With the NFL Salary Cap having been bumped up from $143.3M in 2015 to $155.3M in 2016, the money is going to be flying beginning on Wednesday, March 9th. We reviewed some of the bigger names coming through with our analyst Wonder. I suspect Wonder’s numbers may be a little low for how much these guys end up commanding, based on the cap having moved up $12M. It’s going to be an arms race. Teams typically overpay in Free Agency, so another $12M just means more madness and more overpaying. Here is our guide to a list of notable players and who will be worth it.
DT Malik Jackson– Good but don’t overpay. 5 yrs 25MM, 15M Guaranteed.
DE Olivier Vernon– Not as crazy about him as most others. Pass rushing overstated. He’s a solid starter but I do not go out and chase him. 4 yrs 16MM. Others will probably pay more than that for him but I would not.
G Kelechi Osemele– Now here is a player. He’s young enough, and a beast inside. He’s a grinder. I give whatever the market will bear. That might be 6 yrs 42M, half guaranteed? And I would pay it. If you put him on the Giants, he changes the OL immediately. Immediately. Osemele will be there for the full 6 years. That is why he is worth it.
RB Doug Martin– Too expensive, 7-8M per year, not doing that, not great at catching the ball either. Would rather have 2 Bilal Powells for one Doug Martin.
OLB Bruce Irvin– Needs a 3-4, needs to be outside pass rusher. Serves no place for the Giants, where does he play? 4-3 DE? They will run sweeps and run him over. Maybe a fit for STL or BUF. Great fit for Rex Ryan’s aggressive pass rush. AZ’s 4-3 maybe. With the right fit, he’s worth 4 yrs 18MM. The fit has to be there because this guy is not going to tackle anybody.
DE Mario Williams– 31 years old but he has 3 years left. I still think he can be a difference maker. Only pay him for 2 yrs guaranteed. Make it incentive-laden. Like 8M guaranteed, 8M more guaranteed if he plays a certain number of snaps. Motivate and incentivize him. He plays the run as well as the pass. 3 yrs 24M.
S Eric Weddle– Oh please, I wouldn’t sign him on my team, let alone anyone else’s. He is too old, can’t hit, and can’t cover. Other than that, a great All-Pro, lol. The great white overhype. 2 yrs 6M is all he is worth.
LB Danny Trevathan– Everything depends on his health. I cannot answer that question. He is a winner, a 2 way player (run and pass) IF healthy. With no long term issues, I pay him 5 yrs 30M. But I need green light from medical.
CB Janoris Jenkins– Very good, but not great. He is going to be overpaid. I give him 5 yrs 30M, somone will pay more, but not me.
CB Sean Smith– He has been through a lot. Age at 28 he is ok but he is long in the tooth. He’s an old 28. I do like long athletic CBs. 4 years, 26M, half guaranteed.
RB Matt Forte– Can run between tackles and catch swing passes. He should sign with NE if he has any sense. Not for the Giants. 2 yrs and 12M for the Patriots. He’d catch 80 balls.
DT Jaye Howard– Very underrated in my opinion. Solidifies your line. Interior grinder. Complimentary piece. He is not Warren Sapp. I’d rather have Damon Harrison. Because he is in his prime at 27, I pay him 5 yrs 30M.
LB Derrick Johnson– I LOVE Derrick Johnson. But he is getting old too. 33 yrs old. 2 yr contract for 10-12MM. He gets it done, character guy, great in locker room and on the field, he will make everyone play better. He can mentor a young LBer.
OT Russell Okung– I loved the guy in the draft, but his knees have taken a beating. This is all about medical. Is he hurt all the time? Will he give me meaningful snaps? Incentive-laden even if medical checks out. I probably pass.
NT Damon Harrison– Gold mine waiting to happen. Probably not for Giants because he’s for a 3-4. But even for a 4-3, you put him in the middle and he is going to take up two players and make the opponent’s Offense one-dimensional. He’ll get 5 yrs, 35M. Why did my Jets not lock him up 1-2 years ago? Now he walks. Someone will overpay, and he wanted to play for the Jets. A shame.
C Alex Mack– Give him whatever he wants. Not young anymore (30), so pay him a lot but not too long term a deal. 3 yrs 24M. I know I will get 2 more good years out of him, maybe 3. He will give my OL toughness and nastiness. He will bring that intangible to my team.
CB Prince Amukamara– Worthless. 4 yrs 16MM, 2 yrs guaranteed. But someone will surely overpay. Ok starter. He fills your roster.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul– I wouldn’t re-sign him if you pay me. If there is someone who can make me a bionic hand that works, then I am okay with paying him, otherwise how do you pay for a cast club? I wasn’t crazy about him before the accident. He can’t tackle with that club. Next. Let someone else pay him.
OLB Tamba Hali– Unfortunately his time has passed. 32 years old. Next. 2 yrs 10M that is fine, but keep it short. Not a big piece anymore.
S Reggie Nelson– Too old, too injured, no thanks. 2 yrs 8M, hopefully he plugs my safety. Decent at covering. But he is old and banged up.
S George Iloka– I loved him out of college, huge guy, needs the right team. Role of a hitter. SS in the box. 25 yrs old, needs to play next to a good Cover Free Safety. I would overpay for him assuming I have that Free Safety. Next to Earl Thomas or Eric Berry is great, but obviously not for the Giants where they have SS. 4 yrs 22M. But can’t pay that if wasted on the wrong team. So needs fit.
DE Chris Long– Give me medical, can be unbelievable for the NY Giants, can play under the pressure. Good against run and pass. But question is medical. Character guy, class guy. Great in Locker room. 4 yr 28M IF CLEAR MEDICAL.
DE Charles Johnson– Will play rush, will play pass, terrific player. 30 yrs old this September. 3 yr 24M. Class guy. 4th yr that vests automatically if he plays 3 yrs of starts. Glue guy. Does a ton of things that you do not even think about. Winning ball player.
WR Marvin Jones– Great compliment to Odell Beckham. Underutilized by Cincinnati. Good in the red zone. Young (26 next week). Good hands. Strong. I would go after him. I would overpay him. 4 yrs 24M. Because he did not have the snaps, this is where the value in Free Agency is found. These are your guys. AJ Green was there, and so Sanu and Jones shared snaps. That is why the price will not be ridiculous. If the Giants sign a guy like this they can release Cruz (if medical on Cruz says to do so).
OT Mitchell Schwartz– Pretty valuable, more durable than his brother. 5 yrs 26M. I like him, maybe as much as 30M depending how motivated.
TE Ladarius Green– I like him a lot. Underutilized by the Chargers, young guy. Hybrid tight end, can play next to the Tackle and split out. Had ankle injury. Eli would love this guy. 4 yrs 20M. Big raise for him. Incentive-laden. He was behind Gates, which is another reason why there is an opportunity here in Free Agency.
DE Aldon Smith– Totally FREE, nothing to lose! Get him a babysitter. He’s suspended, I do not have to pay him. Sign him, get him mandatory counseling, and if he does not play, you do not pay. If he plays he becomes your best defensive player overnight with little risk. So this can be intriguing.
TE Coby Fleener– I want Green much better than Fleener. But take Fleener if you sign to 2 yrs 8M.
LB Nick Perry– Played behind Clay Matthews, and they moved Matthews inside so Perry could play. The system was not designed for him. He is a good fit for a 4-3 Outside Rush LBer, can play Run too. Would work for the Giants. 4yrs 22M with 14M guaranteed.
C Stefen Wisniewski– For 2 yrs for 6-8M, that is good depth and possible starter at Guard or Center. He’s tough like his father. He knows how to play football, not the greatest in the world, a guy like that is always good to have on your team. Not spectacular at run blocking or pass protecting but on the cheap should be fine for you.
RB Bilal Powell– Better than any RB the Giants have, young. Underutilized.
LB James Laurinitis– Too much football, too many injuries, best days behind him.
SUMMARY: There are 8 guys that offer special opportunity here in Free Agency, assuming they make it to the open market and are not signed before Wednesday: Kelechi Osemele. Danny Trevathan (medical). Damon Harrison. Alex Mack. Marvin Jones. Charles Johnson. Ladarius Green. Aldon Smith*. The underutilized young guys that do not go for huge numbers offer the best opportunities in Free Agency, not Ndamukong Suh who goes for $19M per year. The only “problem” guy is Smith, which we asterisk for a special situation and contract terms. The other 7 guys are solid guys. And of course there are other players besides these 8 that offer value. But these 8 guys are the ones who are of most interest.