Giants’ Andrew Thomas may soon secure an extension as he joins the NFL’s elite

In 2016, high school football star Andrew Thomas met NFL star Trent Williams.

Six years later, Thomas finished second to the seemingly ageless Williams in NFL All-Pro voting.

Is this the season when Thomas will outpace Williams on the field and at the end in the bank?

Can the Giants get the best left tackle in the league through the playoffs?

“Obviously you want the accolades, you want to be the best, but you don’t get there by worrying about it,” Thomas said when asked about withstanding the expectations raised on his stellar Second Team All-Pro selection. “You can get there by working every day to get better, and that’s what I focus on.”

Cliches aside, leave no room for confusion: Thomas wants to make a firm claim as one of the elite in football’s second most important position.

“I’m a competitor,” said Thomas. “I want to be the best for my team. It’s not just about me, but I want to be one of the best players in the league.”

The Giants exercised Thomas’ fifth-year contract option earlier this month, and now they must consider opening extension talks while he’s under the team’s control for two more seasons – at a reduced salary cap fee of $10.2 million in 2023 and $14.1 million in 2023 – Or wait.

“It’s definitely a blessing,” Thomas said of adding another guaranteed year to his contract. “The good thing is that I will be here for at least five years. We didn’t really get into anything [negotiating] Until now. If it happens, it will happen. For now, I’m just focusing on the first part of the off-season, and the rest will take care of itself.”

If the Giants believe Thomas, 24, will only get better, an early extension precedes the bull market and can be orchestrated to provide immediate relief of the cap so that no other short-term measures with caps are needed.

Thomas is a perfectionist when it comes to areas for improvement.

“Starting with my block on pass protection, being more consistent with my inside foot, making sure I stay on the corner constantly,” he said. “My hand is in pass protection too, especially the inside hand, making sure I keep impacting power moves.”

Williams became the highest-paid lineman in NFL history when he signed a six-year, $138 million ($55 million guaranteed) contract with the 49ers in March 2021.

Since then, Williams has been a two-time first-team all-pro, but his two-year stay at the top of the market ended when the Texans re-signed Lamy Tunsil to a three-year, $75 million extension, creating a new high from an average annual contract worth $75 million. $25 million.

“For me, there is no deal to be made unless you top Tunsil,” NFL contracts expert Joel Currie of told The Post. “You can make a case that Thomas was the best left tackle last year, so you can either do that now and be a little bit ahead of Tunsil or, if he had another year like last year, much higher.”

Thomas was ranked the No. 3 offensive tackle in the league last season (No. 3 pass blocker and No. 7 run blocker) by Pro Football Focus.

Rejected twice by the Pro Bowl since being a struggling rookie, Thomas has only allowed six sacks on 1,217 pass-blocking shots over the past two seasons combined.

1 Kyler Murray was the only member of the 2019 first-cycle draft class to sign an extension after three seasons.

The class of 2020 (Thomas picked #4) is now eligible for an extension, so who will be first?

“In an excellent position, I can understand why they would want to lock him up sooner rather than later, so if I were the team, I would have exploratory talks,” said Curry, a former player’s agent. “If I were him, if we get nothing done now, I’m waiting [Buccaneers’] The Tristan Wervs deal has to be done – that would be a huge success when they don’t push a quarterback there – and then try to outsmart him.”

The Giants face Williams’ 49ers this season and Thomas is hoping for a chance to remind his counterpart that they met years ago at Nike recruiting camp.

And if someone had told a teenage Thomas that he would eventually be remembered in the same rank as Williams?

“He would get fired up and excited,” Thomas admitted. “This is absolutely crazy.”

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