Dexter Lawrence made the most of a resurgent 2022 New York Giants season. Pro Football Focus graded Lawrence a 92 overall and named him the 2022 Giants MVP. Lawrence was the third highest rated pass rusher in the NFL this season. Big Dex has earned the respect of his peers across the NFL due to his stellar blue chip contributions to the Giants defense. Lawrence has been called the most improved Giant during the 2022 NFL Season. He has even been called one of the best players in the entire NFL.
You can not underestimate the sheer dominance that Dexter Lawrence displayed on the football field this season. The New York Giants picked up Big Dex’s 5th year option at a cap friendly $12.4 million for the 2023 NFL season.
Restructure Leonard Williams and Extend Dexter Lawrence
Picking up a 5th year guaranteed contract shows a player that you have confidence in them. Signing them to a long term deal as a franchise cornerstone takes that a step farther. Dexter Lawrence has played himself into the conversation as a franchise cornerstone.
Leonard Williams has already commented that he would consider a restructure if it meant playing with Lawrence for the foreseeable future. The estimated cap savings on a Leonard Williams restructure is around $8 million.
What is the Market Value of an Extension?
The 2022 Contract extensions for Grady Jarrett and Aaron Donald create a blueprint for what a Dexter Lawrence extension would look like. Let’s pump our breaks on calling Big Dex the 2nd coming of Donald, but he’s certainly as talented if not more talented that Jarrett.
There is also a significant gap between Aaron Donald’s $31 million AAV and DeForest Buckner’s $21 million AAV. Lawrence and his agents will probably look at Buckner’s $21 million a year as the floor for contract negotiations. This fanbase should not expect to have Big Dex lined up for $21 million a year.
The Contract Offer
The New York Giants should consider giving Lawrence a pay raise for the 2023 NFL season while also adding three additional years to his contract. The Chris Jones, Aaron Donald, Grady Jarrett, and DeForest Buckner contracts have all been used as a framework.
The breakdown of a contract would possibly look like this:
2023 ($17.4 million) – Lawrence’s 2023 cap hit is already $12.4 million. The $8 million restructure with Leonard Williams benefits Lawrence with a pay raise.
2024 / 2025 / 2026 ($26 million AAV – $50 million Guaranteed) – Schoen can structure this extension numerous ways. The 2024 cap should see a significant boost as will the subsequent caps for the years following.
The Giants would do well to lock up the talent they currently have. This includes an ascending defensive player who is already in the conversation as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Big Dex can be a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Let’s pay him as such.