NY Giants Dave Gettleman made an incredibly smart move by choosing to lock up one of his young, promising offensive linemen.
It will be no surprise to any follower of this website that I’m simply ecstatic about the NY Giants choosing to retain offensive lineman Nick Gates, as I’ve been the resident conductor of the “Nick Gates Train” as far back as 2018 when he was originally signed as a UDFA.
I have been very vocal in recent days about Gettleman and the NY Giants resisting the urge to go out and sign a veteran to help the team for 2020 and rather hold onto that “saved” salary cap money – the team will still have to pay out most of Solder’s contract as him opting-out just tolled his contract into next year – while looking towards the future.
Instead, I wanted to see Gettleman either make a minor move while hanging onto most of that newly-found cash or to start retaining his own young players.
That’s exactly what Dave Gettleman did when he signed the former Nebraska left tackle to a two-year contract extension worth approximately $10M, although $4M of that will only come to him through earned incentives which I would guess tie heavily into playing time.
In other words, if Nick Gates ends up flopping – not likely – then the NY Giants will only be on the hook for a maximum of about $6M over two years.
In total, Big Blue now has Gates under wraps for three years at about $11M total due to him playing on a UDFA rookie contract in 2020, as this could turn out to be one of the biggest bargain extensions the NY Giants have struck in a long time.
Nick Gates was very impressive in 2020 after struggling to get into the lineup until injuries later on in the season forced former head coach’s Pat Shurmur’s hand, but once that happened, Gates performed at a very high level at multiple positions.
The former first-team All-Big 10 product started games at both guard and tackle, looking equally as promising in the run game and passing game. He showed the ability to either pull or get to the second-level and spring Saquon Barkley on numerous occasions while more than holding his own in pass-blocking scenarios.
The only reason Gates ever slipped from promising prospect to the ranks of the undrafted were the results of his ‘SPARQ’ score, which is basically an overall athletic profile based on percentiles by comparing that prospect’s athletic testing scores to past prospects.
Gates fared very poorly in that regard, falling all the way down to the second percentile — just about as low as you can go.
However, this ended up being a positive for the NY Giants as they were able to land a player they were high on while not even having to spend a draft pick on him.
Gates is so versatile that the new coaching staff – including their incredibly respected new offensive line coach, Marc Colombo – are giving him a shot to compete for the starting center job despite never playing there save for a few emergency snaps in practice last season.
We’ll have to see how that competition with rookie Shane Lemieux and veteran Spencer Pulley works out, but if today is any indication, Joe Judge, Dave Gettleman, and the NY Giants see Gates playing a big role on this offensive line wherever that may be.
I project him to be the team’s starting right tackle this year and into the future, although if he were to be able to win the starting center job and flourish there that would be an even bigger win for Big Blue.
At the end of the day, as terrific that it is that the NY Giants locked up Gates, it’s an even more positive sign to see Dave Gettleman being prudent and looking towards the future rather than going for it all as he did in 2018 — we all saw how that worked out.
Identifying which young players you plan to employ past the rebuild and locking them up to team-friendly contract extensions are the exact type of moves you make when hoping to execute a proper rebuild, and hopefully, we see more moves like this in the future.
@GMENHQ Offical signing grade: A+