It’s look-ahead time for the Giants, since they’re 1-7 at the midpoint of 2020.
So let’s dive into our “keep ‘em or dump ’em” for this team, with 2021 in mind.
Sign up for Giants Extra: Get exclusive news, behind-the-scenes observations and the ability to text directly with reporters
Who stays? Who goes, either via trade or cut?
We break it all down right here, with a complete rundown of starters and notable backups.
Oh, and as for which general manager will be making these decisions next offseason, it should not be Dave Gettleman. The Giants must dump him. He’s been a failure.
So that settles that question.
Now, on to the players …
• RT Cam Fleming — dump: A career backup who has played like it this season, on a one-year contract. Easy decision.
• RG Kevin Zeitler — dump: He hasn’t been awful, but he’s not worth a $14.5 million salary cap hit next season. The Giants would free up $12 million with a release. A trade candidate, but he has a $12 million salary in the final year of his contract, and he’s going on 31 years old.
• C Nick Gates — keep: He hasn’t been great, albeit at a new position. While he could be replaced as a starter, his cap hit next season ($3.325 million) isn’t bad for a versatile backup who can also play tackle.
• LG Will Hernandez — keep: The former No. 34 overall pick has been a disappointment. But as with Gates, he doesn’t have a massive cap hit in 2021 ($2.37 million). So while he could lose his starting job, would it really make sense to cut him, especially before training camp?
• LT Andrew Thomas — keep: He has struggled mightily this season, but the Giants just drafted him fourth overall.
• RB Saquon Barkley — keep: He isn’t getting a massive contract entering Year 4, as he might have if he hadn’t torn his ACL. But he obviously will be sticking around.
• RB Wayne Gallman — dump: The former fourth-round pick is in the final year of his contract. Dion Lewis and then Devonta Freeman have passed him on the depth chart.
• RB Dion Lewis — dump: He is on a one-year contract and will be 31 in September. No point in re-signing him. Maybe if he was younger.
• RB Devonta Freeman — keep: The Giants signed him to a one-year contract after Barkley’s injury. Freeman, 29, probably doesn’t want to stick around as Barkley’s understudy in 2021. But the Giants should make him a modest offer and see how it compares to what else he gets.
• WR Sterling Shepard — keep: He can’t stay healthy, but the issue here is cap related. The Giants would free up just $3 million of his $9 million cap hit in 2021 by cutting him. Don’t expect that to happen.
• WR Golden Tate — dump: An obvious choice here. He’s been a massive disappointment. Terrible signing by Gettleman, who gave Tate $22.95 million guaranteed. A release frees up $6.147 million of Tate’s $10.852 million cap hit for 2021. If the Giants can get anything for him in a trade — not a lock, considering his $8.475 million salary — then they should do it.
• WR Darius Slayton — keep: Actually a pretty good draft pick by Gettleman, in Round 5 last year. The rare productive move from the third-year Giants GM.
• WR C.J. Board — keep: He’ll be an exclusive rights free agent in 2021, which means the Giants can keep him with a one-year contract for the league minimum salary. Why not?
• TE Evan Engram — dump: He has been a failure this season. Time for the Giants to start over at tight end, and find more consistency — in terms of health and production. Engram has struggled to offer both. A cut would free up his entire $6.013 million fifth-year option salary. As with Tate and Zeitler, the Giants could try to trade Engram. No guarantee they’d get any takers.
• TE Kaden Smith — keep: He’ll stick around at least through training camp, because he has an $850,000 cap hit, and cutting him would have no cap ramifications.
• QB Daniel Jones — keep: The Jets or Jaguars will probably get the No. 1 pick in 2021 and draft Trevor Lawrence. So what happens if the Giants somehow land at No. 1? (And we don’t think they will.) Well, unless Jones is a complete disaster down the stretch in 2020, he’s going to get another shot. And the Giants could trade out of No. 1. Never say never on Lawrence to the Giants, but we don’t see it happening. Jones will get a third season to audition in 2021.
• QB Colt McCoy — keep: He’s veteran backup with a manageable cap hit this season ($2.25 million), on a one-year contract. If he’s willing to take a similar deal for 2021, bring him back. He’ll be 35 when next season begins.
• OLB Lorenzo Carter — keep: Showed promise this season before tearing his Achilles tendon. He’ll be back for the final year of his contract, with a $1.299 million cap hit.
• OLB Oshane Ximines — keep: This is just the second season for the former third-round draft pick. Too early to quit on him, even though he hasn’t been a star.
• OLB Kyler Fackrell — dump: He isn’t a difference maker. The Giants need to find one of those at edge rusher. He’s playing this season on a one-year contract anyway.
• DL Dexter Lawrence — keep: The No. 17 overall pick in 2019 has lots of potential.
• DL B.J. Hill — dump: One year left on his contract. His playing time has declined since the Leonard Williams trade last year. A cut would free up $1.025 million in cap space.
• DL Leonard Williams — keep: This isn’t a simple one, in terms of keep or dump. The Giants obviously will make him a contract offer, as a pending free agent. A lot depends on what other offers he gets. Someone is going to pay him. He’s currently 10th among interior defensive lineman, including fourth as a run defender, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s 24th in pass rush ratings among that group, though. If he leaves in free agency, the Giants could get a compensatory pick in 2022. And that beats overpaying Williams over the long haul.
• DL Dalvin Tomlinson — keep: As with Williams, the Giants should make an effort to keep him in free agency. But they likely won’t be able to keep both players. Tomlinson is 11th in PFF’s interior defensive line ratings (ninth in run defense, 11th in pass rush). Very solid season.
• DL Austin Johnson — dump: He’s a depth player on a one-year contract. He’s been average at best.
• ILB Tae Crowder — keep: The Giants just drafted him in Round 7. If they cut him, they won’t do it until the end of training camp.
• ILB Blake Martinez — keep: He’s been a legit addition to this defense. And even if he stunk, the Giants couldn’t cut him anyway, because of his contract structure.
• ILB Devante Downs — dump: Pending free agent who has been below average.
• CB James Bradberry — keep: Give Gettleman credit for this signing. Bradberry has been very good. Same situation as Martinez. The Giants couldn’t cut him after 2020 even if they wanted to, because of his contract structure. And they don’t want to.
• CB Darnay Holmes — keep: The rookie fourth-round pick has carved out a role as the Giants’ slot corner.
• CB Corey Ballentine — keep: The 2019 sixth rounder could get cut before 2021, but it surely won’t be until training camp.
• CB Ryan Lewis — dump: The Giants had to scramble to replace DeAndre Baker, and they settled on Lewis. But they need a legit corner to start across from Bradberry.
• CB Isaac Yiadom — dump: Similar situation to Lewis. Yiadom was actually benched for Lewis.
• SS Jabrill Peppers — keep: Look, he hasn’t been superb. But he’s a fine enough starter. And his cap hit in 2021 (his fifth-year option number) isn’t insane — $6.77 million.
• SS Nate Ebner — keep: Solid special teams player who is on a one-year contract. He’s worth retaining at the right price. Remember, Joe Judge values special teams.
• FS Logan Ryan — keep: Another safety on a one-year contract. The Giants don’t have a lot of established veteran leader types. They need that element. Ryan would qualify.
• FS Julian Love — keep: He’s probably not starter material, but as a fourth-round pick in 2019, he’s an affordable backup. His contract isn’t cumbersome.
• K Graham Gano — keep: A pending free agent. The Giants should re-sign him. PFF rates him fifth among kickers this season. A positive addition, after Aldrick Rosas was cut.
• P Riley Dixon — dump: He’s 17th in PFF’s punter ratings, with a cap hit of $2.925 million coming next season. The Giants would free up $2.675 million by cutting him.
• LS Casey Kreiter — keep: Another pending free agent. He can surely be re-signed on a modest, one-year contract.
Get Giants text messages: Cut through the clutter of social media and text directly with beat writers. Plus, exclusive news and analysis. Sign up now for a free trial.
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.
Darryl Slater may be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.