Xavier McKinney

Giants, Xavier McKinney Table Extension Talks To 2024; Don Martindale Addresses Safety’s Complaint

After hanging onto Xavier McKinney at the trade deadline, the Giants do not have plans to discuss an extension this season. Although Joe Schoen talked terms with Saquon Barkley and Julian Love midway through last season, McKinney will play out his rookie contract.

The fourth-year safety and the Giants mutually agreed to table talks until 2024, according to the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. While the notion of McKinney not being a 2023 extension candidate was previously framed as a Giants call, it appears the safety is interested in potentially exploring free agency.

A 2020 second-round pick, McKinney has been a regular starter for much of his New York career. While he played behind Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan early in his run, the Alabama product spent the 2021 and ’22 seasons as a regular. The Giants have bid farewell to a few safeties during Schoen’s run. They released Ryan and let Peppers walk in free agency last year, and after failed talks to re-sign Love, the team let the 2022 safety starter sign with the Seahawks. The team had expected Love to re-sign but had an eye on McKinney’s future by letting him go.

The Giants have cleared the decks at safety, potentially opening the door to McKinney staying on a second contract. Pro Football Focus grades McKinney’s as the NFL’s No. 30 overall safety through the season’s midpoint. He has stayed healthy thus far this year, though the team may be keen on seeing the 24-year-old defender remain available. Injuries in 2020 and 2022, the latter an ATV accident, kept McKinney off the field for extended stretches. While McKinney returned to action late last season, he missed eight games after being sidelined for 10 as a rookie. In 2021, McKinney played 16 games.

Suddenly, McKinney’s performance may not cover his entire situation. He made postgame comments aimed at the coaching staff. Amid this 2-7 Giants start, McKinney lashed out at a perceived lack of leadership.

Honestly, it sucks. But, I don’t know, man. I don’t really have many words. I think that from a leadership standpoint, I don’t think they’ve done a great job of letting the leaders lead, and listening to the leaders and the captains,” said McKinney, who is a Giants captain (via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan).

It was one of those things where you have some of your leaders, captains from a defensive standpoint, trying to switch things up and just not really being heard.”

Brian Daboll brushed off the notion he is losing the locker room, an issue that accelerated the firings of Ben McAdoo and Joe Judge. Daboll said (via Dunleavy) he meets with Giants captains each Friday. When asked about McKinney’s comments Thursday, second-year DC Don Martindale said the statement did hurt him, according to the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. Though, the veteran defensive coach said the parties have cleared up the matter.

It surprised me, because it’s the first time in my career that a player would make a statement like that,” Martindale said. “I think it was a case where the kid was just frustrated with losing. We spoke. We cleared it up. The example that he gave me of what he was talking about was an in-game adjustment. It really took a while for him to point out to me exactly what it was.

“What he explained to me was a coverage that we ran one time. He explained that to me afterward. I didn’t hear about it during the game. That’s another reason why it caught me by surprise. … I just told him that’s something that hurts the locker room, it hurts the defensive room when you say something like that.”

McKinney’s 53 tackles rank second on the Giants, behind Bobby Okereke‘s 80. Ranking last in both scoring and total offense, the Giants sit 21st in points allowed and 24th in total defense this season. DVOA slots Martindale’s unit 26th.

Giants Unlikely To Trade Adoree’ Jackson, Xavier McKinney

Two of the Giants’ secondary starters are in contract years, and after the Leonard Williams deal, sales rumors have surrounded the Giants. Saquon Barkley continues to come up, despite the team’s insistence he will not be moved. Both Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney also loom as potential trade chips.

Jackson’s three-year contract — authorized during Dave Gettleman‘s final year as GM — and McKinney’s rookie deal both expire after the season. The Giants are undoubtedly open for business, but neither player is looking likely to be moved before today’s 3pm deadline. The Giants do not appear to be interested in moving McKinney, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy, who adds the team is also not especially motivated to trade Jackson.

The Jackson situation is a bit more complicated than McKinney’s. At the veteran cornerback’s request, the Giants engaged in offseason extension talks. Though, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano notes those did not progress much. The Giants were not too keen on hammering out an offseason extension. They also would be hit with some dead money, with Monday’s deadline to restructure veteran contracts — to help facilitate trades — having come and gone. The Giants would be hit with a $7.5MM dead-money charge by trading Jackson now, and because the deadline passed, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan adds the team is unlikely to move the former first-round pick.

Jackson, 28, is attached to a three-year, $39MM deal that calls for an $11MM 2023 base salary. With Williams off New York’s balance sheet, Jackson holds the team’s highest cap number ($19.1MM). The Giants will be hit with a near-$3MM dead-money charge if/when Jackson departs as a free agent, thanks to a 2024 void year inserted into the contract via a restructure.

McKinney would figure to generate more interest, given his age (24) and experience. The Giants have moved on from Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan and Julian Love over the past two offseasons, leaving McKinney as a last man standing among the Gettleman-assembled safety corps. The Giants were not interested in discussing an extension with McKinney this offseason, however, leaving some ambiguity about the team’s plans for the former second-round pick’s long-term future.

Pro Football Focus has Jackson rated as one of this season’s worst corners, slotting him outside the top 110 at the position. He committed a crucial pass interference penalty in the ugly overtime loss to the Jets, setting New York’s AFC team up for a short game-winning field goal. The former Titans draftee does not appear to have a post-2023 future in New York, with Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins in place as rookie-contract starters signed through 2026. McKinney’s Big Apple future remains to be seen, but the Giants lost Love after letting him play out a contract year. It will be interesting to see if the Alabama alum is in the Joe Schoen regime’s plans.

Giants Will Not Extend S Xavier McKinney In 2023

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.

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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.”

Giants, S Xavier McKinney Have Not Commenced Extension Talks

The Giants are not believed to have initiated extension talks with safety Xavier McKinney, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). McKinney, a 2020 second-rounder, has accrued three years of service time and is therefore eligible for an extension. If he and the team do not come to terms on a new deal prior to the 2024 league year, he will become an unrestricted free agent (barring the application of the franchise tag).

In his first year as New York’s general manager in 2022, GM Joe Schoen discussed extensions with impending free agents like Saquon Barkley and Julian Love during the bye week. Neither of those negotiations culminated in a new contract, and Barkley was ultimately hit with the franchise tag while Love defected to the Seahawks in free agency. Still, it could be that Schoen prefers to wait until this year’s bye (Week 13) to begin laying the foundation for a second contract for McKinney.

McKinney may also prefer to wait until later in the 2023 season, or even until the end of the season, to engage in talks. In 2022, the Alabama product suffered a broken hand during a midseason ATV accident, and he played in just nine regular season games as a result. His surface-level production naturally dropped as a result of the missed time — for instance, he recorded five interceptions in 2021 versus just one in 2022 — but the underlying metrics also suggested that he took a step back. After earning a strong 75.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 (which included an even better 78.4 coverage score), McKinney was assigned a subpar 57.8 mark in 2022. He also yielded a 93.6 QB rating on passes thrown in his direction last year, which was up significantly from the 72.2 rating he allowed the year before.

As such, his leverage is relatively low at this point, and he may want to take some time to reestablish his value. On the other hand, Duggan suggests that the soon-to-be 24-year-old, who has earned just under $6.5MM through his first three professional seasons and who is due a modest $1.8MM salary in 2023, may be inclined to sign a team-friendly deal in exchange for some financial security. It is unclear what type of payout McKinney will be seeking, though Duggan sees Jalen Thompson‘s three-year extension with the Cardinals — which is worth up to $40MM and which includes $24.5MM in guarantees — as a potential comp.

McKinney remains a key component of the Giants’ defense, and he will be joined by some combination of Nick McCloudBobby McCain, Jason Pinnock, and Dane Belton in the defensive backfield. Earlier this year, we learned that McKinney had retained super-agent David Mulugheta, who represents some of the highest-profile safeties in the game.

Giants Expected S Julian Love To Re-Sign

Given their financial commitments at safety coming into free agency, the Seahawks made a surprising move by signing Julian Love to join Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. The Giants appear to have been surprised as well.

Like they did with Saquon Barkley during what became a narrow in-season negotiation — during the bye week — the Giants made Love an offer believed to be worth more than the two-year, $12MM Seahawks pact Love signed. The Giants then submitted a second offer earlier this year, according to the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, who notes this proposal was worth more than what the team offered midseason.

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When Love chose the Seahawks offer, Schwartz adds the Giants were somewhat surprised. They gave Bobby McCain a one-year deal worth $1.3MM, but the team may still be on the lookout for a safety starter to replace Love alongside Xavier McKinney.

I think I’m a player on the rise and I’m young, so a lot of things were going for me, I felt. Then the market was tough for safeties, that’s just the reality,” Love said recently. “I wouldn’t have expected it, but it was what it was. When Seattle saw where I was at contract-wise, they jumped at the opportunity to bring me on, which is exciting and it makes you feel like you’re wanted in this process. There were a few teams down at the end, but I think the appeal of Seattle was too great for me to pass on.”

No numbers have emerged regarding the Giants’ midseason or offseason Love offers, but this year’s non-Jessie Bates safety market not producing any deals worth at least $8MM per year did not bode too well for Love, even after a strong contract year. The new Giants regime used the same timetable with Love and Saquon Barkley, making an initial fall offer before upping it slightly ahead of free agency. But Barkley ended up being franchise-tagged — the expected outcome in the event a Daniel Jones extension surfaced — and Love hit the market. When free agency opened, the sides were not close on terms; that led to the Seattle visit.

McKinney has missed chunks of two seasons — 2020 and ’22 — but looks to remain in New York’s long-term plans. The former second-round pick could rebound and command a nice raise with a quality contract year, and Schwartz notes the Giants were not going to have Love making more than McKinney on a long-term deal. McKinney is now extension-eligible, but it would make sense for the Alabama alum — considering the ATV accident that cost him seven games last season — to bet on himself raising his value in 2023.

As for Love, he now sits 28th for safety AAV. Vonn Bell, Jordan Poyer, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Donovan Wilson and Juan Thornhill checked in a bit higher on their offseason deals, but Bell’s three-year, $22.5MM Panthers pact was the closest any safety came to Bates’ four-year, $64MM Falcons windfall. Gardner-Johnson signed a one-year deal after turning down a multiyear Eagles offer, joining Love in perhaps overestimating this year’s safety market. Love is expected to play a regular role, regardless of Adams’ health, in Seattle; the Seahawks are planning to use Adams closer to the line of scrimmage more often in 2023.

The Giants have McCain, Dane Belton and Jason Pinnock under contract alongside McKinney. Love took over after the Giants cut Logan Ryan and let Jabrill Peppers walk in 2022. The team has higher priorities entering the draft, and while safety can be considered an auxiliary need, the Giants may rely on McCain or one of their younger holdovers to team with McKinney.

Giants Notes: Jones, Love, McKinney

Earlier this week, we heard that the Giants had not yet engaged in contract talks with quarterback Daniel Jones, who is set to hit free agency in March. The contract statuses of Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, another impending FA, have been intertwined for some time, and while the cost of a nonexclusive franchise tag for Barkley (~$10MM) is much lower than it is for Jones (~$32MM), tagging Barkley would considerably reduce the club’s leverage in its negotiations with Jones, because Jones would then have the power to reject any offer and hit the open market.

As such, it makes sense that GM Joe Schoen has resumed discussions with Barkley and may want to get that matter settled before turning his attention to his signal-caller, whose surprisingly strong 2022 has him in an enviable financial position. Previous reports indicated that New York would be eyeing a $35MM/year contract for the Dave Gettleman draftee, and in speaking with six current or former high-ranking NFL execs, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post says that number sounds about right.

All six experts suggested that a new contract for Jones would feature an AAV between $30MM and $40MM. Of course, guarantees and cash flow are better indicators of the value of an NFL contract than the yearly average, but Jones is in good shape in that regard as well. Dunleavy’s sources suggest that Jones could be in line for $70MM in full guarantees and up to $100MM in total guarantees.

The Brian Daboll/Schoen partnership led to a playoff berth much sooner than many anticipated, and whether or not New York builds on its 2022 success will depend in large part on how it resolves the Jones and Barkley situations. Indeed, the Giants have plenty of other needs, including wide receiver, and even assuming they retain their QB1 and RB1, they will still need to maximize their cap flexibility to prevent regression from a roster that generally overperformed last year.

In addition to outside acquisitions, Schoen has current players not named Jones or Barkley that he may want to take care of. One of those players is safety Julian Love, who saw a massive spike in playing time in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal and who paced Big Blue with 124 tackles. Player and team talked contract during the Giants’ bye week, and Schoen recently reiterated his desire to keep Love in the fold. Per Connor Hughes of SNY.tv, the bye week discussions were fruitful, and it sounds as if a new deal could be on the horizon (Twitter link).

Fellow safety Xavier McKinney missed a chunk of time in 2022 due to a hand injury suffered in an ATV accident, but he has now accrued three years of service time and is therefore eligible for an extension. As Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets, McKinney recently retained super-agent David Mulugheta, who represents some of the highest-profile safeties in the game. With so many other irons in the fire, it remains to be seen if Schoen will commence contract talks with McKinney in the coming weeks, but whenever it does happen, McKinney will be in good hands.

Xavier McKinney Activated From IR

DECEMBER 31: It only took two days into the 21-day practice window for the Giants to activate McKinney. McKinney should resume his starting role next to Love, sending Pinnock back to the bench after five weeks of substitute responsibilities. It’s unclear, though, whether or not McKinney will also resume his signal-calling duties on defense for New York, duties Love took over when McKinney was placed on IR.

To make room for McKinney on the active roster, the Giants waived wide receiver David Sills. Sills has started five games this year at wideout for New York but only contributed 11 catches for 106 yards in nine total games. In addition to those corresponding roster moves, the Giants promoted tight end Chris Myarick and cornerback Zyon Gilbert from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s matchup against the Colts.

DECEMBER 29: Xavier McKinney may make a late-season return for the Giants, after all. The young safety will return to practice Thursday, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post tweets.

The Giants have been without McKinney since their Week 9 bye, during which the starter suffered a broken hand in an ATV accident. McKinney is not expected to play against the Colts this week, but the Giants will get a look to see if he can contribute in Week 18 and/or in the playoffs. In designating McKinney to return from the reserve/NFI list, the Giants will have three weeks to activate him.

A 2020 second-round pick out of Alabama, McKinney has dealt with injuries during his first and third NFL seasons. He missed most of his rookie year because of a broken foot suffered that August. The ATV accident this year has sidelined him for the Giants’ past seven games. With the team being without top cornerback Adoree’ Jackson for much of that span, the Giants’ secondary has faced tall tasks weekly.

Jason Pinnock is expected to remain the starter alongside Julian Love against the Colts. If the Giants beat the Colts, they are assured of a playoff berth — which would be the franchise’s first in six years. Brian Daboll did not guarantee McKinney would miss this matchup, but it sounds like Week 18 is a better bet for a return to action. McKinney’s accident occurred in Mexico. He had pins removed from his fingers earlier this month but will wear a contraption (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) upon returning.

McKinney has made 28 career starts, breaking through last season with a five-interception campaign. Pro Football Focus has not viewed his 2022 work on that level, slotting him 74th among safeties — behind Pinnock — but the former No. 36 overall pick remains a key part of a Giants secondary that already looked thin before this season’s run of injuries. The team rostered Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan alongside McKinney over the past two years; both are now elsewhere.

Giants CB Aaron Robinson Suffered ACL, MCL Tears

Brian Daboll had said Aaron Robinson was unlikely to return from IR this season. Recent news not only indicates that will definitively not happen but points to Robinson missing the Giants’ 2023 offseason program.

The knee injury Robinson suffered in Week 4 was a torn MCL and partially torn ACL, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Robinson underwent surgery last month and is staring at a nine-month recovery timetable, Duggan adds. While this provides clarity, it is a major blow to a recent Day 2 pick.

The Giants chose Robinson in the 2021 third round, but the regime that selected him is now gone. Robinson began his career late after rehabbing a core muscle surgery, playing in just nine games as a rookie. After being a part-time contributor (two starts) last season, the Giants greenlit a major role expansion for the Central Florida and Alabama product. Robinson emerged as a starter this season, but a September appendectomy and these October knee maladies — sustained 10 snaps into the Giants’ Week 4 game — figures to set him back.

A training camp return seems the best bet for the 6-foot-1 defender. The Giants have dealt with extensive injury trouble in their secondary — one already depleted by the new regime making James Bradberry and Logan Ryan cap casualties — this season, limiting first-year DC Don Martindale. Adoree’ Jackson suffered an MCL sprain last month; the team’s No. 1 corner will miss a third straight game this week. Third-round pick Cor’Dale Flott also missed a chunk of his rookie season. These issues have left the 7-4-1 team’s corner contingent significantly shorthanded; the team has not won any of the games Jackson has missed. Fabian Moreau, whom the Texans cut after training camp, has become an every-week starter for the Giants.

After the Giants cut Ryan and let Jabrill Peppers sign with the Patriots in free agency, they have seen Xavier McKinney run into injury trouble. An ATV accident has sidelined McKinney for the past month; he remains on New York’s reserve/NFI list. McKinney suffered a broken hand and underwent a procedure to have pins removed from three fingers this week, Duggan adds (via Twitter). The former second-round pick again expressed confidence he will return this season but couched that by indicating he needs more time to heal.

Giants S Xavier McKinney Expects To Return This Season

The Giants have been without safety Xavier McKinney for the last three games due to a broken hand that he suffered in an ATV accident during a bye-week vacation. As Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reports, McKinney is expected to miss at least several more weeks, but he does plan to return this season.

New York is 7-4 and currently holds the sixth playoff spot in the NFC. However, the club has lost two in a row and takes on the division-rival Commanders — who presently hold the seventh and final postseason spot — two times within the next three weeks. As such, Big Blue’s postseason fortunes could be largely decided before McKinney gets back on the field.

McKinney, 23, was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, and while a broken foot limited him to just six games in his rookie season, he emerged as a foundational player for the Giants in 2021, when he appeared in all 17 games (16 starts) and notched five interceptions. He also pulled down an excellent 75.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, which was especially bullish on his coverage abilities.

His PFF grade slipped to 56.3 over the first eight games of the current season, though his presence is still missed. A team captain, McKinney is also the defensive signal-caller for a unit that was ranked eighth in the league in scoring defense at the time of his injury and which is now ranked 14th in that regard.

The secondary as a whole has been hit hard by injury. In the Giants’ Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys, they were without starters Adoree’ Jackson, Fabian Moreau, and McKinney, and while Moreau is active for the team today, Jackson is expected to miss several more weeks. As Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets, New York is deploying Nick McCloud and Moreau on the boundaries today, while UDFA rookie Zyon Gilbert — who is making his pro debut — will work as the primary slot corner.

In McKinney’s stead, the Giants first turned to fourth-round rookie Dane Belton for two games before pivoting to Jason Pinnock, a 2021 fifth-round choice of the Jets whom Big Blue claimed off waivers during final cutdowns in August.

Giants S Xavier McKinney Facing Multi-Week Absence

3:30pm: The Giants have placed McKinney on the reserve/NFI list, per a team announcement. That will leave him sidelined for at least the next four weeks; he will require designation for a return, along the same lines as players on IR, which will open a three-week return window.

12:50pm: The Giants just completed their bye week, but the team actually lost a key member of their defense in recent days. Safety Xavier McKinney suffered a broken hand, and will now miss several weeks (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

McKinney himself tweeted an explanation for his situation. The injury occurred during an ATV accident while he was on vacation. As Rapoport confirmed, this will leave the Giants without one of their top defensive players while they return to action looking to build off of an impressive start.

The 23-year-old has once again operated as a full-time starter on the backend of the Giants’ secondary this season. McKinney has totaled 38 tackles, four pass deflections and one sack while playing every defensive snap to date. A key communicator for the unit, the former second-rounder emerged as a foundational played for Big Blue last year, when he notched five interceptions.

As part of the team’s 6-2 start to the campaign, New York boasts the league’s eighth-ranked scoring defense (allowing an average of 19.6 points per game). The Alabama product has played an instrumental role in that success, but he will now be sidelined with the second notable injury of his career. McKinney suffered a broken foot just before his rookie season began, which limited him to six games played. He logged a full season last year.

In their search for a new partner alongside Julian Love, the Giants could turn to fourth-round rookie Dane Belton as a McKinney replacement. The Iowa alum missed the season opener, but has played a regular defensive role since. Special teamer Jason Pinnock could also be in line for a larger workload, especially with veteran Tony Jefferson on IR.

In need of continuing their hot start to keep pace in the highly-competitive NFC East, the Giants will start their time without McKinney on Sunday against the Texans.