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Coaches Corner: Top 5 Giants with expiring contracts who may not be a Giant in 2022.

By Michael Stewart@TheTruthNYG

The New York Giants are entering the 2021 season with many new faces added onto the roster from 2020 and depending on which website you read; are projected to win anywhere from seven to eleven games in 2021. The Giants will also have many players entering their final season as they are either playing on one year deals or their contracts will expire after the 2021 season. Among these players I have assembled my top 5 players who have major roles for the Giants that might not be here in 2022 for a variety of reasons (lack of production, injuries or lack of playing time). These players are assumingly making the 53-man roster and would need to play their best football to be considered a new contract with the Giants.

  1. Evan Engram (TE): Engram signed a 4-year deal/$10,718,304 deal after being drafted (1st round) of the 2017 NFL draft. Engrams best season was his rookie year, where his line was 64 receptions, 654 yards and 6 TD’s. Since then, Engram has seen his production falter for various reasons (injuries and drops) as 2020 might have sealed his fate with only 1 touchdown and 11 drops. It would take a miracle for Engram to be wearing Giants blue and white in 2022.
  2. Jabrill Peppers (S): Peppers signed a 4-year deal/$10,341,989 deal after being drafted (1st Round) by the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 NFL draft. The Giants acquired Peppers as part of the package for WR Odell Beckham. Peppers has been the most productive player among this list, but could be a victim of the numbers game; which was similar to Landon Collins contract year. Peppers is due to cash in and the Giants usually don’t hand out large contracts to safeties; especially if Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney play well and are signed through the 2022 season.
  3. Will Hernandez (OG): Hernandez signed a 4-year deal/$7,450,774 deal after being drafted (2nd round) of the 2018 NFL draft. After having a stellar rookie campaign that led to a spot on the all offensive rookie team; Hernandez has had his struggles over the past two seasons and will be competing for the starting spot at Guard in 2021. If Hernandez can’t at the very least duplicate his rookie season, the likelihood of being a Giant in 2022 is slim to none.
  4. Lorenzo Carter (OLB): Carter signed a 4-year deal/$4,083,482 deal after being drafted (3rd Round) in the 2018 NFL draft. Carter was having a solid 2020 campaign before a torn Achilles heel ended his season. Carter will be competing for his OLB spot along with new comers Ryan Anderson, Ifeadi Odenigbo and rookie Azeez Ojulari. Even if Carter can secure a starting spot, he would need to perform possibly better than he did in 2020 and stay healthy along the way to warrant an extension. The odds are stacked up against him here and it is highly likely that Carter will be someplace else in 2022.
  5. B. J Hill (DL): Hill signed a 4-year/$4,047,880 deal after being drafted (3rd Round) in the 2018 NFL draft. Hill enjoyed a solid rookie season; which resulted in 5.5 sacks along with solid production against the run. However; over the past two season, Hill has seen his playing time decrease; especially since the arrival of Leonard Williams in 2019. Hill has been a victim of the numbers game and he could be given ample opportunity in 2021 to convince the Giants coaching staff that he is capable of handling more snaps as one of the starters along the defensive line. The jury is still out with Hill, but at this point the odds are stacked against him.

It’s important to point out that although Sterling Shepard and Oshane Ximines are not playing in their final year of their contracts, they are also in jeopardy of not being with the Giants in 2022. In Shepard’s case he has rookie Kadarius Toney waiting in the wings and with Ximines, he just hasn’t produce enough to be worthy of an extension. The Giants will need to make big decisions this off season with not only these players, but with quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley as their rookie deals will be ending after the 2022 season. The Giants have built a solid roster over the past few seasons through the draft and in free agency; but need to determine who their core players are and retain them long term. This trend should continue as they have two 1st rounds picks in the 2022 NFL draft and their cap space should increase to allow flexibility in free agency.