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Odds of Johnathan Hankins returning seem to be increasing

It has been a little while. The mailbag has been on free-agent hiatus. No worries, it's back now that the signings have slowed and we have a better idea what the New York Giants will look like for the 2017 season.

It's time to dissect some of the moves and determine what else might be possible. The re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul does provide the Giants with a little more flexibility and there are some solid players still available.

As always, feel free to offer up questions on Twitter with the hashtag #GiantsAfterDark, on Facebook or via email at Jordan.raanan@espn.com.

Every day that Johnathan Hankins remains unsigned, the odds increase that he returns to the Giants. I would put it at about 50-50 right now. A market isn't going to all of a sudden emerge if it's not there right now. It certainly helps that the Giants have more money available than last week with an estimated $11 million under the salary cap. They made an offer to Hankins earlier in this process that was not accepted. It's possible that offer still sits on the table, or more likely that Hankins realizes he's not getting the mega-deal he expected and decides the best place for him is to return to a potentially dominant Giants defensive front. There, he can shine on a one-year deal and re-enter free agency next year in position to land that desirable long-term deal.

A lot of people ask about the salary cap. It's a complicated system with a lot of rules but I'll try to explain this situation as clearly as possible in four sentences. Jason Pierre-Paul's cap hit for this year was significantly lowered because he received a $20 million signing bonus. For salary-cap purposes, that is spread out evenly over the length of the deal ($5 million each year). He's expected to make another $2.5 million this year in base salary and bonuses, so $5 million plus $2.5 million equals $7.5 million against the salary cap in Year 1 -- even though he's actually getting $22.5 million for the bank account. But the $7.5 million is significantly lower than the $17 million he was going to count against the salary cap in 2017 if he played on the franchise tag.

It's looking unlikely. The only two quarterbacks I can see the Giants taking in the first round would be Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson. It's looking more and more unlikely that either will make it to the 23rd pick. Beyond that, maybe the Giants take a developmental option in the mid-to-late rounds. The signings of Josh Johnson and Geno Smith will not preclude them from doing this either, but it's unlikely to be Eli Manning's successor. He'll have to come in a future draft, potentially next year when there is expected to be a much stronger quarterback class in the draft.

The Giants have been quiet on the running-back market. They haven't really looked into any potential options, even after cutting starter Rashad Jennings last month. But I've heard they do want to add a physical, power option to complement Paul Perkins. So maybe they look for a bargain back as the process moves along, and LeGarrette Blount would be a nice option. He's the kind of back who can get them the tough yards near the goal line and in short-yardage situations. The Giants definitely need that. The longer Blount remains on the market, the more likely this is to happen.