New York Giants: 5 Guys Who Most Deserve Contract Extensions
The New York Giants have long had a history of locking up their talented young players early, ensuring that they remain with the team long term.
However, 2010 is a tricky year considering all the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement, which is due to expire at the end of this season. It is entirely possible that the Giants have, as an organization, decided to not do any contract extensions with their players until a new CBA is in place.
However, this tactic, if it is what the Giants are doing, comes with inherent risks. Steve Smith, Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss and Barry Cofield are all in the last year of their contracts. And even if the franchise tag exists in some form or another after a new CBA is agreed upon the tag can only be used on one player, not five.
The list will also be limited to players who are still on their rookie contracts, so no Osi Umenyiora.
So aside from choosing which players the Giants want to extend, they have to also decide as to the timing of their offer. Do they offer contract extensions before or after a new CBA is negotiated?
Either way, here are the five players that the Giants should enter into contract negotiations with as soon as possible, as they need these players long term to remain a successful organization. However, I still believe the Giants need to set a financial limit for all these players, a dollar amount they will not cross in contract negotiations.
As such, each slide will include what I believe to be a fair contract for said player. The players are ordered in terms of their importance from least to greatest. Skip to the end for a special bonus slide.
No. 5—Kevin Boss, Tight End, Last Year Of Contract
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Boss would be higher on this list of not for the fact that he has suffered three concussions already during his pro-career, and his upright running style almost guarantees that he will sustain a few more.
However, this is still a deal I expect to get done because Kevin Boss is the exact kind of player the Giants love: silent to the media, tough as nails and a great team player. And Eli Manning loves him. Eli is not the kind of guy to tell the Giants front office anything, but I can imagine him telling them to get a deal done no matter what the cost with Boss.
Boss is an elite blocker, a great possession tight end and has above-average long speed. So while it is not great in the open field he can still get behind a defense and will always catch a ball in traffic.
But Boss is in a tricky situation contract wise, he is more valuable to the Giants than he would be to other teams in the NFL. So will the Giants low-ball him?
Honestly I doubt it, I expect this contract negotiation to go well. I think a five-year $20 million dollar deal with $8 million guaranteed is reasonable for all the different things that Boss brings to a team.
No. 4—Steve Smith, Wide Receiver, Last Year Of Contract
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Some would be surprised that Smith is ranked so low on this list, but just as the players above Smith like Jonathan Goff received a somewhat higher ranking because of the lack of talent around him, Smith gets downgraded due to the surplus of talent around him.
Simply put, the Giants are loaded at wide receiver. Hakeem Nicks is developing into a super star, and while he is only in his second year, the prospect of his contract extension down the line has to be terrifying the Giants.
They also have Mario Manningham, who started last year, and the incredibly talented but untested Ramses Barden. And who knows? Maybe Victor Cruz actually turns into a player.
What this all means is that despite how good a player Smith is, the Giants can still afford to lose him.
Also Smith is not a true No. 1 receiver, he’s an elite possession receiver. More Wes Welker than Randy Moss. If he wants Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald money the Giants have to balk. However, Smith does deserve to be the highest paid possession receiver in the NFL.
Anquan Boldin got a three-year contract extension when the Ravens traded for him worth $25 million, which means the Ravens have Boldin under contract for four years at $28 million and $10 million guaranteed. I think Smith deserves the same thing. While it won't be the money he will be looking for, he will become a free agent again before he is 30, old enough to cash in again with either the Giants or another team.
However Smith is a player that the Giants should strongly consider waiting for a new CBA to be in place before entering into contract negotiations with. If the franchise tag exists in the new CBA, this is the guy the Giants should franchise.
No. 3—Jonathan Goff, Middle Linebacker, Two Years Left On Contract
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A player whose value to the team is made more important due to the players surrounding him, as Goff has proven to the Giants he is their only true building block at the linebacker position. While it’s not time to give up on Clint Sintim yet, it’s not time to depend on him either.
For the first two years of his career, Goff, a fifth-round pick in 2008, Goff could be best described as tepid. He was a terrible tackler; he almost seemed afraid of trucking people.
Somehow, some way, that changed this year. He has lived in opponent’s backfields this season. Goff is turning into an exceptional middle linebacker this year, one who can defend the run sideline to sideline, a great blitzer, a downhill run defender and is excellent in zone coverage.
I always felt Goff, who played college ball at Vanderbilt, was too much brains and not enough testosterone. He has changed that opinion in a very short time this season. And while, unlike the other players on this list, he has two years left on his contract, the Giants would be best to pay him sooner rather than later before he becomes insanely expensive.
Antonio Pierce got a six-year, $26 million dollar deal in 2005 after one good year with the Washington Redskins. Take into account inflation, hometown loyalty and that Goff has a higher ceiling as a player than Pierce did, and I think a six-year, $36 million dollar deal with $16 million guaranteed is not out of line.
However, while I believe the Giants must resign Goff, he is a player the Giants can wait to sign until the new CBA is in place. But he should be signed before next season begins regardless.
No. 2—Ahmad Bradshaw, Running Back, Last Year Of Contract
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Bradshaw has always been a backup for the Giants on a short leash. Bradshaw has known since the Giants drafted him in the seventh round of the 2007 draft that one infraction with the law, and he was gone.
This was not without justification, as Bradshaw had incidents with the law in his high school and while in college.
But here we are now and Bradshaw is the unquestioned starter for the first time in his pro-career. And he is not disappointing; he is on pace for 1,500-yards rushing for the 2010 season.
Bradshaw is a unique athlete; not the biggest, not the fastest, but he might be the quickest player in the NFL. His cuts are lightening fast and can leave multiple defenders tangled up in his wake. And pound for pound the kid is strong as an ox.
Also Bradshaw is young at 24, and the tread on his tires isn’t so bad that you would expect his body to break down prematurely despite being in his fourth year in the pros.
With Brandon Jacobs not expected to be back with the Giants next year given his $3 million salary, Bradshaw’s value is that much more important to the Giants. They can’t afford to lose Bradshaw AND Jacobs, but losing Jacobs alone would be just fine in my book.
This is why I expect the Giants to offer Bradshaw a 5-year, $30 million dollar contract with $8 million guaranteed, similar to contract structure of what Brandon Marshall got with the Dolphins in that it will be a very team-friendly deal. Specifically in regards to off field conduct and durability. In other words, Bradshaw's money would be tied to him being on his best behavior and healthy.
No. 1—Barry Cofield, Defensive Tackle, Last Year Of Contract
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Cofield being No. 1 is somewhat of a surprise to me, especially considering that he was this close to being traded in the offseason to the New Orleans Saints. But the trade fell apart when Cofield wanted more money than the Saints were willing to give, and if Cofield continues to play at the high level he is playing at during the 2010 season, the Giants might end being the ones to pay Cofield after all.
Cofield has been nothing short of dominant for the Giants this year. Constantly making it into the offensive backfield, Cofield has been impossible to contain. Even with the impressive bookend of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, Cofield has still been drawing double-teams this season.
He is one of the rare 300-pound defensive tackles in the NFL who is equally adept and penetrating gaps and holding offensive lineman at the point of attack so linebackers can make plays.
And he also has finally been given a chance to stay on the field in obvious passing situations this year, and the results have been phenomenal. The Giants pass rush has not just been dominant due to the ends, but because Cofield and fellow tackle Chris Canty have been trucking people.
Canty got a six-year, $42 million contract with $17 million guaranteed from the Giants to leave the Cowboys; I think Cofield deserves the same thing to remain with the Giants.
Left Out: Mathias Kiwanuka, Last Year Of Contract
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Kiwi was leading the team in sacks before he went down with a neck injury, and he might be out with a season-ending injury for the second time in his career. However even if that didn't happen I would still believe that this should be Kiwanuka's last year with the Giants.
There is only so much money to go around, and honestly if the Giants have to choose between Cofield and Kiwanuka, I choose Barry. Also, I believe that Kiwi has been miscast with the Giants; I think he would be better off as a 3-4 outside linebacker. I also think Kiwi is chomping at the bit to start, and with Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul in the wings, that isn’t going to happen with the Giants.
And that was before he suffered a neck injury that has a lot of people in the Giants organization nervous. Remember Antonio Pierce retired before he was ready because of a bulging disc in his neck, and now Kiwi has one.
So in short I believe Kiwi to be a durability concern, a concern that his displeasure with not starting could become bad for the team and that I believe his best value and that his best position is with a 3-4 team.
How this goes down will not be known until a new CBA is in place, but I think the Giants best course of action with Kiwi is to do with him what they tried to do with Cofield last offseason: find a way to make him a restricted free agent and trade him.