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New York Giants: Four major roster decisions looming for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll

Jason Leach

The New York Giants new regime of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll made a big splash on Tuesday in signing Don “Wink” Martindale as their new defensive coordinator.

The 58-year-old Martindale was previously the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator from 2018-2021.

Schoen and Daboll have been busy making additions to the front office as well as the coaching staff. But before long, they’re going to have to make some important roster decisions.

Do they give Daniel Jones his fifth-year option?

daniel jones
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Both Daboll and Schoen expressed their excitement to work with quarterback Daniel Jones who is entering his fourth year, under his third head coach.

Despite Jones’ inconsistency and turnover issues, the Giants brass hasn’t given up on Jones. Team president, CEO, and co-owner John Mara said that they’ve done everything to screw Jones up.

While Schoen and Daboll might be excited to work with Jones, it doesn’t mean they’re ready to commit to him beyond 2022. This spring the Giants must decide on whether or not to exercise Jones’s fifth-year option or have him be a free agent after the 2022 season.

You know that Daboll and Schoen have had this discussion and it would make sense to not give Jones his fifth-year option and let the 2022 season be a prove-it season for him.

What veterans will the New York Giants cut?

new york giants
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the first topics that Schoen touched on is his desire to cut $40 million in cap space. In order to accomplish this, Schoen will have to cut several veterans from the New York Giants roster.

The obvious player that comes to mind is Sterling Shepard. Shepard is the longest-tenured Giant but he’s been unable to stay healthy in his six seasons with Big Blue. He tore his Achilles in Week 15 against the Cowboys, leaving his status up in the air for the start of the season.

According to Spotrac, the Giants would have $7.990 million in dead cap space if they cut Shepard, but they would save roughly $4.5 million. It’s hard to envision Shepard being with the team next season after coming off a major injury.

Other notable veterans who could be salary-cap casualties are linebacker Blake Martinez where the team would save $8.525 million, along with tight end Kyle Rudolph where the Giants would save $5 million by releasing him.

There was speculation that cornerback James Bradberry could be on the chopping block as well as New York would save $12.1 million by releasing him. But with the hiring of Martindale who likes to play man-to-man coverage, it’s doubtful the Giants would cut their best corner.

Schoen will have his hands full in finding ways to create cap space.

New York Giants need to find a viable backup to Daniel Jones

All signs point to Jones being the starter for the 2022 season, but as everyone knows he’s been injured in each of his three seasons. So it’s obvious the Giants will need a viable back to Jones, unlike last season when Mike Glennon was number two on the depth chart.

The Giants brought back their 2017 third-round pick this week in quarterback Davis Webb. But he’s obviously not the answer as he has yet to throw a pass in the NFL.

Look for Schoen and Daboll to try to bring in a free agent quarterback such as Mitchell Trubisky or Teddy Bridgewater to push Jones to be the starter and to be ready to come in if Jones gets injured again.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023 – Lamar Jackson, Deebo Samuel lead the charge

Will they look to trade Saquon Barkley?

NFL: New York Giants at Chicago Bears
Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from his rookie season when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year, Barkley has been unable to play a full season. Now he’s entering the final year of his contract after averaging just 3.7 yards last season.

Injuries and a bad offensive line have derailed Barkley’s once-promising future. With the New York Giants being years away from being contenders it may behoove them to trade the 2nd overall pick from the 2018 draft to a contender and get draft capital that can help them for years to come. Otherwise, they risk losing Barkley after next season and only receiving a compensatory pick in return.