Andrew Thomas

Getty Restructuring an All-Pro’s contract can help the New York Giants fund any in-season moves to add talent.

The New York Giants are still considered talent-shy and likely to need to add to their roster during the 2024 NFL season. They’ll need extra funds to make it happen, and restructuring All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas’ contract is one way to get them.

Thomas is one of the few “foundational” players on this roster, according to Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine. The lineman is on a deal that suits the Giants: “Thomas signed a five-year, $117.5 million contract that should age well as the tackle market develops with the rising salary cap. The pact is straightforward with Thomas under contract through the 2029 season and never carrying a cap charge of more than $22.9 million.”

Yet, Ballentine believes there’s scope for using Thomas’ contract to create more space under the salary cap. More space would be welcome if the Giants “need to swing a trade or add a free agent at some point this season and they are 22nd in cap space right now.”

Ballentine believes an in-season move is likely because “the Giants 2024 outlook is bleak. They were 30th in our post-draft power rankings, but they might not be able to afford to be as bad as they are projected to be.”

There’s some logic for adding to the emergency fund. Particularly after the spate of injuries that wrecked Big Blue’s 2023 campaign.

The problem is the Giants already have a bargain in Thomas, who is the lone quality performer along an otherwise feeble offensive line.

Andrew Thomas’ Contract Suits Giants

Favorable cap hits aren’t the only reason the five-year contract extension Thomas signed back in 2023 suits the Giants. There’s also an often overlooked but lengthy injury history.

Thomas has never completed a full season in the pros and lost seven games in the last campaign to a hamstring problem. The Giants need more game time from their best lineman.

There’s no doubt Thomas merits that label when he’s fully healthy. The way he was during the majority of 2022. No. 78 was named second-team All-Pro after that stellar season.

One of his best performances came against the Indianapolis Colts, a game that showcased “Thomas’ length, technique and athleticism,” per Nate Tice of The Athletic.

a dozen clips of #78 Andrew Thomas locking down the blindside against the Colts in the first half (plus a run play for fun).

Thomas’ length, technique and athleticism all on display here. He’s a true elite left tackle for the Giants.

The 25-year-old may have been well on his way to elite status, but the early hamstring injury derailed him last season. Big Blue’s O-line crumbled without its talisman, ultimately allowing a league-high 85 sacks.

Thomas deserves to get paid more further down the line, but for now, the Giants need him to prove he can stay healthy and lead the improvement they must have in the trenches.

Giants’ Season Again Hinges on Offensive Line

The quality of their line play will again determine how the Giants fare in a season. Thomas will be integral to any improvement as one of the few accomplished blockers amid last year’s struggles, per PFF NY Giants.

Andrew Thomas: 82.9 PFF grade since week 9

5th among all offensive tackles 📈🍎

He’ll be helped by newcomers like guards Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor. Both arrived in free agency and should help solidify the interior, despite some thinking the Giants overpaid for one member of this duo.

Eluemunor’s experience at right tackle makes him a hedge against Evan Neal continuing to flounder. Yet, as Dan Duggan of The Athletic pointed out, “Eluemunor spent his spring at left guard, and he plans to spend the break before camp focusing on that position.”

Regardless of where players line up, the Giants simply needed better talent up front. They have gone some way toward getting better, with even an undrafted free agent making an impression along the interior this offseason.

This line will be better, but it will count for naught if the Giants can’t avoid more injuries at other positions. They lost quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor, as well as tight end Darren Waller to injured reserve last season.

Staying healthy at key spots will determine whether the Giants need to dip back into the market during this season. At present, they’re better off staying optimistic and leaving the contract for one of their cornerstones untouched.

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