 25, is coming off the best season of his four-year career. Lawrence, clearly the Giants’ best defensive player in 2022, can become a free agent if he plays next season on that fifth-year option. The Giants, obviously, would like to prevent that.

Julian Love’s future

Love was a starter and team captain for the first time in 2022, and had an excellent season.

When the Giants were knocked out of the playoffs, this is how Love described his first season as a starter:

“I don’t think I played better, I think I just played more. I’ve been pretty consistent, pretty productive in whatever capacity it’s been in. This year having to hold down the fort I felt like at times I think I did a solid job ... I was leaving a lot of games this year knowing that me best effort was out there. So, yeah, I think it was a successful season for myself. Now I know what the bar is. Going forward I know what a full year as a starter is for me. It’s pretty damn good.”

The 2019 fourth-round pick can now become a free agent in a few days. His future with the Giants appears to be murky. Schoen has indicated a few times this offseason that there are several solid safeties available on the free agent market, and hinted that it might be a position where the Giants can save some money. Schoen added Wednesday that with the Jones and Barkley situations settled the team was circling back to other potential free agents.

Specifically in regards to Love, Schoen said this on Wednesday:

“I think there’s some depth there [at safety]. I really do. When you’re looking at the markets, I think you really need to look at the draft, too,” Schoen said. “Let’s say it’s a deep safety market in free agency, and there’s some really good safeties in the draft, well then sometimes that suppresses the market. We’ll take all that into account. If a player and their price gets out of hand, we also know what the landscape of the draft looks like. There’s different avenues where you can acquire players. Again, we’ll make sure that we’re aware of all those.”

Free agency preview

Schoen said the Giants will be “fiscally responsible” when the free agency negotiating window open on March 13, but also admitted that “we’re not shopping for minimum players anymore.”

“At certain positions, I think it’ll have a major impact, depending on where we go and the price point. Again, we can’t negotiate until Monday. So, we’re not really certain where some of these players are going to be from a financial standpoint, contract years and those types of things. So, we’ll be fiscally responsible with the moves that we make,” Schoen said. “Again, I think when you’re signing people outside the building, you’ve got to make sure you’re right on the character, the medical. It’s not like the draft where we can go to the combine, and we can do physicals on these guys and see where they may have previous injuries and what those look like. You don’t get to interview them and go to their schools and all that stuff. So, we’ve got to be diligent with our research on the players and also, like I said, be fiscally responsible with where you pay these guys. So, we’re going to do our research.

“I think we’ve got some players targeted that will make impacts if the contract structure is right. And again, if not, we have plan B, C and D if we need to go there.”