Andrew Thomas

Injury Updates: Lions, Garoppolo, Giants

The Lions suffered a lopsided defeat against the Ravens on Sunday, but plenty of attention after the game was paid to rookie running back Mohamed Ibrahim after he exited the contest as a result of an awkward collision.

The 25-year-old Baltimore native was injured on a kick return – his first touch of the ball in his NFL career. He was placed on a stretcher before being carted off the field. Ibrahim immediately underwent surgery to repair his dislocated hip and he will remain in hospital overnight, as detailed by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Head coach Dan Campbell said Ibrahim is expected to be OK as a result of the procedure, but he obviously encountered an unfortunate situation and will now face an unwanted recovery process. The Minnesota alum’s absence could be acutely felt on the RB depth chart given the Lions are already without veteran David Montgomery for the time being.

Here are some other injury updates from around the league:

  • The Raiders used both veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday in a game where the offense struggled en route to a loss to the Bears. The latter has already missed a pair of games in his debut season in Vegas, but a quick turnaround from his back ailment should be forthcoming. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Garoppolo is expected to be available for the Raiders’ next game, a Monday night tilt against the Lions in Week 8. The veteran hasn’t had the start to his tenure in Sin City that he would have wanted, so pressure will be on he and the team whenever he is cleared to return.
  • Still dealing with a number of injuries on offense, the Giants pulled off a win against the Commanders in Week 7, and a boost along the offensive line could be on the way. The team is eyeing a return for left tackle Andrew Thomas next week, Schefter reports. Such a development would mark an end to a six-game absence for the former first-round pick, something which has exacerbated injury and performance issues elsewhere along the O-line for the Giants. Thomas (who has been battling a hamstring issue) signed a five-year, $117.5MM extension in July, confirming his status as a franchise cornerstone for the foreseeable future, so his return will be welcomed.
  • Returning to injuries from today’s action, Packers tight end Luke Musgrave was in a walking boot as he left the locker room, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes. The second-round rookie was wearing it on his left foot, and testing on it will be worth watching in the coming days. Musgrave is one of many first- or second-year pass-catchers in place for Green Bay, a team which has struggled recently on offense. The Oregon State alum has personally carved out a role for himself, though, receiving 16 targets in the three games leading up to Week 7 and another five in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. Musgrave has totaled 189 scoreless yards to date in his debut season, and any absence would be felt amongst the other inexperienced options available at the TE spot.

Daniel Jones Avoids Serious Neck Injury; Giants QB To Miss Week 6

OCTOBER 13: Daboll confirmed the previous suspicions; Jones will not play in Week 6. The fifth-year quarterback has not practiced this week, having not received medical clearance. While this is not believed to be a serious injury, Jones’ 2021 absences and 2022 neck surgery make this a must-monitor situation. Taylor, the Bills’ starter for three seasons, will face his former team Sunday night.

OCTOBER 12: A neck injury ended Daniel Jones‘ 2021 season, leading to one of the worst stretches in Giants history. That Jones-less period ended with Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman losing their jobs. While Jones bounced back last season and now has a big-ticket contract, he is again battling a neck injury.

Jones left the Giants’ Week 5 loss to the Dolphins, and while he has expressed optimism, he added (via’s Jordan Raanan) he is not yet cleared to practice. The Giants are likely to start Tyrod Taylor against the Bills on Sunday night, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.

Although Jones is moving toward missing Week 6, he does not believe this is shaping up as a long-term concern. X-rays and a follow-up examination produced a positive outlook, the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz tweets. The former top-10 pick missed the Giants’ final six games in 2021 and underwent surgery. Brian Daboll said Jones has experienced lingering soreness, and considering the Giants’ present state and what they have invested in Jones, it would make little sense to rush him back.

I think it’s a different injury, a different circumstance,” Jones said, via Leonard. “So I’m not really comparing it to that a couple years ago. But this was the advice from the doctors and trainers, so I’m gonna follow that.”

The Giants have discussed adding another veteran QB, Schwartz notes. Only former UDFA Tommy DeVito is in place — on the practice squad — behind Taylor. The Giants have used Taylor, Colt McCoy and Mike Glennon as their backups over the past four seasons. The move from McCoy to Glennon in 2021 helped key that brutal season-closing span that ended with Judge’s ouster. Taylor is one of the NFL’s most experienced backups, making his name as a three-year Bills starter. The Giants have the 13th-year veteran on a two-year, $11MM deal.

Despite not picking up Jones’ fifth-year option in 2022, the Giants circled back to him via a four-year, $160MM accord just before the March deadline to apply franchise tags. They were the first team to decline a QB’s fifth-year option and then re-sign him. The 11th-hour signing prevented the team from needing to tag Jones, allowing a Saquon Barkley tag. The Giants, however, have not followed up their divisional-round surge with competency. They are 1-4, rank 31st in scoring offense and have allowed Jones to be sacked 16 times over the past two games. Given the state of Big Blue’s offensive line, Jones being sent back out there at less than 100% would be a strange ask.

The Giants are unlikely to have Andrew Thomas back, per Schwartz. The All-Pro left tackle has missed four games with a hamstring injury, suffering a setback midway through his recovery process. They played last week without starting center John Michael Schmitz and fill-in guard Shane Lemieux.

Latest On Giants’ Offensive Line

Andrew Thomas‘ absence was glaringly visible on a historically bad pass-protection night. The Giants’ 11 sacks allowed set a Monday Night Football record, with backup left tackle Joshua Ezeudu struggling as the Seahawks padded their total late in the rout.

The Giants are expected to be without Thomas against the Dolphins as well. Brian Daboll said he is leaning no on the All-Pro left tackle coming back for Week 5. Thomas sustained a setback on his way back from the strained hamstring he suffered in Week 1, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. This will make four straight absences.

Ezeudu, who worked as a backup left tackle during parts of training camp, was expected to win one of the guard battles this summer. But those went to Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski. Though, the team’s setup inside has changed as well. Despite signing a three-year deal worth $18.3MM, Glowinski has endured multiple demotions this season. The Giants benched the longtime Colts starter after his Week 1 struggles, and the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy notes the veteran has been bumped to the bottom of the depth chart.

New York demoted Glowinski a second time during Week 2, and he did not play an offensive snap in Week 3. Bredeson and 2022 fifth-round pick Marcus McKethan, who missed all of his rookie year due to an ACL tear, opened Week 4 as Big Blue’s guard starters. Pro Football Focus ranks all three blockers outside the top 55 among guards. Shane Lemieux started ahead of Glowinski in Week 3 but suffered a groin injury Monday. The door keeps reopening for Glowinski, a four-year Colts right guard starter whom PFF viewed as a top-30 guard in his first Giants season. A 2024 release seems likely at this point, however. That move will save the Giants $5.7MM.

The Giants did not invest much in guards this offseason, having signed Glowinski in March 2022 and drafted Ezeudu in Round 3 a month later. No answers have come for the team, which has also seen right tackle Evan Neal continue to struggle. This allowed for Seahawks target practice on Daniel Jones on Monday night, and the Giants have since added Justin Pugh. The former 2013 Giants draftee joined the practice squad, but given the team’s guard state, the five-year Cardinals starter should be expected to be elevated soon.

Some additional shuffling became required after center John Michael Schmitz suffered a shoulder injury on the Giants’ failed “Tush Push”-style QB sneak. Adding insult to injury, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes tight end Daniel Bellinger sustained an MCL strain on that play. While Bellinger’s injury is seen as moderate, the Giants losing two regulars on that play — after only previously repping it in a walkthrough setting — compounds the troubles they are experiencing up front.

Matt Peart resides as the only other tackle on the Giants’ roster, in the event the team benches Ezeudu. Thomas, who is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid O-lineman after signing a $23.5MM-per-year extension this summer, is on track to match his career high for single-season absences. He missed four games in 2021 as well.

Saquon Barkley Suffers Ankle Sprain; Giants RB Facing Multi-Week Absence

SEPTEMBER 21: While previous reports indicated the contrary, Barkley confirmed tonight that he did indeed suffer a high ankle sprain, per Thursday Night Football’s Taylor Rooks (h/t Pat Leonard of New York Daily News).

The running back admitted that his injury isn’t as serious as it could have been, and he said that his absence from tonight’s game was more due to pain tolerance. Barkley also pointed out that New York’s next game is in 11 days, so he’ll have some extra time to get right before Week 4. While Barkley wouldn’t guarantee only a one-game absence, it certainly sounds like he’s leaving that door open.

SEPTEMBER 20: Although Brian Daboll stopped short of ruling out Barkley earlier this week, the Giants have done so Wednesday. Barkley will at least miss one 49ers game, but Jeremy Fowler of confirms the sixth-year veteran is not battling a high ankle sprain. That stands to shorten his time away.

The Giants will also be without Andrew Thomas for a second straight game, and left guard Ben Bredeson‘s concussion will keep him out of Big Blue’s Thursday-night tilt. Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari will also be down for the Giants.

SEPTEMBER 18: Saquon Barkley was sidelined for the final offensive play of the Giants’ Week 2 comeback victory, and it was feared after the game he would be dealing with a serious ankle injury. The worst-case scenario has been avoided, but he is nevertheless set to miss time.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that an MRI revealed an “ordinary” ankle sprain for the Pro Bowl back. As a result, Barkley is expected to miss roughly three weeks. At a minimum, that will keep him sidelined for the team’s upcoming Thursday night contest against the 49ers.

Barkley played all but one snap in New York’s surprise win against the Cardinals, proving his importance to the team’s offense. Given his heavy workload, replacing him will be a tall order for the Giants as they look to rebound from the struggles suffered in the first six quarters of their season. That task will fall to Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell and Eric Gray.

After initially representing the team’s higher priority with respect to a long-term extension, Barkley saw quarterback Daniel Jones ink a four-year, $160MM pact in March. That allowed the Giants to use the franchise tag on the former No. 2 pick, though extension talks continued through to the deadline for players hit with the one-year tender. No deal materialized, with Barkley turning down offers which increased in AAV at the expense of guarantees.

In the end, a training camp holdout was avoided with the parties agreeing to a small incentive package which allows Barkley’s 2023 compensation to max out at $11MM. Individual statistical performances, along with team success, is required for his earnings to reach the maximum value, though, so any missed time is signficant from a financial outlook.

With Barkley unavailable for the time being, the Giants’ ground game will look much different. He leads the team in rushing yards with 114, putting him slightly ahead of Jones. Breida and Brightwell have combined for 19 yards on four carries, but an increased role for at least one of them will be necessary moving forward. An IR stint for Barkley is unlikely given his recovery timeline, but New York will no doubt proceed with caution with the 26-year-old given his status as an offensive focal point.

Giants Did Not Look Into High-Priced FA Guards; LT Andrew Thomas Out For Week 2

SEPTEMBER 17: Thomas is indeed inactive for Sunday’s game, as the Giants will play it safe with their blindside blocker. An improved performance compared to Week 1 will be needed up front for New York, but their O-line will be shorthanded against the Cardinals.

SEPTEMBER 14: First- or second-round picks are stationed at both tackle spots and center along the Giants’ offensive line, but middling guard investments join the Andrew ThomasEvan NealJohn Michael Schmitz trio. Against the Cowboys, the Giants’ O-line plan did not hold up.

Dallas’ top-tier pass rush sacked Daniel Jones seven times and tallied 15 quarterback hits in the 40-0 drubbing Sunday night. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric graded both Neal and right guard Mark Glowinski in the bottom three at their respective positions in Week 1, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan notes.

The team used Glowinski and Ben Bredeson as its guard starters. This came after a lengthy competition, one that featured 2022 third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu vying for a role. The Giants expected Ezeudu to beat out Bredeson, a 2021 trade acquisition, for the left guard job, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post notes. This optimism helped influence the Giants to not pursue a notable free agency guard addition. The team had been mentioned as interested in retaining Nick Gates, but the Commanders signed him and deployed the ex-Giants starter at center in Week 1.

The Giants preferred to devote funds to retaining their own talent this offseason, giving Jones, Thomas and Dexter Lawrence pricey extensions. Saquon Barkley‘s $10.1MM franchise tag also limited how Big Blue could devote its free agency dollars. The team had also given Glowinski a three-year, $18.3MM deal ($11.4MM guaranteed) in 2022. Despite Pro Football Focus rating Glowinski as a top-30 guard last year, the Giants held a three-way guard battle in training camp. The 31-year-old blocker kept his RG gig but enters Week 2 under a microscope after his showing against the Cowboys.

Outside options do exist at guard for the Giants. Justin Pugh, who began his career with the team and started at guard and tackle following a 2013 first-round investment, has expressed interest in rejoining the team. Pugh, 33, is coming off a torn ACL sustained in October of last year. The five-year Cardinals starter said he was eyeing a Giants return in August, though the Syracuse alum has not been closely tied to a team since he received clearance to resume football work.

Oddly, Dalton Risner also remains a free agent. The four-year Broncos starter entered free agency as, at worst, a second-tier option at guard. But he did not sign anywhere and took the surprising path of remaining unattached entering the year. A handful of teams showed interest in Risner, who may well be waiting for an injury to shake up a team’s O-line plans. The 28-year-old blocker probably qualifies as the top option available.

Elsewhere on New York’s O-line, Thomas is battling a strained hamstring. An MRI revealed the All-Pro left tackle avoided a serious setback, per Raanan, but it is possible he misses some time. Injured after the Giants’ botched field goal attempt that resulted in a Cowboys TD, Thomas did not practice Wednesday. This offseason, the Giants gave the 2020 first-rounder a five-year, $117.5MM deal that sits second among tackles.

Matt Peart, a 2020 third-round pick, sits as the Giants’ swing tackle, though Schwartz adds Ezeudu has taken LT reps in practice over the past two weeks. Ezeudu spent time at tackle while at North Carolina. Moving to left tackle after failing to win a starting guard job in his second training camp might make be a stretch. Peart has not made a start since 2021; the UConn alum has six career starts.

Giants Extend LT Andrew Thomas

Although the Giants had the opportunity to keep Andrew Thomas on his rookie contract through the 2024 season, they will add the ascending left tackle to their list of newly extended talents. Thomas agreed to terms on a five-year extension Wednesday morning.

After giving Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence big-ticket deals earlier this year, Big Blue is coming in with a deal that will make Thomas the NFL’s second-highest-paid offensive lineman. Thomas signed a five-year, $117.5MM extension, Adam Schefter of reports. While Thomas’ deal falls short of Laremy Tunsil‘s $25MM-AAV mark that emerged earlier this year, Schefter adds the fourth-year blocker secured an O-line-record $67MM guaranteed. The Giants have announced the extension.

The Giants selected Thomas fourth overall in 2020 and picked up his fifth-year option in the spring. During an offseason in which the team was unable to come to terms with Saquon Barkley on a long-term agreement, the Giants have reached extension pacts with three more Dave Gettleman-era cornerstones. Joe Schoen has authorized a $40MM-per-year Jones deal and a $22.5MM-AAV Lawrence re-up. Two months after Lawrence’s agreement, Thomas is now the Giants’ second-highest-paid player.

These terms come after Thomas built on his 2021 rebound season last year, earning his first All-Pro nod. The Georgia alum earned second-team All-Pro acclaim for his work in the Giants’ surprise playoff season. After struggling as a rookie, Thomas has become the Giants’ cornerstone left tackle. This agreement solidifies that status.

The prospect of an early Thomas extension surfaced in April, but teams as a rule wait until first-rounders’ contract years before reaching long-term agreements. Several players have bucked that trend, though the Giants had never previously made such an investment. But Thomas, 24, joined that group Wednesday. In the fifth-year option era, Thomas is only the fifth tackle to sign an extension with two rookie-contract years remaining.

Instead of being tied to a $1MM base salary and a $4MM roster bonus for 2023, Thomas beat Ronnie Stanley‘s guarantee mark by nearly $3MM. That is an impressive feat, considering the Ravens left tackle’s guaranteed-at-signing term paced the field by nearly $15MM. Thomas’ AAV comes in just ahead of Trent Williams‘ $23MM number, which the 49ers signed off on in March 2021. With the salary cap on the rise, Thomas will be one of the players to benefit.

It took Thomas giving up considerable control over his career to make this windfall possible, however. This extension locks down the Giants’ cornerstone left tackle through the 2029 season. Tunsil has twice managed to secure market-resetting extensions on three-year accords, and while Thomas could have increased his leverage by entering a contract year in 2024, the Giants put together an early proposal he could not refuse. Thomas’ 2023 cap hit will drop from $10.3MM to around $5MM, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets.

Struggling to fill their left tackle post since their Super Bowl XLVI group splintered in the early 2010s, the Giants have seen their Thomas bet pay off. The team had used a top-10 pick on Ereck Flowers and given Nate Solder a position-record deal in March 2018. Neither move worked. When Solder opted out of the 2020 season, that opened the door for Thomas, who initially was set to begin his career at right tackle. When Solder returned in 2021, Thomas did not move off his blindside spot.

After Thomas’ rough rookie season, Pro Football Focus graded him as a top-20 tackle in 2021. Last season, PFF ranked Thomas third among all tackles; ESPN’s pass block win rate metric slotted him 10th at the position. The Giants will bet on many more productive years, and Thomas will take the early cash rather than try the Tunsil approach. Due to this agreement, it will be a while before Thomas becomes an extension candidate again. He, Lawrence and Jones are each signed through at least 2026.

Giants Pick Up LT Andrew Thomas’ Fifth-Year Option

The Giants had one of the easier decisions to make with respect to today’s deadline on fifth-year options. As expected, they have exercised the option on left tackle Andrew Thomas, per a team announcement.

The 24-year old will now be on the books for at least the next two seasons, with a 2024 cap hit of $14.175MM. That figure is lowered by the fact that Thomas has yet to earn a Pro Bowl nod, but all-star appearances could be in his future considering his career ascent. His level of play in 2022 has put him squarely on the radar for a long-term deal.

Such a move could come later this offseason, a reflection of how the Georgia alum is viewed by the Giants’ front office. Thomas has taken a considerable step forward in terms of PFF evaluation in each of his three seasons, developing from a player who appeared to have been a reach at No. 4 overall to one of the game’s best pass protectors. He earned a stellar overall grade of 90.3 in 2022, ranking him third amongst qualifying tackles.

The 2020 first-round class has seen a mixed bag of results with options being picked up or declined, including along the offensive line. Thomas has proven to be a worthwhile investment for the Giants, a team which has both he and quarterback Daniel Jones in place for multiple seasons (along with another foundational piece, running back Saquon Barkley, in the fold for at least the 2023 campaign on the franchise tag).

A long-term Thomas accord will be worth far more than the price of the option next year, with Laremy Tunsil‘s latest Texans deal (three years, $75MM) considered by many to be the floor for any agreement. At a minimum, Thomas can be expected to become only the fourth blindside blocker in the league to reach the $20MM-per-year mark. If negotiations stall out this summer, the Giants will have an extended period to get a contract worked out with the anchor of their offensive front down the road.

2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2020 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the third-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($29.5MM): Exercised
  2. DE Chase Young, Commanders ($17.45MM): Declined
  3. CB Jeff Okudah, Falcons* ($11.51MM): N/A
  4. T Andrew Thomas, Giants ($14.18MM): Exercised
  5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($23.2MM): Exercised
  6. QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($29.5MM): Exercised
  7. DT Derrick Brown, Panthers ($11.67MM): Exercised 
  8. LB Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals ($12.72MM): Declined
  9. CB C.J. Henderson, Jaguars** ($11.51MM): Declined
  10. T Jedrick Wills, Browns ($14.18MM): Exercised
  11. T Mekhi Becton, Jets ($12.57MM): Declined
  12. WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders: N/A
  13. T Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers ($18.24MM): Exercised
  14. DT Javon Kinlaw, 49ers ($10.46MM): Declined
  15. WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14.12MM): Exercised
  16. CB AJ Terrell, Falcons ($12.34MM): Exercised
  17. WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($17.99MM): Exercised
  18. OL Austin Jackson, Dolphins ($14.18MM): Declined
  19. CB Damon Arnette, Raiders: N/A
  20. DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars ($12.14MM): Declined
  21. WR Jalen Reagor, Vikings*** ($12.99MM): To decline
  22. WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($19.74MM): Exercised
  23. LB Kenneth Murray, Chargers ($11.73MM): Declined
  24. G Cesar Ruiz, Saints ($14.18MM): Declined
  25. WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($14.12MM): Exercised
  26. QB Jordan Love, Packers ($20.27MM): Extended through 2024
  27. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks ($12.72MM): Declined
  28. LB Patrick Queen, Ravens ($12.72MM): Declined
  29. T Isaiah Wilson, Titans: N/A
  30. CB Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins ($11.51MM): Declined
  31. CB Jeff Gladney, Vikings: N/A
  32. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs ($5.46MM): To decline

* = Lions traded Okudah on April 11, 2023
** = Jaguars traded Henderson on Sept. 27, 2021
*** = Eagles traded Reagor on August 31, 2022

Giants Interested In Early Andrew Thomas Extension

Just as David Bakhtiari and Trent Williams benefited from Laremy Tunsil‘s first Texans extension, a younger crop of left tackles will move into that position after Houston locked down its left-sider once again.

Tunsil signed a three-year, $75MM deal to once again raise the ceiling at his position. Not only is Tunsil the NFL’s highest-paid left tackle, only two other offensive linemen — Williams and Bakhtiari — come within $4MM in AAV of Houston’s top blocker. Teams could look to categorize Tunsil’s latest deal as an outlier, but as younger tackles move into position for extensions, this contract — for a 29-year-old lineman — will undoubtedly become a discussion point.

This will now affect the Giants. Tunsil’s AAV will be the floor for Andrew Thomas, according to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (subscription required). The Giants will have the 2020 first-round pick under contract for two more seasons — once they pick up his fifth-year option by May — but Duggan adds the team is interested in extending its ascending left tackle early.

A 2023 extension for Thomas, 24, would be a move slightly out of step with teams’ strategies with young tackles. But not all of them. Between 2011-19, 13 first-round tackles signed extensions. Of those, four did so with two years of rookie-contract control remaining (Kolton Miller, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, Tyron Smith). And Smith’s Cowboys extension — which somehow remains an active contract, despite it being signed in 2014 — was an outlier due to its eight-year length. The rest of the extended tackles signed deals in their contract years.

The Giants have Dexter Lawrence as a 2023 extension priority, with the cornerstone defensive tackle going into his fifth-year option season, and are carrying a $10.1MM Saquon Barkley franchise tag. The Giants also have Leonard Williams attached to a $32.3MM cap number in the third and final year of his contract. These matters being unresolved would point to the team tabling Thomas’ extension to 2024. (The team holds just $2.2MM in cap space.) Precedent, for the most part, would make this the more logical conclusion. The left tackle market also might not move too much between now and the ’24 offseason, with no high-end blindsiders entering contract years.

That said, the salary cap will make another jump in 2024. And another strong Thomas season would bolster his value. As such, the Giants — should they extend Barkley to reduce his 2023 cap number — could offer Thomas a non-market-topping extension this offseason and put him to a decision of taking it or betting on himself moving into a stronger negotiating position in 2024.

This represents a good problem for the Giants, who struggled to staff this position for years. The Ereck Flowers No. 9 overall pick did not pan out, and the team’s Nate Solder free agency overpay did not solve the issue, either. Thomas struggled as a rookie but graded as a top-20 tackle, per Pro Football Focus, in 2021. Last season, the Georgia product earned second-team All-Pro acclaim and moved onto the radar for a top-tier extension.

The Giants’ O-line makeup should allow the team to fit a Thomas extension onto the payroll. The team does not have another upper-crust O-line contract on the books, and right tackle Evan Neal‘s first-round deal runs through 2025 (2026 if his option ends up being exercised). The team has this position checked off, at long last, and Thomas will be a key factor in Daniel Jones‘ success on his new contract. Barring injury, Thomas will be in excellent position to cash in — perhaps on a market-resetting deal.

Giants Notes: McKinney, Gono, Cunningham, Bonuses

Xavier McKinney enjoyed a career year in his second NFL season, leading the Giants with five interceptions. The former second-rounder figures to remain a bright spot on the team, but some aspects of the defense under ex-DC Patrick Graham were the subject of remarks the young safety recently made.

In conversation with Steve Serby of the New York Post, McKinney noted a marked difference in practices since the arrival of Graham’s replacement, Don Martindale, particularly in the level of communication between players and coaches. “We didn’t really have much of that these last two years, and that was a big problem,” he said. “That came with obviously a lot of like everything didn’t look organized. Even defensively there were times we played good, but sometimes the communication wasn’t there, and that’s because everybody was kind of on different… it was a lot of different things going on.

“[Under Martindale] we don’t have to worry about making a mistake on a third down or a fourth down or something like that… and I think that’s what we’ve missed obviously the past two years… I think everybody could tell you on the defensive side everybody was so afraid of being the one to make the mistake instead of just actually going out there and playing.”

The Giants ranked 21st and 23rd, respectively, last season in terms of yards and points allowed per game last season – something McKinney will look to help the team improve on moving forward, and which could be made easier with a new voice on the sidelines. Graham is now the Raiders’ DC.

Here are some other notes concerning Big Blue:

  • Earlier this week, the Giants placed offensive tackle Matt Gono on the exempt/left squad list due to an undisclosed injury. It turns out that the neck injury which caused that absence is likely to end his career (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan). The 26-year-old missed all of last season after having neck surgery, so the return of symptoms in practice would make it challenging for him to make his way back onto the field. Scheduled to be the Giants’ swing tackle, his absence could lead to a larger role for 2020 third-rounder Matt Peart, or require the team to find a depth option in free agency.
  • Staying on the theme of offensive lineman, Korey Cunningham will try to earn a roster spot at his natural position, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). The previous coaching staff experimented with a move to tight end for the six-foot-six, 305-pounder, but the new regime led by Brian Daboll will keep him as an o-linemen. The absence of Gono could help him secure a place at the backend of the roster.
  • Earlier this week, Duggan also relayed (on Twitter) that quarterback Daniel Jones and left tackle Andrew Thomas received roster bonuses of $3.2MM and $2.7MM, respectively. 2022 is seen as a make-or-break year for Jones, whose fifth-year option was declined, whereas Thomas could make that same decision easier on the team with a strong performance this campaign.