Mar 102022
 
Share Button
Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (December 19, 2021)

Lorenzo Carter – © USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time in seven years there is a new sheriff in town with Brian Daboll taking the helm as head coach. The New York Giants also are on their third general manager during this time frame, an astonishing development for a team that only had two general managers for 27 years (1979-2006). The franchise that preached stability for decades has become one of the most unstable in all of sports.

The results of all of these changes have been equally damning and frustrating. In the last five years, the Giants have compiled a 22-59 record, averaging 4.4 wins per season. The team has not gotten better and arguably is in worse shape than it was when Tom Coughlin was “retired.” While General Manager Jerry Reese engineered the downward decline since 2011 until he was fired late in 2017, General Manager Dave Gettleman was an epic disaster in his four years despite having six 1st-round draft picks, including the #2, #6, #17, #30, #4, and #11 overall selections. He also was given the resources to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in free agency. All of this to no avail.

New General Manager Joe Schoen and new Head Coach Brian Daboll find themselves in a tough position. The Giants began March about $12 million over the salary cap. Schoen has said he wants to cut about $40 million in salary. He already cut $7 million with the release of tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker. That leaves $33 million more to go so expect more cuts, contract adjustments, and possible trades. For a team already devoid of talent, the list of holes to fill is likely to increase substantially. In many ways, Schoen and Daboll would have been better off with an expansion team.

Reese and Gettleman always claimed they would not have much money to spend in free agency, but this ended up usually not being true. Both spent hundreds of millions of dollars, signing dozens of high-priced free agents, most of whom ended up being disappointments. Schoen and Daboll are also now crying fiscal restraint. We shall see what happens, but it seems more serious this time. The point is this may be the most subdued free agent signing period for the Giants in recent memory. They will sign players, but as of now, the expectation is they will look mainly for second- and third-tier bodies at bargain prices. If true, we may see more signing activity in April, May, and June then we see in March.

Most of the early free agent news is likely to be which Giants are leaving for other teams.

QUARTERBACK

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Daniel Jones
  • Davis Webb
  • Brian Lewerke

Free Agents:

  • Mike Glennon
  • Jake Fromm

Much depends on what the new regime feels about Daniel Jones. The rumor mill says the Giants are going to make a play for Mitch Trubisky. If true, they will have to open up their checkbook. It’s not that Trubisky is that good, but it appears to be a weak quarterback draft and teams are desperate. Trubisky also knows Daboll’s offense and terminology, reducing the learning curve. If the Giants sign Trubisky to an expensive contract, it may be best to see if the team can trade Daniel Jones now before he hits free agency next year. It will also offset the cost of signing Trubisky. I can’t see the team having any interest in re-signing Glennon or Fromm.

RUNNING BACK

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Saquon Barkley
  • Gary Brightwell
  • Antonio Williams

Free Agents:

  • Elijhaa Penny
  • Cullen Gillaspia

Even if you still believe in Saquon Barkley, who hasn’t been the same player since his rookie season in 2018, the “help wanted” sign is up here. Barkley will also be a free agent in 2023. Brightwell was a late-round special teams player. Williams was on the Bills’ practice squad for two years before signing with the Giants in January. The team needs bodies here. Look for at least one cheap free agent addition before this position is addressed in the draft. The latest media report says Daboll emphasizes the H-Back position over fullback and thus isn’t interested in bringing Penny back.

WIDE RECEIVER

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Kenny Golladay
  • Kadarius Toney
  • Sterling Shepard
  • Darius Slayton
  • Collin Johnson
  • Alex Bachman
  • Travis Toivonen
  • Austin Proehl

Free Agents:

  • John Ross
  • David Sills
  • C.J. Board
  • Dante Pettis

There are numbers, but many issues at this position for the Giants. Golladay was signed to a 4-year, $72 million contract, but didn’t even score a touchdown. Neither did 1st-round draft pick Toney who was really limited with hamstring, ankle, thumb, quad, oblique, and shoulder injuries. Shepard missed seven games with hamstring and quad injuries before tearing his Achilles’ tendon in December. He never lived up to expectations and may never be the same player. Slayton has been a big disappointment since his promising rookie season in 2019. The Giants may look for bargain-basement vets for competition, but any serious upgrade is likely to come from the draft. There are no pressing free agents to re-sign.

TIGHT END

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Kaden Smith
  • Chris Myarick
  • Rysen John
  • Jake Hausmann

Free Agents:

  • Evan Engram
  • Levine Toilolo

This may be the weakest position on the team, and that’s saying something when you consider the state of the Giants’ offensive line. Engram is likely gone. Toilolo missed all of 2021 with an Achilles’ injury and won’t be back. If the season were to start today, Kaden Smith would be the starting tight end with Myarick the second tight end. Look for the team to sign at least one second-tier veteran before addressing the position in the draft. The Giants will be looking at in-line blocking tight ends as well as move H-Backs.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Andrew Thomas
  • Matt Gono
  • Matt Peart
  • Devery Hamilton
  • Shane Lemieux
  • Wes Martin
  • Ben Bredeson
  • Nick Gates

Free Agents:

  • Nate Solder
  • Korey Cunningham
  • Will Hernandez
  • Matt Skura
  • Kyle Murphy
  • Billy Price

What a confusing mess! Andrew Thomas is the only keeper at this point. Most if not all of the free agents will be allowed to walk. Nick Gates may never be the same and can’t be counted on in 2022, so the team doesn’t have a healthy center on the roster right now unless they re-sign Price. Gono was just signed off of the street and, as of today, he’s the starting right tackle. Peart tore his ACL in late December and can’t be counted on. The previous coaching staff questioned his toughness regardless. Lemieux lost a valuable year of development due to a knee injury. Bredeson was a major disappointment, missing five games and only starting one. He still could end up starting, but the Giants need insurance. One could argue the Giants need four new starters. They all can’t be drafted so this is one area where Schoen may open up the checkbook to sign a center, guard, or tackle. Look for the team to also scan the waiver wire.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Leonard Williams
  • Dexter Lawrence
  • Raymond Johnson
  • David Moa

Free Agents:

  • Austin Johnson
  • Danny Shelton

The Giants basically have two viable players under contract, Williams and Lawrence. Both of last year’s nose tackles are free agents. Shelton won’t return and Johnson may walk. The team could move Lawrence to nose tackle. Regardless, the Giants need bodies and they can’t all come in the draft. Second-tier free agents who play the run well will be added. This position is a bigger need than many realize.

LINEBACKER

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Azeez Ojulari
  • Quincy Roche
  • Elerson Smith
  • Oshane Ximines
  • Omari Cobb
  • Niko Lalos
  • Trent Harris
  • Blake Martinez
  • Tae Crowder
  • Carter Coughlin
  • Cam Brown
  • Justin Hilliard
  • T.J. Brunson

Free Agents:

  • Lorenzo Carter
  • Reggie Ragland
  • Benardrick McKinney
  • Jaylon Smith

A lot of bodies here…13 already under contract. The question of quality is a different story. Outside, Ojulari is penciled in to start. Roche and Smith are youngsters who could still make some noise. Ximines wore out his welcome with the last coaching staff. Carter really came on late in the year. Do the Giants gamble on re-signing him? Can they afford to do so? Inside, many assumed Martinez, who missed most of the season with a torn ACL, would be cut. He may be back with a re-structured deal or pay cut. Martindale will have to figure out if 2020 late-round picks Crowder, Coughlin, or Brown have any value. The Giants likely won’t spend big money on an edge player in free agency. They will address that position in the draft. They might want to add a cheap veteran inside.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • James Bradberry
  • Adoree’ Jackson
  • Aaron Robinson
  • Darnay Holmes
  • Rodarius Williams
  • Xavier McKinney
  • Logan Ryan
  • Julian Love

Free Agents:

  • Jarren Williams
  • Keion Crossen
  • Jabrill Peppers
  • J.R. Reed
  • Steven Parker
  • Joshua Kalu
  • Nate Ebner

So much depends on the fate of James Bradberry. If the Giants trade or cut Bradberry, cornerback becomes a major need that is more likely to be addressed in the draft. If he re-structures or takes a pay cut, that will help. Jackson didn’t live up to his contract, but he wasn’t bad. Robinson missed much of the season, was up and down when he played, but flashed promise. Holmes was playing his best ball until a neck injury forced him to miss the last six games. The last coaching staff was very high on Rodarius Williams but he tore his ACL and we’ll have to see how he comes back from that. The Giants may want to bring back Jarren Williams (exclusive rights free agent) and Crossen (unrestricted, but a good special teams player). Martindale will be thrilled to have McKinney and Love at safety given their versatility. Will Ryan be a salary cap victim? Another body or two is needed at safety, and one could come in free agency.

KICKER/LONG SNAPPER

Players Currently Under Contract:

  • Graham Gano
  • Riley Dixon
  • Jamie Gillan

Free Agents:

  • Casey Kreiter

Gano will remain the kicker. However, the Giants may cut Dixon. Gillan is currently the only other punter on the roster. Kreiter is a free agent. The Giants will need to re-sign him or sign another long snapper.

SUMMARY

The Giants won’t spend a lot on high-priced free agents. The exceptions could be Trubisky and one offensive lineman. In terms of the secondary market, the Giants need bodies at many positions that can’t all be addressed in the draft. This includes at running back, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, and safety.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.