Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 01-21-2024

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Aaron Klein
You've had time to shake it off now, wash the 2023 season away clean. You are now ready to move on, forward into the offseason and 2024.

Welcome to the Great Reset. Again.

We, like general manager Joe Schoen, have to remain focused and vigilant to get the Giants to a better place. Scattershot is not a strategy. But where do we begin? The draft already? Free agency? Coaching?

Yes to all of the above, but with restraint.

The Giants, like all NFL teams, have the ability to operate on multiple fronts, a luxury we don't have. They have a constantly moving scouting division, both pro and college, as well as a specific core unit focused on the NFL Draft (April 25-27). They have people who do nothing but cap management and people who run analytics, aiding both on- and off-field personnel concerns.

Per, the Giants are currently projected to go into 2024 with just less than $28 million under the cap. Don't fret too much about that number as the team can easily convert salaries to bonuses and make key personnel decisions that can bring plenty more room under the cap. However, some of those decisions can be painful, and among those made will involve running back Saquon Barkley, Xavier McKinney, Adoree Jackson, Tyrod Taylor, Isaiah Simmons, A'Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, among others, who are all without a contract entering the new league year (March 13).

There likely will be discussions related to the contract statuses and financial futures of players including Darren Waller, Mark Glowinski, Graham Gano, and Darius Slayton, with the goal of not only creating more cap space but to focus on the roster architecture of the future.

Question: What would you do with Barkley? McKinney? Simmons? Only Barkley would be a reasonable candidate for the Franchise Tag (estimated to be $12 million for a running back), but has he earned a long-term deal? Maybe he's earned a free release into the open market. Remember, it's not just about money. It's also about team personality and respecting a player as well as the roster.

What about the draft? Sure, easy to say, “Just draft a quarterback,” but is it really that simple? Of course not. First, success for any quarterback is not guaranteed and the risk of missing on a Top 10 pick can be disastrous. Of course, you know that already. Second, after USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye - and even they do not come with a guarantee - the rest of the group brings a drop off and more questions than answers.
At the sixth slot, the Giants will likely miss out on Williams and Maye unless a deal can be made with Chicago, which owns Carolina's top pick as well as their own at No. 9. No.1 Washington and No. 3 New England are believed to be targeting quarterbacks and even No. 4 Arizona could very well grab a quarterback if there is one they like.
That's what it's all about, conviction. Are the Giants convinced that Williams and Maye are worth selling the farm for? Undoubtedly the team is already working that angle and will do so at a higher level at the Senior Bowl (Feb. 3) and the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb 29-March 3) and all the time in between now. Are they convinced that Jones is the quarterback of the near future? Of course, money is a factor of that subject.

What about the offensive line, the unit that has taken the brunt of the blame for the last several years? Feels like 100, but regardless, the unit seems to need new talent. There happens to be two or three offensive linemen rated in the current Top 10-12, including Notre Dame's Joe Alt and Penn State's Olumuyiwa Fashanu among a good class that could tempt the Giants into trading down a bit to justify drafting an OL in the first round. That No. 6 pick may not be the right spot.

The Giants definitely need a true No. 1 wide receiver and this could be the year to get one, like Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., Washington's Rome Odunze or LSU's Malik Nabers. There is strong support for such a move, but one could argue that a top receiver could wither on the vine if the passing game isn't fixed. Same argument for drafting a quarterback if the line isn't fixed. Still, it's all about value.

Edge rusher? Maybe one or two, but probably not in the Top 6. Running back? Been there, done that. Tight end? No thanks. The Giants' sixth pick is a blessing and a curse as they are probably out of the blue-chip quarterback chase, barring a trade, but maybe sitting a little too high to justify an offensive linemen, at least as it stands now. Does that mean they just have to take a wide receiver? It wouldn't be a mistake but would it be the best move to improve the team in 2024? Unclear.

If you're muttering to yourself now, they can't really fix the financial situation related to Daniel Jones as he's still getting his money, though they could convert his $35.5 million 2024 salary into bonus money to free up space. And, yes, there's an out built into the contract that takes effect after this season, with a roughly $22 million cap hit. The Giants would take a massive cap hit if they wanted to move on this year whether he is released as a pre-June 1 or post-June 1. No big deal, you say? That money would hamstring the team for future signings.

Whether you want to move forward with Jones or not, the money is still the one of the elephants in the room... there are more than a few.

Questions? Comments?
Send it all over to
and follow me on Twitter @_AaronKlein_
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