The Giants were among the most active teams during the free agent period, spending freely on the open market and handing nearly $200MM in contracts to veterans Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Damon Harrison. But with the regular season approaching, the club is turning its attention to incumbent players, and have had discussions about hammering out extensions for offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, general manager Jerry Reese told reporters, including James Kratch of NJ.com (Twitter link), today.
Pugh is under team control for two more seasons, as the Giants announced earlier this year that they would exercise Pugh’s fifth-year option for the 2017 campaign. As such, Pugh will earn abut $1.5MM during the upcoming season before making $8.821MM in 2017, meaning New York has its 2013 first-round pick locked up for a relative bargain. But if the Giants want to extend Pugh beyond next year, they’ll likely have to offer him an increase, likely working off that $8MM figure.
In his age-25 season, Pugh started 14 games at left guard after spending the first two years of his career dabbling (and struggling) at tackle. The move inside worked extraordinarily well, and Pugh helped New York’s offensive line to finish sixth in adjusted sack rate and 11th in adjusted line yards. Among left guard contracts, Pugh’s $8.821MM 2017 salary would rank second only to Kelechi Osemele‘s $11.7MM annual rate, and any negotiations would likely revolve around an $8MM average.
Like Pugh, Richburg has performed much better after undergoing a position change, as he transitioned to his natural center spot after playing guard as a rookie in 2014. The 25-year-old played the most snaps of any Giants offensive lineman, and graded out as the league’s third-best center, according to Pro Football Focus. However, because he was a 2014 draft pick, Richburg can’t renegotiate his deal under after the 2016 season, so any “discussions” New York management has had about extending him must have been internal and merely hypothetical.
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