UPDATE: At long last, our (Buckeye) national nightmare is over and Jonathan Hankins has officially signed a one-year deal with Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders.
Former Colts' DT Johnathan Hankins signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2018
In 2016, former Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins was one-half of the NFL’s fiercest interior lineman duos, alongside Damon Harrison. With the New York Giants — the team that drafted Hankins in 2013 — having already opened their wallets to retain Harrison in 2016, the team had to choose between a big-money deal for Jason Pierre-Paul or Hankins. They chose JPP, and Hankins was on his way out in early-2017.
Every year, there are a handful of storylines and players that make up most of the free agency frenzy, and following the 2016 season, Hankins was that guy. A top defensive tackle, and young enough to still garner a big-money, long-term deal, he ended up signing with the Indianapolis Colts on a three-year contract, worth $27 million. Hankins had a decent first season in Indy, notching 44 total tackles and 2.0 sacks in his 15 games played.
The team surprisingly released the Buckeye during free agency in 2018, after playing just one year on his new deal. With a new head coach taking over the team, and a new defensive scheme being implemented, Hankins was no longer the hot commodity that he was just a year prior. Since his release, Hankins hasn’t really drummed up the same kind of interest that he did during last year’s offseason.
He went through the entire first phase of free agency without landing a new deal, and even two weeks after the 2018 NFL Draft wrapped up, still wasn’t signed to a new roster. The NFL veteran still has time to find a new team, and with players that sign after May 8 not factoring into team’s compensatory picks for next year, Hankins could put ink to paper sooner rather than later.
Why isn’t Hankins as highly sought after in 2018?
Part of the concern with signing Hankins last offseason was his price tag. Originally asking for more than $10 million per year, the DT settled for just shy of that when he signed with the Colts. Just a year later, his asking price is just a little lower, around $8 million per season. That’s still a hefty cost for someone who finished the 2015 season on IR and has battled injuries throughout his career.
Since his release, he’s taken a visit with the New York Jets, but some argue that isn’t a good scheme fit for Hankins and isn’t a likely destination for the Buckeye. Some teams that would provide a better schematic landing have already brought in guys, lessening their need for a big-money player — like the Tennessee Titans, who signed Bennie Logan on Monday.
The Colts certainly didn’t do Hankins any favors either, releasing him a couple days after the opening of free agency. Teams didn’t know he’d be available and some had already moved forward with signing other high-demand players. Once cap space becomes a concern, teams start tightening their wallets, meaning a tougher time for Hankins as he looks for a new roster spot.
The Buckeye has met with Washington as well, but is rumored to want a multi-year deal, which the NFC East team may not be willing to offer. There’s also been some buzz that the Detroit Lions could be an interesting landing spot for the lineman.
Where do you think Hankins will end up playing in 2018?
This poll is closed
New York Jets
New York Giants (he’s going back, y’all)
Other (sound off in the comments)