5 remaining questions for Giants spring offseason program

The Giants’ spring program is nearing its conclusion.

Thursday’s final open OTA practice precedes a mandatory minicamp next week. Then coaches and players will take vacations as they rest up for the start of training camp in late July.

Before the Giants hit the beach, however, there are five questions to consider about how Brian Daboll’s second offseason will wrap and set the table for the 2023 season:


Saquon Barkley is scheduled to host a kids football camp on Sunday in Jersey City. It’ll be interesting to see what Barkley has to say about his contract situation and the possibilities of either holding out, landing a new deal or playing on the franchise tag in 2023.

Barkley, who hasn’t signed his franchise tag tender, is expected to continue staying away from the team through next week’s mandatory minicamp (he is not eligible to report until he signs it). So the saga is likely to drag on toward the July 17 deadline for him and the Giants to agree on a long-term deal.

It’s still hard to believe that the Giants won’t cave on some sort of multi-year extension. Their actions this offseason were intended to position the team to win now, including the acquisition of veteran tight end Darren Waller. And the best version of the 2023 Giants has Barkley on the roster on the field and in a good mood as one of their leaders.

It may seem like the Giants have more leverage right now, but every day that brings the team closer to mid-July (and games that matter in September), the more it becomes imperative for the team to get something done.


Leonard Williams’ $32 million cap hit for 2023 seems unsustainable. He would appear to be a prime candidate for a contract restructure or an outright pay cut based on his play and injuries last season, especially if the Giants need to free money to make more additions this offseason or in the fall.

GM Joe Schoen doesn’t want to kick the can down the road if he can help it, however. The Giants got in a salary cap mess prior to Schoen’s arrival by doing just that. So it’s possible he decides the Giants will just eat Williams’ bulky contract this year and plan for his departure after the 2023 season. And with Dexter Lawrence locked up, plus money invested this year in free agents Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson, they can plan to draft more interior defensive lineman at cost control in 2024. That would be prudent after watching the defensive tackle market explode this offseason.

The prospect of a pay cut for Williams seems like a reasonable one to entertain on one hand because he probably wouldn’t have many options to make the same money elsewhere that the Giants still would be paying him. But from a production standpoint, it wouldn’t help to have Williams unhappy. After all, if he stays healthy and plays at a high level, there is potential for a dominant pass rush with Williams, Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux and this reinforced front.


It will be interesting to watch how Schoen, Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale try to assemble a respectable secondary. The first-round selection of Deonte Banks looks wise given what the Giants are putting on the field in OTAs on the back end of the defense.

Maybe Jason Pinnock, who has been working with the rehab group on the side, will be able to fill in well as a starting safety next to Xavier McKinney when he gets healthy. And maybe someone will emerge as a solid slot corner. But right now the safety rotation between Bobby McCain and Nick McCloud, and the slot corner rotation of Darnay Holmes and Cor’Dale Flott, don’t present permanent solutions at two key positions.

Remember, too: safety Julian Love was the Giants’ leading tackler by a large margin last season in addition to wearing the green dot and calling plays for a lot of the season. And he walked to Seattle in free agency.

Veteran outside corner Adoree Jackson must raise his level of play further at outside corner to help Martindale’s defense compete, and Banks, the rookie out of Maryland, must hold his own on the other side — which is not a given for any rookie corner.

That is one of the most difficult positions to play in the league, and it’s rare that rookies figure it out quickly like the Jets’ Sauce Gardner did in 2022.


The Giants have struggled to stay healthy annually for pretty much the last decade, with a handful of exceptions. Getting and staying healthy starts now.

Schoen and Daboll have promised to examine and adjust — if necessary — the practices of last season’s light offseason workload that preceded a rash of injuries prior to and during the 2022 NFL season. It’s not clear yet if the Giants will attack training camp more aggressively this year or keep it the same. So far, some of the light individual drills and slow acclimation of rookies appears to indicate they’re continuing to go light on guys’ bodies, but it’s still early.

Regardless, it’s imperative that the Giants are healthy and full strength out of the gate this season, because they need to survive an early gauntlet to guarantee their relevance the rest of the year.

They face the Cowboys, 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins and Bills in five of their first six games. Four of those six games are on the road, and four of those six are in prime time. The Giants can’t afford to stumble hard during that stretch if they want to achieve their goals. And in order to win a good chunk of those games, they need to be healthy.


Left tackle Andrew Thomas deserves to get paid this offseason just like Lawrence did coming off of a second-team All-Pro year. It’s not a coincidence that Daniel Jones earned a lucrative long-term contract in the same season that Thomas elevated his play on Jones’ blind side. But Thomas is on record saying that a contract isn’t his focus and he’s just aiming to do his part on the field. He trusts everything else will take care of itself.

If the Giants get a multi-year deal done with Barkley, that could free up money for Schoen to also reward Thomas before he plays his fourth NFL season. The Giants want to send a message that they are intent on taking care of their own, and they’ve done it so far with Jones and Lawrence. Now it’s time to see if they will add Barkley and Thomas to that mix before they kick off in September.