Giants’ Contract Candidate Tipped to Become All-Pro in 2023

Andrew Thomas and Azeez Ojulari

Getty A New York Giants' starter in line for a contract extension is tipped to make 1st-team All-Pro this season.

Dexter Lawrence made the leap from former first-round draft pick to All-Pro for the New York Giants in 2022, and another key starter is tipped to make the same progress this year.

Left tackle Andrew Thomas will become a first-team All-Pro in 2023, according to Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton. He believes Thomas “could reach his full potential at an All-Pro level with continuity in the Giants’ offensive system.”

It’s a strong argument since Thomas is entering his fourth season as the unchallenged blindside protector for quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s also getting a second exposure to the system favored by head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.

As Moton pointed out, their schemes should become more expansive this season, thanks to the arrival of “multiple pass-catchers, including tight end Darren Waller (via trade with the Las Vegas Raiders), rookie third-rounder Jalin Hyatt, Jamison Crowder and Parris Campbell. If Jones shows some improvement in the passing game, Thomas may get some of the spotlight as his top offensive lineman.”

More pass blocking will not only let Thomas firm up his All-Pro credentials. It can also strengthen his case for a contract extension featuring terms at the top end of the lucrative offensive tackle market.

Former 4th-Overall Pick Growing in Stature Every Year

Thomas has improved every season since being drafted fourth-overall in 2020. While he flashed the potential to dominate as a rookie, his debut season was ultimately marred by too many sluggish performances.

Things changed in 2021, despite an ankle injury costing Thomas four games. He started 16 games last season and was named second team All-Pro, behind only Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers.

Plays like this block against 9.5-sack edge-rusher Uchenna Nwosu against the Seattle Seahawks, highlighted by Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View, were the hallmark of Thomas’ banner campaign.

Protecting the pocket was a standout feature of Thomas’ game last season, per numbers from Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus, who noted the player’s “89.9 pass-blocking grade in 2022 was one of the highest marks in the league, and he allowed just seven sacks or hits on 700 pass-blocking snaps.”

Thomas was also a force in the running game. His power and drive helped Saquon Barkley return to form in spectacular style by rushing for a career-high 1,312 yards.

Barkley thrived thanks to blocks like this one by Thomas on Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive end Josh Allen (41), per Falato.

Thomas has done all he can to merit All-Pro status. He’s also done enough to guarantee his next payday will be a big one after the Giants picked up his fifth-year option this offseason.

Giants’ Linchpin Primed to Get Paid

He may be under contract for two more years, but Thomas’ long-term future represents a tricky decision for the Giants. Specifically, general manager Joe Schoen must choose the right moment to begin talks about an extension for the 24-year-old.

Starting those talks now could be cheaper than waiting, according to former player agent Joel Corry. The contract analyst for CBS Sports explained to the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy why the deal will hinge on how much the Giants want to exceed what Laremy Tunsil earns with the Houston Texans.

Tunsil is the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL, earning an average of $25 million annually for three years, per Dunleavy. Corry believes “there’s no deal to be made unless you are topping Tunsil. You could make a case Thomas was the best left tackle last year, so you can either do it now and be a little above Tunsil or, if he has another year like last year, it’s going to be much above.”

It’s not a stretch to suppose Thomas will play above Tunsil’s level in 2023. The latter is part of a rebuilding team under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, who will ask Tunsil to protect a rookie quarterback, second-overall pick C.J. Stroud.

Thomas, meanwhile, is four years younger, playing for a team that went to the playoffs last season and has since retooled its offense. Jones is surrounded by more weapons and will need to air the ball out more often to justify the four-year deal worth $160 million he signed before free agency.

If Jones makes strides as a passer, Thomas will be having a season good enough to add some zeroes to his next contract. Having their QB1 paid and secured gives the Giants more funds to pay Thomas, who Corry believes should keep an eye on the next deal given to Tristan Wirfs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “If I’m him, if we don’t get something done now, I’m waiting for (Buccaneers’) Tristan Wirfs’ deal to get done — that is going to be a blockbuster when they are not paying a quarterback there — and then trying to top him.”

The Giants won’t want other marquee tackles to inadvertently set Thomas’ market. It’ll be better for Schoen to lay some early groundwork for an extension on the Giants’ terms.

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