By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The season ending injury to safety Landon Collins could cause a change in the minds of the New York Giants front office on which direction to take with him. Before the injury, Collins was having a solid season leading the team in tackles and providing leadership on defense. The Giants seemed to be leaning towards keeping Collins by either signing him to a multi-year contract or deploying the franchise tag on him. Unfortunately; this could all change the team’s strategy with his injury. Collins should be ready to play in 2019, but the million dollar question could be with whom?
This is going to get tricky and GM Dave Gettleman will need to get very creative to come up with enough cap space ( currently at roughly $32 million) for not only for Collins, but also for Beckham as his contracts begins in 2019. Collins is only 26 years old and should be entering the prime years of his football career as his resume already includes two Pro Bowl appearances. If the Giants decide to move on from Collins, the safety position will be deep in free agents for 2019 with players such as: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Earl Thomas, Eric Reid, Tyrann Mathieu, Kenny Vaccaro, George Iloka, Lamarcus Joyner, Adrian Amos and Tre Boston. Many of these players will demand a nice pay check and it’s not clear if this will help lower the demands or possibly create bidding wars among NFL teams.
Let’s review the three options the Giants will have with Landon Collins before the start of the 2019 season:
- Multi-year contract: This option would be the one Landon Collins is looking for and possibly the one the Giants may or may not be willing to make. Currently, the NFL’s highest-paid safety is Kansas City’s Eric Berry, who signed a six-year, $78 million contract last offseason. That could definitely be in Collins price-range if he has multiple suitors, especially considering the second-biggest contract for a safety is the four-year, $48 million deal (with $19.8 million guaranteed) that Miami gave to Reshad Jones.
- The Franchise Tag: Collins has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be franchise tag in 2019, but unfortunately for him, it’s not his decision. The franchise tag for safeties is expected to be around $12 million dollars; which will probably be less than an annual multi-year deal. Placing the franchise tag on Collins would give the team another year to plan a strategy on which direction to go with Collins.
- Trade: The Giants received several offers for Collins during the trading deadline and they might have traded Collins if a team had offered a 2nd rounder instead of a 3rd. Therefore; it’s a good bet that the teams that showed interest (along with a few others) at the trading deadline for Collins will once again be calling GM Dave Gettleman to see it there’s interest in making a trade.
Final Summary: In the end, GM Dave Gettleman will be the one making this decision and historically he is not known for giving out big contracts to defensive backs (ie: Josh Norman). Whether the Giants decide to bring Collins back or not, they would still need to clear out a ton of cap space to honor Odell Beckham’s contract and that would likely mean that star players such as cornerback Janoris Jenkins ($7.75M), linebackers (Olivier Vernon ($11.5), Alec Ogletree ($6.5M) and possibly quarterback Eli Manning ($17M) could all have played their last game as a Giant. These moves would save the Giants a lot of money and give them an additional cap space savings of $42.75M; which doesn’t include other minor moves on the roster to increase more cap space. Unfortunately; you would need to somehow replace these players at a more affordable rate without diminishing the talent level.
Lastly, the Giants would need to make a decision on Collins well before he takes the field again, so it’s not clear how Collins shoulder injury will affect the team’s decision.