And so it begins… phase I of the NFL offseason. The New York Giants have until March 2nd to designate an unrestricted free agent to be “franchised”. What this really means: The Giants have 13 days to determine whether a long-term deal with Linval Joseph is in their plans. Do not expect deals to get finalized in haste, as desperation fuels activity.
According to the latest franchise tag estimates from NFL Network’s Albert Breer, defensive tackles are slotted to earn $9.2 million, a $750,000 pay hike from 2013. Given the team’s longstanding history of not utilizing the tag, it’s a near mortal lock that Joseph will hit the free agent market on March 11th. The Giants have high hopes for second-year DT Johnathan Hankins, and it’s likely they’ll seek a bargain alternative to pair him with. They simply do not overpay for interior linemen.
Pro Football Focus has graded Joseph as a top-21 overall defensive tackle in each of the past two seasons. He earned an 8.0 run defense grade in 2013, placing him in favorable company with Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh (8.9) and Cleveland’s Phil Taylor (8.7).