2. Sign free agent linebacker Shaquil Barrett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came out this past week and said they don’t plan on letting Shaquil Barrett walk, but realistically they may not have a say in the matter. Jameis Winston is also up for a franchise tag, and if there’s ever been someone who embodies why the tag exists in the first place, it’s him. The team will likely have to pick between one, and the QB usually wins in that regard.
The NY Giants will finally depart salary cap purgatory next season and are expected to have a minimum of $75.7 million available to spend on free-agent signings, following the league increasing the cap space $8 million next year & the Giants recently cutting Janoris Jenkins.
The cap space could increase further if the Giants decide to part ways with players such as Alec Ogletree, Golden Tate, Rhett Ellison, Antoine Bethea or Kareem Martin. Moving on from these veterans would take the cap space up to approximately $100 million next year. Regardless of the final number, they will be flush with cash and should break the bank to sign free-agent linebacker Shaquil Barrett, as previously suggested.
Barrett is currently one sack away from breaking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise single-season sack record, currently held by Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Currently, Barrett has 52 tackles, 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception on the year. With this breakout performance, he has positioned himself to be a Pro Bowler, a defensive player of the year candidate and to be paid handsomely in the offseason.
If the Giants are able to draft Chase Young and sign Shaq Barrett, their lackluster pass rush instantly becomes imposing. Barrett could then mentor pass-rushing linebackers Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter, who despite being young and inexperienced, have shown solid pass rushing abilities themselves. Adding the 27-year-old Barrett to the young linebacker corps would provide the Giants with depth and talent at the position that they have not had in a long time.
Barrett is expected to receive a multi-year offer that is worth north of $18 million per year. That is certainly a steep price, but is definitely warranted for a Giants team that has been lacking legitimate pass rushers for nearly a decade. Given the flexibility New York will have, $18-20 million annually for a player of Barrett’s ability should be a no-brainer, assuming Tampa does not lock him up with a franchise tag.