The New York Giants have rewarded a player who’s posted statistics that are the “best in franchise history.” Kicker Graham Gano signed a contract extension worth $16.5 million over the next three years on Friday, September 8.
Terms of the deal were reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, who dubbed the “little more than $11.3 million fully guaranteed” as “money in the bank for a money kicker.”
Garafolo’s colleague Ian Rapoport added 36-year-old Gano also gets “nearly $2M more in injury guarantees” under the reworked contract.
The new money is ample reward for a points machine who “has hit 91.8% of his field goal attempts for the Giants, the best in franchise history,” according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.
Gano was a solid producer during some lean years for the franchise, but now he’s benefiting from the Giants’ return to relevance in 2022. A new regime led by general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll helped Big Blue reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and post a 10-8-1 record.
Several key players have since been rewarded with new deals, including quarterback Daniel Jones, along with Pro Bowl nose tackle Dexter Lawrence. Gano has done enough to merit being added to this list and joining the ranks of the best-paid players at his position in the NFL.
Giants’ Record-Setter Has Been a Model of Consistency
Gano has been all about consistency since swapping the Carolina Panthers for the Giants in 2020. His first campaign at MetLife Stadium saw Gano make “89 of 97 field goal attempts (91.8%), including 20 of 25 (80.0%) from 50+ yards, with a long of 57 yards,” per Giants.com editor Michael Eisen.
Not only does Gano top the franchise charts for kickers with a minimum of 50 attempts, Eisen also noted the veteran’s “20 field goals of 50 or more yards are more than twice as many as any other kicker in Giants history.”
Numbers like those deservedly put Gano in elite company. He’s now “the third-highest paid kicker in the league,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, with Baltimore Ravens’ All-Pro Justin Tucker still leading the way.
Gano isn’t making Tucker-level money, but he’s no less valuable to the Giants. Kicking in the swirling winds at MetLife is far from easy, but No. 9 missed just three of 17 field goals at home last season, to go with converting 19 of 21 extra points.
He’s been a huge help on the field, but Gano’s new deal may not provide the Giants with the level of salary cap assistance Schoen is still seeking.
Giants Still Striving for Cap Room
Schoen has already created over $6 million in additional space under the cap by restructuring the contract the Giants handed to Jones back in March. Duggan isn’t convinced Gano’s fresh terms will provide similar relief, detailing how the kicker’s “salary was $3.75M, that can be lowered to $1.165M as part of the extension. But assuming there’s a signing bonus, there’s probably not going to be much savings.”
Any room Schoen can make will be welcomed by a Giants team owning a mere $3,979,558 worth of cap space, per Spotrac.com. Schoen knows the value of having a few more dollars on deck after the way additional funds helped the Giants bolster their roster at key moments last season.
Tight end Lawrence Cager, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins and linebackers Jaylon Smith and Jarrad Davis all joined the team during the campaign. They each played their own parts, big or small, in adding momentum to the push for the postseason.
Schoen would be smart to rebuild the emergency fund as much as possible in order to assist another playoff-ready squad.