The New York Giants have made plenty of noise this offseason, signing 24 players to contracts since the free-agency period opened up almost six weeks ago. While most of that time has been used on signing players from outside of the organization, the next two weeks the Giants will have a decision to make about a player on their team.
The Giants have a decision to make about the fifth-year option for cornerback Prince Amukamara. The Giants have until May 3 to decide if they want to exercise that option with Amukamara. It should be an easy decision for GM Jerry Reese, with the answer being a definitive yes to keep Amukamara around.
The price tag will be a little pricey, as the average salaries of the 25th highest paid players from the previous season will be averaged out and equal what Amukamara would be paid. Right now, that amount is approximated to be $7.13 million. That number is slightly higher than what Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will make per year over the length of his contract with the Giants, who Tom Coughlin basically said would be the Giants No. 1 cornerback this coming season.
It is hard to imagine that Amukamara would have made the $7.13 million as a free agent on the open market, but it is an option that would make sense for the Giants to exercise. The Giants like Amukamara, as he is as hard working as any player on the team. He is also a great technician, playing the cornerback position with precision and a high IQ.
At the same time, it could be asked how much the Giants really do like Amukamara, as they signed Walter Thurmond in addition to Rodgers-Cromartie. Thurmond is on a one-year deal, and if he performs well, he could be a better value play than Amukamara once the season ends, as he will not demand as much money on the market.
Unlike J.J. Watt and Tyron Smith, multiple-time Pro Bowlers and arguably the best players at their respective positions, Amukamara falls into a clouded area; he isn’t a superstar, but isn’t a massive liability on the field.
Amukamara is a nice player, and will have a chance to flourish this season with lowered expectations. He no longer has to carry the defensive backfield alone, as last season he was left pretty much as the last man standing with Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley all dealt with injuries throughout the season. This time around, the Giants have arguably the deepest and most talented cornerback groups in the NFL in Rodgers-Cromartie, Thurmond, Trumaine McBride and Zack Bowman joining Amukamara.
It is a worthwhile risk for the Giants to take. Either Amukamara produces, and the Giants have him locked in at least one season past 2014 with the ability to work out a long-term extension, or they can cut him prior to the 2015 season without being on the hook for any money. It really is a win-win situation for the Giants. They should exercise the option on Amukamara, and hope that he reaches the No. 1 cornerback potential he showed coming out of Nebraska.