It took Johnathan Hankins a month to beat the Giants’ offer to him in free agency, but eventually he found someone willing to pay up.
Hankins will not return to the Giants in 2017, making him the only defensive starter on the team to land elsewhere this offseason. The defensive tackle agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Colts on Thursday, the team announced. The deal reportedly could be worth $30 million, or about $3 million more per season than what the Giants were offering in their four-year pitch. It also guarantees him $14.5 million and allows him to potentially hit free agency again in three years at the age of 27.
“Johnathan is a young, productive and disruptive defensive lineman,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said in a team release. “He possesses a wealth of experience and brings leadership to our team.”
Hankins, a 2013 second-round pick of the Giants, started every game in 2016. He was, however, their fourth-most-impactful lineman. Fellow tackle Damon Harrison and ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul were more dominant players with wealthier contracts than what the Giants were offering Hankins. He was said to be in search of a contract worth $10 million per season, and on the surface, it appears he received one more than a month after free agency opened. The details of the contract will tell the true story.
“I want to thank the Giants organization for giving me a chance to play the game I love,” Hankins wrote on Twitter after signing with the Colts. “Thank you to my teammates for going to battle every game with me. I appreciate everything this organization has given me and my family. Thank you to all of the fans, I will never forget Big Blue Nation.”
The Giants now have a big hole to fill. They have Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas; both played in a rotation last year but neither has emerged as a full-time starting-caliber player. The Giants also might draft Hankins’ replacement later this month.