NFL Free Agency begins Thursday, March 9 at 4:00pm New York time and local football fans are gearing up for another wild ride. Or are they? Two years ago, the Jets had a banner offseason and went on to a 10-6 season. Last year, the Giants invested heavily in their defense and returned to the postseason after an 11-5 campaign.
This time around, the Giants don’t have as many needs and that’s fortunate for them because they only have about $13 million in free cap space to work with. The Jets are back to the wheel after cutting ties with veterans Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis putting them in full rebuilding mode. They have an estimated $38 million in cap space to operate with and serious needs up and down their roster.
The Giants had $30 million in cap space but used $17 million of that when they assigned the franchise tag on impending UFA Jason Pierre-Paul two weeks ago. They are poised to make another run at the playoffs but would like to address some needs in free agency before the NFL Draft in late April. Areas they expected to focus on are defensive tackle, offensive tackle, tight end, running back and a third receiver. They will also be bringing in a new kicker and a backup quarterback.
DT Johnathan Hankins is on their wish list to be re-signed, but he is expected to get offers that will be too rich for the Giants’ blood at this time. The consensus here is that they could make one big splash in free agency this week followed by a spate of secondary, under-the-radar additions.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has his hands full at the moment. With no franchise quarterback in house and a slew of gaping holes on his roster, he will be hard-pressed to reignite the flame in Florham Park. The Jets were a dismal 5-11 in 2016 and after the veteran purge, which isn’t over by any stretch, they are set to build from the ground up – again. Their first order of business will likely be at QB, where they have been rumored to be interested in Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon, but his price may be too high as other suitors for his services are likely to come to market.
The Jets do need help along the offensive line and at cornerback, so Maccagnan will likely spend his money there initially and then use the draft to bring in new building blocks on both side of the ball but he will have to use every dollar to retool his talent-starved roster. The Jets have the sixth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
The Giants are selecting 23rd this April and the draft is deep in tight ends. That does not mean they won’t explore the free agent landscape for any, but for the dynamic star they seek at that position they are best off pick one up in the draft.