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Darnay Holmes has a lot to prove to stay on the Giants in 2023

Holmes’ contract is easily cuttable and his skills are somewhat redundant

Detroit Lions v New York Giants
Darnay Holmes
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

After the New York Giants drafted cornerback Deonte Banks in the first round, it was likely that someone’s roster spot was going to be in jeopardy. After all, the Giants have a large stable of cornerbacks and only so many roster spots. Darnay Holmes could find himself on the outside looking in due to his contract and replaceable skillset.

By the numbers

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 195
Age: 24
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 3
Contract: final year of four-year, $4,086,888 rookie deal | Guaranteed at signing: $791,888 | 2023 cap hit: $2,940,972

Career to date

Holmes was selected out of UCLA by the Giants with the 110th pick in the 2020 draft. As a rookie, he appeared in 12 games (five starts), recording 30 total tackles, five pass breakups, one interception, 0.5 sacks, and two quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus gave him just a 48.8 coverage grade, though, as he gave up 41-of-52 catches (78.8%) for 406 yards, including 233 after the catch. He was called for five penalties and also posted a woeful 20.5% missed tackle rate. He missed two games with a knee injury.

In his second year, Holmes played in 11 games (four starts), recording 21 combined tackles, two pass breakups, and one interception. His PFF coverage grade improved to 60.4 on 194 coverage snaps, as he surrendered 21-of-30 catches (70%) for 220 yards and no touchdowns. His missed tackle rate decreased to 7.4%, a solid number, and he was called for one penalty.

Last year, Holmes’ snap count increased significantly, as he had 572 total defensive snaps, including 370 coverage snaps. 293 of those came out of the slot. Holmes appeared in 15 games (two starts), logging 38 total tackles, two for loss, eight pass breakups, two quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. In coverage, he surrendered 43-of-66 catches (65.2%) for 456 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. However, he was called for nine penalties, which likely contributed to his 49.5 PFF coverage grade (ranked 69th out of 73 qualified cornerbacks).

2023 outlook

Banks’ presumed starting role on the outside means that there is a lot of competition for the slot cornerback role. Cor’Dale Flott, Aaron Robinson, Nick McCloud, Zyon Gilbert, Xavier McKinney, and even Bobby McCain, Holmes’ slot role is threatened from many directions. Furthermore, the Giants can save $2.743 million by releasing him with just $197,972 in dead money. Holmes is the most likely one to draw the short straw in this scenario, as his cap hit is more than Robinson’s and Flott’s combined.

Holmes did play a significant role for the Giants last year, but he didn’t necessarily do so effectively. His coverage and tackling have been hit-or-miss since he was a rookie. If the Giants need cap space, Holmes is a likely victim. Still, he can compete in training camp to find a role on another roster, as experienced cornerbacks don’t grow on trees in the NFL.

There is also a possibility that the Giants do retain Holmes for that very reason, opting to release another cornerback (or two). His roster spot is very much up in the air at this point.