No one is a bigger part of this Giants rebuild than Collins, the All-Pro safety who has been a Pro Bowl selection each of the last three years. If the Giants are serious about competing soon, then retaining Collins has to be a priority.
A new, long-term deal for Collins is a must, even if it means tying up the Giants salary cap space in the immediate future. Sacrificing and tying up the cap situation for next year is a sacrifice worth making for this team’s long-term viability.
Collins is an elite player at his position, something the Giants can’t truly boast anywhere else on their defense. And while there is some good young talent on their two-deep, what the Giants need are difference-makers on both sides of the ball. They’ve got that kind of transcendental talent on offense with the likes of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Saquon Barkley. But defensively they don’t have the talent that is clutch or consistently make plays, which makes Collins all the more valuable to this team.
“My hopes are to be here, honestly. That’s my hopes,” Collins said last week. “Like I said from the beginning, I’ve been drafted here, I want to finish my career here. It’s a hope and it’s a dream of mine, and hopefully make it a reality.”
A long-term contract for Collins might be difficult for the Giants, something that likely isn’t lost on general manager Dave Gettleman.
While a lot can change between now and the start of free agency, the Giants currently have over $27 million in wiggle room under the salary cap. While players will be cut and moves made, this still won’t be a team with a tremendous amount of room to make signings. Things are likely to be a bit tight for the Giants, especially since they likely need to make another move or two along the offensive line before addressing issues with their pass rush.
But even if the Giants might be hamstrung a bit by the cap situation, Collins must be a priority.
Giving Collins a franchise tag might be a short-term solution for the Giants. Last year’s franchise tag for a safety was $10.896 million, a number that might save the Giants in the immediate future as they continue to rebuild following their 5-11 record. It isn’t a long-term deal, but still the impact on the Giants salary cap is well worth it.
Keeping Collins on this roster is more important for at least one season than making other potential moves in free agency.
Collins is a difference-maker in the Giants backend and needs be a part of this team’s future. Even if it means handcuffing the Giants this offseason. Being able to keep a player like Collins for the future is big for this team. A team Collins thinks isn’t far away from competing again for the playoffs.
“Honestly, we’re building – we’re taking steps closer and closer each and every time, every game and loss,” Collins said.
“Like Mr. Gettleman said, every game within the last 12 games was lost by less than a touchdown, besides the Eagles. Stuff like that, we’re just a touchdown away from being in the playoffs. We’re growing, and we’re a better team than we were last year, and we showcased that. I’m glad for the opportunity to show that.”