Here is may attempt to get inside the mind of Joe Schoen...
CAP: 22 million (per over the cap)
- OG Mark Glowinski- I still think Joe takes the CAP savings
- CB Aaron Robinson- Again, never healthy so I expect him to be cut and the Giants to take the savings.
CAP: 29 million
- WR Isaiah Hodgins- 1 year/2.8 million
Despite not contributing in 2023 the way he did during the playoff run of 2022, unless the cap number can be lowered with a multi-year deal, I expect Hodgins to the very least be tendered.
- CB Nick McCloud- 1 year/2.8 million
Given that Adoree is likely gone this offseason, I think extending a cheap 26-year-old cornerback who has played, and played well, for you in his absence the past year is the easiest decision Schoen will have to make all offseason. Send his agent a cheap 2-3 year deal that gives you control of the numbers, and when they likely say no, let them know you look forward to their client signing his tender sheet and seeing him in camp.
- QB Jacob Eason- 1 year/985K / Edge Benton Whitley- 1 year/915K
The last two are ERFA's that at the very least will get the tender offer, and spend the summer in Giants camp. Neither are likely to crack the roster, but should Whitley impress at edge he could steal a spot.
TE Lawrence Cager- not tendered
He is a decent pass catching TE option, but I think with Tyree Jackson on the roster (and potential draft selections) his spot as the third TE on the roster is in serious jeopardy. So much so, that I am not sure Joe will tender Cager this offseason. He is certainly no Waller in his prime and offers little to nothing as a blocker. If he is willing to sign back at the vet minimum instead of the 2.8 million tender, but as is I do not see Joe extending him the tender.
CAP: 24.5 million
"Hey wait a minute, you’re math ain’t mathing over here…" That’s because the Giants now have 54 players on the roster, currently, and only the top 51 players count against the CAP. So, for every player signed, you lose a player on the bottom end of the roster, CAP wise, and their respective 785-915k cap hit. So, even though Hodgins and McCloud cost Mara 2.8 million, and are 2.8 million CAP hits in reality. On paper, they only cost Schoen 4 million in available CAP space because Jeremiah Martin and Kaleb Hayes no longer counting saves him 1.6 million. Jacob Eason and Benton Whitley are basically even swap outs. Not quite a straight up salary trade, but the affect on CAP in minimal at best.
- LB Isaiah Simmons- 3 year/12 million (4 million guaranteed) [1, 4, 7]
Traded for last offseason, but outside of a pick 6 to seal the Washington game, hasnt done anything to suggest a big market for his services is coming. Would love to get him on the 3 year deal cheap for the CAP flexibility, but more than likely it'll be a one year prove it deal.
- OC/G Ben Bredeson- 1 year/ 2.5 million
He's not great, but he is one of the better depth option at C available, so why not just retain him? Hopefully, he never plays a snap for you, but if forced to you won't be upset that he has to play, and he already knows the system.
- LB Carter Coughlin / LS Casey Kreiter / PR/KR Gunner Olszewski- 1 year/1.25 million.
Core Special Teamers who if cheap enough, and in the case of 38 year old Kreiter he wants to play another year, they should be back despite change over on defense/special team units. Cam is probably a better teamer’s player than Coughlin, but Carter can actually backup at the Edge and Mike backer positions. Assuming the Giants run it back with a 3-4 base defensive front.
CAP: 22 million
- S Xavier McKinney- 1year/ 17.25 million
I think X wants out of NY, even with Wink gone. And only big time money will make him stay. Without it, and/or a deal with Barkley, Schoen will have to decide who to use his tag on. I think ultimately X gets that designation.
X is a certified baller. Outside of an ATV accident, which mistakes happen, he's been pretty much the model ballplayer. 100% of the snaps, can tackle, can cover, creates turnovers and again prior to injury last year he was the green dot dude on defense. For those that say go cheap at safety, you get what you pay for and that drop off will be noticeable. 100+ tackles, multiple interceptions and a leader are not easy to come by.
CAP: 6.5 million
- RB Saquon Barkley- 1 year/10.1 million
By this point I have made my feelings clear about Barkley. Schoen does the transition tag, so he can at least have a chance to try and match any offer coming in. Houston, thinking Barkley can come in and immediately become a pressure relief valve for newly annointed franchise QB CJ Stroud, gives Saquon the big money deal Joe refuses to. 4 years/66 million [35 million guaranteed] [13, 16, 16, 21]
"But wait, they can’t tag Barkley, they would be negative CAP!" Yeah, about that, before the tag goes on Barkley…
AT, Sexy Dexy, and Gano push 30 of their 33 movable money into 2025 and 2026 to help create space.
CAP: 36.5 million (25 available as of this point, come opening day of league season when Barkley signs with Houston, Schoen will have the full 36.5 available to him.)
- RG Jon Runyan (Green Bay)- 3 years/21 million (12 million guaranteed) [4, 10, 7]
Not the player people want, but comes cheap enough. Runyan is a solid player, but certainly not the guy I am rooting for at RG. However, the thought of his father having to root for the Giants now that they signed his boy, would make this signing worth it.
- QB Joe Flacco (Cleveland)- 2 years/12 million (8 million guaranteed) [4, 8]
Really a 1 year/8 million dollar deal written as a 2 year deal to massage the CAP numbers. Flacco leaves Cleveland for the Giants because he feels like he has a better shot of beating out a healthy Daniel Jones over DeShaun Watson. I think that Dabs would prefer to just keep Tyrod around as he gives him mobility and already knows the system, but after having Tyrod sit on the bench when he initially got healthy may have soured Tyrod enough that he will seek opportunities elsewhere this offseason.
- DT/DE Denico Autry (Tennessee)- 1 year/8 million (3 million guaranteed)
The new Jihad Ward, but at the A'Shawn Robinson pay rate. 28.5 sacks over three years with newly hired DC Bowen at Tennessee. Can help teach younger guys the defense and vocabulary plus be an effective force along the D-Line. Will just come down to numbers, but I expect Autry to follow Bowen to NY.
- CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (Tennessee)- 1 year/ 5 million (2.5 million guaranteed)
I think his first choice is Dane Jackson, but when he returns to Buffalo Joe quickly turns his attention to Bowen's former player. Making a little over half the deal guaranteed is what gets Bunting to choose NY instead of signing with a quote unquote contender, like Buffalo, instead. Still young and effective, I would have signed Sean last offseason. Signs to be the team’s new slot CB/veteran presence in the locker despite being just 27 years old. Flott played well when asked to be the #2 guy after Tre Hawkins failed to seize his opportunity with Adoree sidelined. Flott and Hawkins can again compete to be #2 guy to Banks while Murphy-Bunting man's the slot.
- RB Zack Moss (Indianapolis)- 1 year/ 3.5 million
Joe goes back to a player he likely knows quite well. Part of the regime who drafted Zack in the third round in Buffalo, Moss was traded the same year Joe got his chance at being the GM. He did not really produce much in Buffalo under Dabs as OC, but unless he really rubbed them the wrong way during their time together in Western NY, I would not be surprised to see Moss signed to take over the Breida role this offseason, regardless of what happens with Barkley. As is, they can pitch Zack on the idea of starting in NY to help get him to sign.
CAP: 17 million
Still not enough CAP space for rookies or the other moves necessary during the season, so Joe will have to figure out ways to get creative with his CAP if he can't get X signed long term. He may have to push money on Daniel's deal which he sure won't want to do. Instead…
Joe deals Darius Slayton to Buffalo for their 4th round pick, freeing up an additional 6 million in CAP. I personally don’t think that the Giants should deal Slayton, but I do believe they target WR at #6 and cut ties with Slayton to save on the CAP. Hyatt is a cheaper option, who is similar style and Joe’s draft pick.
CAP: 23 million
2024 NFL Draft:
#6. WR Brian Thomas III, LSU
I prefer Keon Coleman, and Nabers is currently the favorite to be the choice if Schoen stays at #6. I think after combine and pro days in which Thomas measures in with ridonkulus height/length/speed, people will envision the next DK Metcalf and Thomas will become a top 10 prospect just behind Marvin Harrison Jr. Might even be ahead of him on some boards come end of April.
#39. OT Tallies Fuaga, Oregon State
Debuted on Mel Kiper big board and I think it shocked a bunch of average fans into thinking Fuaga is a first round prospect. He's not. He's a fourth round prospect. I would much prefer Patrick Paul here if the rumors reporting a switch for Neal to guard are accurate. I'm not Joe so Tallies it is.
52. RB Blake Corum, Michigan
Blake is a fine prospect, and he's a fine selection in the second round. He is not, however, Saquon good at football. Moss and Corum won't make thr Giants feel like they are right in their choice to let Barkley walk. Daniel better have a rebound year because the Giants just somehow got worse at running the ball...
3. DT Leonard Taylor, Miami
He flashed two years, but after an injury filled 2023 he should have went back to school. Not a bad selection, and should hopefully develop into a solid player along the dline, but could have been a high second round pick after a good senior year for the Canes.
4. Caelen Carson, Wake Forest
Played well for Deacons, but in his only match up with a true NFL caliber receiver, Keon Coleman took him to the clinic. Carson getting drafted will come down to how he runs at the Combine/his Pro day. He runs low 4.4, and he will likely getting selected on day 2, 4.5-4.6 day 3, and any slower than that he likely slides to undrafted status.
4*. TE/FB Ben Sinnott, Kansas State
In the selection attained from Buffalo via the Darius Slayton trade, the Giants target a different type of offensive skill player to add to the roster. An H-Back in that Kyle Juczsyk mold that can help in both the run and short passing game. CB
5. OT Brandon Coleman, TCU
Started as a guard before playing tackle at Texas Christian. He has good size but lacks a little bit in the athleticism department. In a loaded OT draft class, I think he slips a little bit. Could surprise and become a starter in a couple years, either at RT of inside at G.
6. WR Cole Burgess, Cortland State
This is not actually going to happen, but I will continue to mock it into existence until we are onto next year's mocks. Burgess may have only gone to DIII Cortland State, but he can play in the pros. No doubt about it in my mind.
QB: Daniel Jones, Joe Flacco, Tommy DeVito
RB: Blake Corum, AJ Dillon, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell
WR: Brian Thomas Jr., Wan'Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Isaiah Hodgins, Gunner Olszewski, Cole Burgess
TE: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Ben Sinnott
OT: Andrew Thomas, Tallies Fuaga, Josh Euzudu, Brandon Coleman
OG: Evan Neal, Jon Runyan Jr., Markus McKethan
OC: John Michael-Schmitz, Ben Bredeson
NT: Dexter Lawrence, D.J. Davidson
DE: Denico Autry, Jordan Riley, Leonard Taylor, Rakeem Nunez-Roches,
OLB: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Isaiah Simmons, Boogie Basham Jr.
ILB: Bobby Okereke, Micah McFadden, Carter Coughlin, Darrian Beavers
CB: Deonte Banks, Cor'Dale Flott, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tre Hawkins, Nick McCloud, Caelen Carson
S: Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Dane Belton, Gervarrius Owens
K: Graham Gano
P: Jamie Gillan
LS: Casey Kreiter
*One spot open for the surprise UDFA