The Giants doled out a few big-ticket contracts in free agency during Dave Gettleman‘s final years as GM, handing out deals to James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. Those contracts are among those that have pushed the Giants over the projected 2022 salary cap. The Giants are more than $11MM over the cap, and GM Joe Schoen told NBC Sports’ Peter King last month he wants to clear about $40MM in cap space before the start of the new league year.
“It’s a concern, and it’s real. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made,” Schoen said recently, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.
Some cap-casualty candidates include Martinez, Sterling Shepard and Kyle Rudolph. Despite Martinez delivering his usual high-end tackle production in 2020, the veteran linebacker suffered an ACL tear in September. Martinez might need to take a pay cut to stay, Vacchiano offers, though the 28-year-old linebacker is only attached to an $8.4MM salary. Cutting Martinez would save the Giants more than $8MM, while an expected Rudolph ouster will add $5MM to that total. As a post-June 1 cut, Shepard’s release saves nearly $9MM. Shepard is the Giants’ longest-tenured player, arriving as a second-round 2016 pick, but has battled injuries for much of his career. Bradberry serves as Big Blue’s No. 1 cornerback, though Vacchiano adds he should not be considered a lock to be part of next year’s team. A post-June 1 designation makes a Bradberry release worth $13MM. Of course, the Giants would run into a major cornerback need in the event they cut Bradberry. The ex-Panther’s three-year, $45MM deal expires after next season.
Here is the latest from the rebuilding team:
- Schoen will not retain one of Gettlemen’s top front office lieutenants. Co-director of player personnel Mark Koncz is not coming back, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy (on Twitter). Koncz followed Gettleman to New York in 2017, doing so after spending nearly 25 years with the Panthers. Koncz worked with Carolina before the franchise’s 1995 debut and stayed on through a few GMs, finishing up his tenure as the Panthers’ director of pro scouting from 2000-2017.
- More new staffers are bound for New York. The expected hire of ex-Ravens outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins indeed took place, with the Giants also hiring ex-Bills assistant John Egorugwu to coach their inside ‘backers. Egorugwu, 35, was on Sean McDermott‘s staff for four years before spending the 2021 season at Vanderbilt. The first name mentioned as a staff candidate once Don Martindale took over as Giants DC, Wilkins, 34, worked with the Ravens for 10 years and spent the past two as their outside linebackers coach.
- The Giants are also adding to Brian Daboll‘s staff from the college ranks, hiring DeAndre Smith as their new running backs coach. Smith comes from Texas Tech and has never coached in the NFL before, spending more than 20 seasons at the college level. This move comes after the Giants offered the job to ex-Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (on Twitter). Notre Dame just hired McCullough, who spent the 2021 season at Indiana after coaching the Chiefs’ running backs for the previous three years, for new HC Marcus Freeman’s staff.