Giants Named Top Destination for Bears Starter Nearing $50 Million Payday

Giants named fit for James Daniels

Getty Chicago Bears OL James Daniels.

Like clockwork, the New York Giants enter yet another offseason in the depths of the NFL when it comes to the amount of spending money at their disposal. According to “Over The Cap,” the G-Men check in with the league’s six-lowest available cap space for 2022. On top of that, recently hired general manager Joe Schoen is eager to clear north of $40 million from the books before the start of the new year, per Peter King of NBC Sports.

One might think such a cap situation would handicap the Giants’ activity in the free agency market. Then again, that’s exactly what pundits said this time one year ago. Right before, of course, the organization spent in excess of $157.4 million on a handful of splash signings.

As the league has shown us time and time again, teams can move around cash to prioritize signings they deem necessities. And considering the current state of New York’s offensive line, it’s understandable why ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Matt Bowen see the money-stricken Giants once again throwing caution to the wind this offseason — at least this time it would be under the guise of protecting quarterback Daniel Jones and clearing holes for Saquon Barkley.

Giants Named Best Fit for Bears Offensive Lineman

In a recent ESPN column, Fowler and Bowen identified the best fits for the top-50 upcoming free agents. When it came to the Giants, the two insiders landed on Chicago Bears’ interior offensive lineman James Daniels as the apple of New York’s eye:

28. James Daniels, GBest team fit: New York Giants

Why it makes sense: The Giants need several new pieces along the offensive line, and Daniels would instantly upgrade the Giants’ mobility in the interior. It’s possible the Bears don’t let Daniels leave their building without an attractive contract offer. — Fowler

Scheme fit: In Brian Daboll’s zone run game, the Giants need interior movers who can cut off defenders and climb to the second level. That’s Daniels, a young, athletic guard who would step in to upgrade this offensive front in New York. — Bowen

Daniels Primed for Big Payday

Originally hailing from the University of Iowa, the Bears selected Daniels in the second round of the 2018 draft. Since then, the now-24-year-old Daniels has started 48 of his 54 career NFL games. Appearing in all 17 games for Chicago in 2021, Daniels posted a career-high 72.4 run-blocking grade, playing predominately at right guard. However, the former Hawkeyes standout is far from pigeonholed when it comes to his position flexibility. Daniels has started games at all three interior offensive line positions since arriving in Chicago.

His versatility, age and improving play are bound to net the Ohio native a hefty payday on the open market, should the Bears allow him to escape their grasp. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger projects Daniels to ink a five-year contract in free agency worth $50 million ($10 million per year) with $24 million guaranteed.

Daniels would certainly be an aggressive addition by Schoen and company, and should he come at the price Spielberger projects, there would undoubtedly be some pessimistic takes. Still, he’s under 25 years old and plays a position that is a need for the Giants — without question. With Will Hernandez and Matt Skura each entering free agency and Nick Gates’ playing future in limbo, Daniels could theoretically be plugged into any interior position across Big Blue’s offensive line and be considered a vast upgrade.

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