Many are linking offensive tackle Jack Conklin and the NY Giants together in free agency.
It’s no secret that the NY Giants have a glaring need at the offensive tackle position. With Nate Solder the only player on the roster with meaningful starting experience – and him not appearing to have a future with the team past 2020, at best – the team needs to address the position in earnest this offseason.
The most prudent route is likely to draft a blue-chip left tackle in the first round, but even if that happens Big Blue could still use another tackle to take over the right side long term (or vice-versa). That’s where former Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin could come into play, as the former Pro Bowler is the best tackle on the market by a mile.
Conklin’s first four years in the NFL have played out in reverse of how you’d normally expect the trajectory to go for a first-round pick. Instead of taking his lumps as a rookie and having his best season in the last year of his rookie deal, Conklin put together one of the best rookie seasons for an offensive lineman in recent memory when he made the first-team All-Pro team in 2016.
From there, knee injuries have plagued the former All-Pro after he tore his ACL in the 2017 Divisional Playoff round against the Patriots. After healing up and making it back for 2018, Conklin suffered a concussion and then even more knee problems which led to him being shut down for the season while only playing in nine games total.
Stunningly, this was enough for the Titans to decline to pick up Conklin’s 2020 fifth-year option, something the team is definitely regretting at the moment. That cap number would have come in at just $12M, far less than the young player figures to get on the open market this offseason.
Still just 25-years-old and an absolute mauler for a run blocker, Conkin could be just what the doctor ordered for the NY Giants. As bad as Big Blue’s pass-blocking was in 2019, the run blocking was even worse. Signing a guy like Conklin who would be a tone-setter is a quick way to turn around the entire attitude of an offensive line.
Conklin played a huge role in Derrick Henry having the type of season he had in 2019 and he would likely have the same effect on Saquon Barkley in New York, giving him at least one side of the field to feel comfortable running to. The former top-ten pick has also never allowed more than four sacks in any season.
Spotrac pegs his potential contract value at 6 years/$90M. To me, that seems low and it’s more than likely that he blows that out of the water due to the market being short on premium talent at the position. He’ll probably get closer to $20M per, and that might be just too much for the NY Giants to swallow.
However, if Big Blue can get him in the $17-18M APY range – while maybe knocking a year off of that six-year guess – then the team should be in hot pursuit.
Drafting a left tackle at #4 overall to pair with a 25-year-old Conklin would completely revitalize this offense, the offensive line and the franchise in general.
Hypothetical offer: 5 years/$85M ($45M GTD)