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Giants' McKinney seeking appreciation ahead of free agency

Mike Carlson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Free safety Xavier McKinney says he wants to feel valued when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March.

"I want to be appreciated in every way for what I do and bring to the table," McKinney posted Friday on X. "As a player and as a leader. I've stood by myself ten toes through the critics, the hate, etc."

The 24-year-old's role and production grew through his four seasons with the New York Giants. McKinney recorded a career-high 116 tackles with 11 passes defended and three interceptions in 2023 while playing every defensive snap.

With the conclusion of his rookie deal, McKinney is seeking compensation that would bring his value closer to the top of the safety market.

The Giants could prevent McKinney from hitting free agency by placing the franchise tag on him, which is projected at $17.2 million in 2024. However, New York has constraints with just $19.4 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap.

Derwin James leads all safeties with an average annual salary of $19 million. McKinney's rookie deal was a four-year contract worth $8.39 million.

McKinney is among a group of Giants starters set to explore free agency this spring, along with Saquon Barkley, Adoree' Jackson, and Isaiah Simmons.

His 91.2 coverage grade, per PFF, was the highest mark for a safety last season. Despite his production and becoming a team captain with the Giants, the Alabama product said he isn't keen on taking a hometown discount.

"I'm the most complete safety out there, and it's about time for some respect to that, too," McKinney said in January, according to the New York Post's Mark Cannizzaro.

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