Xavier McKinney is set to begin the final year of his rookie contract, and a new deal will not be coming until after it expires. Giants general manager Joe Schoen confirmed that the team will let the starting safety play out the 2023 season before discussing a new deal.
It was reported last month that no extension talks had taken place, foreshadowing Schoen’s declaration that none will be coming soon. McKinney has become as a key member of New York’s defense, showcasing considerable production (93 tackles, five interceptions in 2021) and emerging as a leader for the unit. Two of his three seasons in the league have been shortened by injuries, however, which will limit his leverage when negotiations commence.
The Giants currently have just under $5.4MM in cap space, the fourth-lowest figure in the league. Given that McKinney is due to carry a cap hit of only $2.67MM in 2023, however, there would be little (if any) immediate upside to working out a multi-year deal with respect to freeing up funds. As a result, the 24-year-old will need to wait until after the season to begin talks on a new agreement keeping him in the Big Apple.
“X is a leader, he was a captain last year, he had the unfortunate incident, but he is a young player with upside,” Schoen said during an appearance on WFAN’s Evan & Tiki program. “We’ll have to see where we are” (h/t Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post).
McKinney was limited to nine regular season games last year due to an ATV accident, though he was able to return in time for the playoffs. The former second-rounder had a down year in terms of coverage statistics and PFF evaluation compared to previous campaigns, which could help explain the Giants’ reticence to make a long-term commitment at this point. New York made multiple attempts to re-sign fellow safety starter Julian Love, but he ultimately went to Seattle on a less lucrative contract.
Seeing McKinney walk next offseason would leave the Giants in need of another replacement on the backend, but Schoen’s remarks make it clear the team would prefer to avoid that scenario. The Alabama product is still in their long-term plans, provided common ground can be found after the season (one in which his market value could change significantly, based on his availability and performance) has been played out.
“We don’t have a lot of cap space to do much more,” Schoen added. “I think our pockets are empty. But he’s a guy who is important to us, that we’d like to be here long term. We’ll see how it plays out through the season. If we can get something done down the road, he’s somebody we’d like to have here.”