The Wink Martindale saga with the NY Giants finally came to an end this week. After two seasons as the team's defensive coordinator, Martindale's tenure ended on a bitter note. The 60-year-old coordinator and the Giants mutually agreed to part ways after a standoff, starting with Martindale storming out of a meeting with Brian Daboll and reportedly cussing him out.
Wink is a player's coach. His defensive unit loved playing for him, as many players have spoken about that publicly. However, there was one player who had issues with Martindale earlier in the season. Xavier McKinney, who is coming off of a career year, reportedly wouldn't have considered re-signing with the Giants this offseason if Martindale stayed in town. Wow.
Xavier McKinney wouldn't re-sign with Giants if Martindale was still DC
Six tackles, three pass breakups and two interceptions is how Xavier McKinney ended his 2023 campaign in the win over Philly. He totaled 116 tackles, 11 pass breakups, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and tackles for loss. He also didn't allow a single touchdown in coverage.
Spotrac has McKinney's value at $10.4 million per year. The Giants are slated to have approximately $37.8 million in cap space to spend once free agency begins in March. McKinney is going to be near the top of their priority list, but will they be able to retain him at a high price tag?
McKinney considers himself one of the top safeties in the league and wants to be paid like one. The question becomes, now with a new defensive coordinator coming in, how will McKinney be used? In Patrick Graham's scheme, McKinney was asked to play deep most of the time, playing a centerfield role. A big reason why he had a career-high five interceptions in 2021 was due to Graham's scheme of keeping everything in front and not allowing big plays.
In Martindale's scheme, McKinney's role changed completely. He still played most of his snaps at free safety, but he was down in the box a lot more than in the past, as Martindale's scheme is keen on sending blitzes. He spent a lot more time down near the line of scrimmage compared to when Graham was defensive coordinator. In 2021, McKinney logged 807 snaps at free safety and 148 in the box. This season, that number shot up to 388 snaps in the box and 464 at free safety.
We'll have to wait and see where the Giants and McKinney get to in contract negotiations, especially with a new defensive coordinator coming soon. Fans want to see him return and the odds of that happening have gone up with Martindale out the door.