The New York Giants currently have the seventh-highest cap allocation to its various offensive units, yet it finished with the 31st ranked offense, and the 31st ranked scoring offense.
Ian Hartitz of Over the Cap posted the unit-by-unit breakdown, as shown below. The darker the red, the more costly the spending, whereas the lighter the blue, the less amount of financial resources involved.
Let’s run through each unit reflected on the report to get a better idea of what kind of return on investment the Giants actually received.
So long as the Giants leave Daniel Jones in his rookie contract, they are always going to be on the low end of the spectrum at this position, despite Jones's first round status.
That is so long as the Giants don't have to exercise the option year in Jones's deal, the amount of which could range between $16-$25 million depending on what criteria Jones satisfies between now and the time the decision is made.
Jones is eligible to seek a contract extension after this year--which would also coincide with Dexter Lawrence being eligible and Saquon Barkley likely hoping for his new deal as well.
The Giants probably won't be able to accommodate all three, and quite honestly, even if Jones does take that big leap forward this season, the Giants might be wise to wait until he strings together multiple seasons of solid play in what's left of his rookie deal before rushing to extend him.
We've already seen how the Rams and Eagles rushed to extend who they thought were their franchise quarterbacks of the future to long-term deals, only to end up trading them to other teams and having to swallow a massive dead money hit that is likely to hamstring them in their free-agency activity.
The Giants have already pledged their support behind Jones, who per NFL.com's QB Index Report ranked him 24th out of 59 NFL quarterbacks who last year started a game.
But they won't truly know if he's the guy for the long-term until they help him out with some additional talent capable of bringing out the best in the offense, and that could take a year if not two to really sort out.
WATCH: In the video above, former NFL head coach Jim Mora Jr, now an ESPN college football analyst, shares some insight on potential Giants draft pick, Alabama receiver Jaylen Smith, and the concerns some have about his smallish size.
Running Backs: $12,529,102
This figure clearly includes Saquon Barkley's $8,597,659 cap figure from last year. While one can't discount that financial resources went to Barkley, it's also unfair to pass judgement on concluding whether the Giants got the best "bang for the buck" given that injuries aren't the players' fault.
But here is something worth paying attention to down the line. The Giants running game finished 19th in average rushing yards per game (110.5 yards/game) last year. That's slightly better than what they averaged in 2019 (105.3 yard/game) and in 2018, Barkley's rookie season (103.1 yards/game).
You can look at these rankings and averages in one of two ways. The first is that with the offense set to enter year two of the Jason Garrett-led system, everyone should be more at ease with what they're doing to where there is less thinking and a quicker tempo.
If Barkley makes a complete recovery from his torn ACL--and optimism remains high that will be the case--the running game should be in a position to soar to point where its return on the investment is more favorable.
The flip side of the argument is the fact that the Giants running game finished with its best average rushing yards per game without Barkley. Is this a trend or a coincidence? And moreover, does this lessen the potential need to re-sign Barkley to a more lucrative contract?
That's why this season is going to be a big one for Barkley and the Giants. We never really got a full taste of how the Giants planned to deploy him in the offense as it jelled, so it's a little premature to come to a conclusion either way on what the team should do with Barkley moving forward.
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Can we all agree that the receivers group yielded the lowest return on investment for this team last year?
From the Giants ranking 29th in average passing yards per game (189.1) to finishing with the league-low (tied with the Patriots) in passing touchdowns (12), if the Giants front office doesn't give this group a massive overhaul, then something is really wrong.
Consider this stat. The Giants receivers (wide outs only, not tight ends or running backs) were targeted 266 times last year and produced 12 dropped balls. That's one drop for every 22.1 pass attempts thrown by the quarterbacks, who by the way averaged 34.18 pass attempts per game.
In other words, the averages work out to where the receivers were dropping at least one ball per game.
Tight Ends: $11,795,500
Speaking of dropped passes, the Giants tight ends accounted for 10 of the 30 total drops last year (33.3%). Leading the way in drops was Evan Engram, who after getting this negative stat from his rookie season under control the prior two seasons, saw his total snake upwards from three in 2019 to eight in 2020.
Overall, the tight ends were dropping passes at a rate of once per every 26.6 pass attempts, with some of those dropped balls of the more memorable (and hurtful variety).
That said, the Giants remain determined to to pulling out the full range of talents they believe Engram is capable of producing.
The team reportedly shuffled the offensive assistant coaches, swapping the roles of Freddie Kitchens (the tight ends coach last year) with Derek Dooley (a senior offensive assistant).
That means Engram is going on his third position coach in five seasons to go along with the fact he'll be in the second year of his third offensive system since being drafted.
Perhaps all that plus his injury issues, have been factors in Engram's not reaching his potential. But with that said there's something to be said about being able to perform basic skills regardless of the coaching philosophy or offensive scheme.
You know, like making hte receptions you're supposed to make when they ball is placed within your catch radius.
Offensive Line: $50,0333,826
Wait a minute.
Didn't the Giants offensive line consist of two rookies (Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux), a guy who never played the position before (Nick Gates) and a veteran free agent initially signed to be a depth player (Camron Fleming)?
Yes indeed. So why the high price tag?
Besides Thomas's firsts-year cap hit ($5,881,016), there was Nate Solder's $5.6 million post opt-out cap figure and right guard Kevin Zeitler's $12.5 million cap figure. (I suspect Solder's full 2020 cap figure might have initially been counted in this total instead of the adjusted post-opt out amount.)
So, what did the Giants get for their investment in this unit?
According to Football Outsiders, the Giant running game averaged 4.05 yards per carry, 24th in the league last year; with a 66% power success rate (20th), and an average of 1.11 second-level yards (24th).
Want more bad news? The Giants ranked 14th in stuffed runs with a 16.8 percentage.
Safe to say that the Giants didn't get anywhere close to the return on their investment in the offensive line--and I haven't even mentioned sacks and quarterback pressures.
However, if you want to give them a bit a of a pass due to their working together for the first time in a new offensive system and their having a position coaching change midway through the year, that's fine.
But one thing is for certain: This unit, regardless of who is on the line, needs to step up in a big way in 2021, lest this latest rebuild by general manager Dave Gettleman turn into a failure.
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