NFL Franchise Tag 2016: Top 5 New York Giants Candidates
By Mike Luca
2. Jasper Brinkley
Brinkley is the unrestricted free agent no one appears to be talking about, quite possibly due to how much he’s expected (or expecting) to cost a team.
With all of the stakes placed upon defensive line and secondary, linebacker is actually the layer of New York’s defense most visibly ready for reload. A Jessie Armstead or Antonio Pierce proved to be harder to come by over the past decade, but keeping Brinkley carries over some consistency into the next era.
The Giants cut Beason into retirement, Uani Unga and Devon Kennard remain projects and depth suitors Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas are relied upon more than they should be with ridiculous dead cap hits. New York would be wise to transition the defense with their best linebacker stuck to the roster.
Black and Teal
Brinkley led the team with four forced fumbles and came in third with 67 tackles. He otherwise served as an unsung catalyst in the middle of the field after fighting adversity with Tom Coughlin praise.
Building talent for and around him should enhance his role as a released space-eater and locker room liaison. The question becomes if the money is reasonable for both sides.
Spotrac predicts the franchise-tag rate for linebackers to be $14.1 million, in line with the amount New York prefers to not pay Prince. At 30 years old, though, Brinkley is more likely to be persuaded into this temporary gig in helping welcome a Tamba Hali or Jerrell Freeman type of difference maker, a scenario well-encompassed by the salary cap.
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