The New York Giants lost defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to free agency, but the team was wise to not overpay for his services.
It turns out, so many were so wrong about so much in the weeks and days heading into 2017 NFL free agency. Everyone from the media to players to agents misread markets for what seemed, on the surface, to be slam-dunk talents at the start of March. As a result, several noteworthy names either accepted lower offers than they originally believed they’d receive, or remain unsigned this Easter week.
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is one example of a player who, theoretically speaking, should have had a new NFL home soon after the New York Giants allowed him to test free agency. Hankins turned 25 years old less than a month ago, is coming off a solid season that included 43 total tackles and three sacks and he should be entering his physical prime and best playing days.
After hearing little regarding Hankins, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reported on April 12 that the Giants offered Hankins a four-year deal worth around $28 million (not including the fine print found in every NFL player contract). In that same piece, Schwartz claimed “Hankins’ camp” desired to land an offer of $15 million per year before dropping that asking price to $10 million.
Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star reported earlier this week that Hankins left a meeting with the Indianapolis Colts without a contract, and also that “it does not appear Hankins is destined to don the horseshoe.” Take a quick spin around the Internet with that news in mind, and it appeared that the rumors linking Hankins with teams other than the Giants are disappearing as quickly as United Airlines customers.
However, Holder’s assertion about Hankins’ future was wrong. On Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Colts and the free agent defensive tackle had agreed to a three-year contract worth $30 million. Ultimately, he got the money that he was looking for — after lowering his asking price.
Until the signing, the possibility existed that the Giants could’ve threatened to pull the reported offer knowing no team had matched it. Were that to have happened, Hankins my have found himself signing the type of one-year “show me” deal defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wanted to avoid before he and the Giants came to terms on a new contract roughly one month ago. It didn’t come to that, but that’s more than fine for the G-Men.
The Giants continue to win free agency as much as any team in the NFL. The club essentially exchanged Victor Cruz for Brandon Marshall and did so via a team friendly deal per Spotrac. Big Blue kept the previously mentioned Pierre-Paul and cleared some much-needed cap space in the process.
The Giants possess a roster capable of making a deep playoff run, regardless of if Hankins re-signed. He won’t be in New York for at least the next three years, but the Giants will be just fine having not stretched their checkbooks. What’s more, they could also benefit going forward from it. Per James Kratch of NJ Advanced Media/NJ.com, New York “would likely be in position to receive a compensation pick in the 2018 NFL Draft” as a result of the deal he signed with Indianapolis.
In other words, the Giants played this one out perfectly.