Last Updated: August 10, 2023
2023 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
ILB JAYLON SMITH (to the New Orleans Saints): For the second season in a row, the Giants added Jaylon Smith to the roster during the year. The Giants originally signed Smith to the Practice Squad and then 53-man roster in December 2021. He ended up playing in the last four games of the season with two starts, finishing with 18 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense. The new regime chose not to re-sign him during the offseason, but oddly did so in September. Smith soon entrenched himself as a starter, playing in 13 regular-season games with 11 starts (72 percent of defensive snaps in those games). He finished the season with 87 tackles, three tackles for losses, one sack, two quarterback hits, and one fumble recovery. Smith was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, who cut him during his fifth season in October 2021. He then spent a month with the Green Bay Packers before they cut him in early November 2021. Smith has played in 87 regular-season games with 69 starts. He made the Pro Bowl in 2019. Smith suffered serious knee injuries in college and his rookie season in the NFL that have impacted his game. Smith is big, fast, and physical. He flashes as a play-maker, but is not consistent enough. Smith lacks ideal lateral agility and the ability to diagnose, which can get him into trouble when defending the run and pass.
TE NICK VANNETT (to the Houston Texans): The Giants signed Nick Vannett to the Practice Squad in November 2022 after he was cut by the New Orleans Saints. He was then signed to the 53-man roster in December 2022. Vannett ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts for the Giants, catching four passes for 42 yards. The 6’6”, 261-pound Vannett was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He has spent time with the Seahawks (2016-2019), Pittsburgh Steelers (2019), Denver Broncos (2020), and Saints (2021-2022). Vannett has played in 86 regular-season games with 38 starts, accruing 90 catches for 874 yards and six touchdowns. He is known more for his blocking than pass receiving.
CB FABIAN MOREAU (to the Denver Broncos): The Giants signed Fabian Moreau to the Practice Squad in early September 2022 and signed to the 53-man roster in late September, proving to be an extremely valuable pick-up as he became a reliable, year-long starter at corner. Moreau played in 14 regular-season games with 11 starts, missing one game due to an oblique injury. He was also held out of the regular-season finale as a healthy scratch. He played in 82 percent of defensive snaps in games that he appeared. Moreau was credited with 66 tackles and 10 pass defenses. He was flagged five times (two defensive holding, two pass interference, and one illegal hands). Moreau was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with Washington (2017-2020), Atlanta Falcons (2021), and Houston Texans (2022). The Texans released him in August. Moreau has played in 90 regular-season games with 45 starts. Moreau has good size for the position and while he lacks ideal athletic cover skills and could be exposed by top wide receivers, he was steady and dependable in coverage. He has 22 pass breakouts in the past two seasons when he started 27 games, but no interceptions.
DL JUSTIN ELLIS (to the Atlanta Falcons): The Giants signed Justin Ellis as an unrestricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens in March 2022. Ellis played in all 17 regular-season games with four starts, receiving 32 percent of defensive snaps. He finished with 22 tackles, two tackles for losses, and one sack. The 6’2”, 334-pound Ellis was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. From 2014 to 2018, Ellis played in 66 regular-season games with 42 starts for the Raiders. Oakland put him on season-ending Injured Reserve in August 2019 with a knee injury before waiving him later that year. The Ravens then signed him in November 2019. In Baltimore in 2019-2021, Ellis played in 34 regular-season games with eight starts. Ellis is strictly a run defender. He only has 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hits in his career. However, he did not really stand out in run defense either in 2022.
DL NICK WILLIAMS (to the Los Angeles Chargers): The Giants signed Nick Williams as an unrestricted free agent from the Detroit Lions in late July 2022. Williams was placed on Injured Reserve in early November with a biceps injury. In 2022, he played in eight games with seven starts, accruing 15 tackles, two quarterback hits, and two pass defenses. Williams played 45 percent of defensive snaps in games that he appeared. The 6’4”, 310-pound Williams was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has spent time with the Steelers Steelers (2013-2014), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-2016), Miami Dolphins (2016-2017), Chicago Bears (2018-2019), and Detroit Lions (2020-2021). He has played in 83 regular-season games with 42 starts, being credited with 125 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 7.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits, and seven pass defenses. Williams is a better run defender than pass rusher and he does not make many plays behind the line of scrimmage.
WR RICHIE JAMES (to the Kansas City Chiefs): The Giants signed Richie James as an unrestricted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers in March 2022. He became a bigger factor in the passing game than anticipated, replacing the injured Wan’Dale Robinson as the team’s slot receiver. James played in all 17 regular-season games with four starts, finishing with team-leading 57 catches for 569 yards (10 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. He also served as the team’s primary punt returner, averaging 7.2 yards per return, but also fumbling three times. James was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the 49ers. In his first three years in San Francisco, James played in 40 regular-season games with 10 starts, catching 38 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns. James missed all of the 2021 season with a knee injury. James lacks size (5’9”, 185lbs), but he has good quickness and hands. He has eight career fumbles however.
DL HENRY MONDEAUX (to the Jacksonville Jaguars): The Giants signed Mondeaux to the Practice Squad in September 2022 and the 53-man roster in November 2022. He ended up playing in 11 regular-season games with four starts, being credited with 16 tackles. Mondeaux played 33 percent of defensive snaps in games that he appeared. The 6’5”, 280-pound Mondeaux was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Saints (2018), Kansas City Chiefs (2019), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2019-2022). The Steelers waived him in late August 2022. Mondeaux has played in 37 NFL games with six starts, accruing just 37 tackles and two sacks. He is mainly a run defender who lacks the athletic ability to make flashy plays.
OC JON FELICIANO (to the San Francisco 49ers): The Giants signed Jon Feliciano in March 2022 after he was cut by the Buffalo Bills. The Giants converted him from guard to center, where he started 15 regular- and two post-season games, missing one game due to a neck injury and the other a healthy scratch in the regular-season finale. Feliciano had an up-and-down year. His veteran presence and knowledge of Brian Daboll’s offense helped the offensive team. While he brought a toughness, feistiness, and grittiness to the line, his athletic limitations proved to be an issue against better opponents. Feliciano was also flagged six times (four holding, one ineligible downfield, and one taunting penalty). The 6’4”, 325-pound Feliciano was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He signed as a free agent with the Bills in March 2019. Feliciano has now played in 97 regular-season games with 54 starts. He is a versatile player who can play both guard positions and center.
S JULIAN LOVE (to the Seattle Seahawks): Love has gotten better every year since he was draft by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Due to Xavier McKinney missing much of the 2022 season, Love was forced to play in a variety of roles and performed well. A healthy scratch in the regular-season finale, Love started 16 regular-season games and finished the year with a team-high 124 tackles, six tackles for losses, one sack, five pass defenses, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He played in 95 percent of defensive snaps and was flagged once for unnecessary roughness. A collegiate corner, the Giants moved him to safety as a rookie, though he has played some corner and slot corner at the pro level. Love has played in 64 regular-season games with 32 starts. Lacking ideal size, speed, and quickness, Love’s instincts, intelligence, and versatility have become very important to the team. He has developed into a reliable, consistent player and team leader.
OG/OC NICK GATES (to the Washington Commanders): Nick Gates made a stunning comeback in 2022 from a very serious injury he suffered in 2021. Despite missing all of the spring and summer, plus much of the first half of the season, on the PUP List, Gates returned to the active roster in late October 2022. Incredibly, he ended up playing in 10 regular-season with eight starts, mostly at left guard. He also started both playoff games. Gates was flagged with five penalties (two holding, one false start, one tripping, and one ineligible downfield). The Giants signed Gates as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He missed all of his rookie season with a foot injury. In 2019, Gates was active for all 16 games with three starts (two starts at right tackle and one start at right guard). The Giants moved Gates to center in 2020, when he started all 16 games and played well at his new position. In Week 2 of the 2021 season, Gates suffered a career-threatening fracture to his lower left leg. The severity of the injury required seven surgeries. Gates is a versatile player, able to play tackle, guard, and center. He has good size and brings toughness and attitude to the offensive line. While Gates lacks ideal power and athleticism, he is a feisty, blue-collar lineman who plays to the whistle.
2022 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
DT DANNY SHELTON (to the Kansas City Chiefs): The Giants signed Shelton in March 2021 after he was cut by the Detroit Lions. Like many of his previous stops in the NFL, Shelton was a disappointment. Never much of a pass rusher, he was not a factor in defending the run despite his tremendous size (6’2”, 345 pounds). Shelton played in 13 games with no starts (29 percent of defensive snaps) and finished the season with 30 tackles, one tackle for a loss, 0.5 sacks, and one quarterback hit. Shelton was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has spent time with the Browns (2015-2017), New England Patriots (2018-2019), and Lions (2020). In all, Shelton has played in 100 regular-season games with 72 starts.
WR DANTE PETTIS (to the Chicago Bears): Pettis was signed to the Practice Squad in early September 2021 and the 53-man roster in October. He was then placed on Injured Reserve in early November with a shoulder injury. Pettis played in three games, with no starts, and finished with 10 catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. The 6’1”, 195-pound Pettis was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants claimed Pettis off of waivers from the 49ers in early November 2020. He played in the final two games of the season for the Giants, catching four passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Overall, Pettis has played in 33 regular-season games, with 12 starts. Pettis has experience returning kickoffs and punts.
S JABRILL PEPPERS (to the New England Patriots): The Giants placed Jabrill Peppers on Injured Reserve in late October 2021 after he suffered a ruptured ACL and high ankle sprain on his right leg in Week 7. In 2021, Peppers played in six games with five starts (58 percent of all defensive snaps in those games), missing another game with a hamstring injury. He finished with 30 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense. Overall, Peppers’ play declined in 2021 and he saw his playing time decrease as a result. In 2020, Peppers played in 15 games with 14 starts (88 percent of all defensive snaps), missing one game with an ankle injury. He finished the season with 91 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, 11 pass defenses, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Peppers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Giants as part of the Odell Beckham deal in March 2019. He started 11 games for the Giants in 2019 before being placed on Injured Reserve with a transverse process fracture in his back. Peppers combines good size (5’11”, 215 pounds) and overall athleticism. Still a better athlete than football player, Peppers flashes signs of being an impact safety, but he simply gets exposed too often in coverage. He does his best work when moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage. Peppers can also return punts.
OG WILL HERNANDEZ (to the Arizona Cardinals): In his fourth year with the team, despite a promising rookie season and starting 56 of the 62 games he has played in, Will Hernandez has not progressed as a player. He continues to consistently struggle in pass protection, especially on against twists and stunts. Hernandez was also flagged six times in 2021, with four false starts. The Giants selected Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. After starting every game in his first two years in the league at left guard in 2018 and 2019, Hernandez lost his starting position to Shane Lemieux in 2020 after the seventh game of the season. Hernandez also missed two games in early November that season due to COVID-19. The Giants shifted him to right guard in 2021, and he started all 17 games at that position. Hernandez has good size, strength, and toughness for the guard position, but he appears to lack lateral agility and mental dexterity needed to react to defensive line games.
S J.R. REED (to the Denver Broncos): The Giants signed J.R. Reed off of the Practice Squad of the Los Angeles Rams in late October 2021. He played in eight games with New York with no starts (10 percent of defensive snaps in those games) and was credited with 13 tackles. He saw extensive time in two mid-season games, playing poorly in one and better in the next. The 6’1”, 194-pound Reed was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Jaguars waived him in September 2020. Reed was then signed by the Rams, where he spent time on both their Practice Squad and 53-man roster. He has played in a total of 16 games, with no starts. Reed needs to become a more physical, reliable player, especially when taking on the run and making tackles.
LB LORENZO CARTER (to the Atlanta Falcons): A year after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in 2020, Lorenzo Carter surprisingly bounced back quickly in 2021 and played possibly the best football of his career down the stretch of the season. Carter started all 14 games that he played in (66 percent of defensive snaps), missing three mid-season games with an ankle injury. He finished with career-high stats in tackles (44) and sacks (5) while also being credited with six tackles for losses, eight quarterback hits, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. The Giants drafted Carter in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in 15 games with two starts as a rookie, and then started 12-of-15 games in 2019. Carter missed 11 games in 2020 due to the Achilles’ injury. Carter looks the part, combining good size (6’5”, 255 pounds) and overall athletic ability. He flashes the ability to disrupt as a forward mover, but must do so on a more consistent basis.
NT AUSTIN JOHNSON (to the Los Angeles Chargers): With the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency, Austin Johnson became the team’s full-time nose tackle in 2021. Johnson started all 17 games (57 percent of all defensive snaps) and finished the season with 66 tackles, six tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, one pass defense, and one fumble recovery. In his sixth NFL season, this was a career year for Johnson who started off very strong and faded a bit down the stretch. Johnson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Giants signed him as an unrestricted free agent from the Titans in March 2020. Johnson has good size (6’4′, 314 pounds) and is a decent run defender who flashes on occasional rushing the passer. He still needs to play with greater consistency.
CB KEION CROSSEN (to the Miami Dolphins): The Giants acquired Keion Crossen by trade from the Houston Texans in August 2021 in exchange for a 6th-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Crossen played only 23 snaps on defense, but was a standout on special teams, where he led the team with 11 special teams tackles. He played in 16 games, missing one game due to COVID. The 5’10”, 185-pound Crossen was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He was traded to the Texans in August 2019. In four NFL seasons, Crossen has played in 59 regular-season games with four starts in 2020 for the Texans.
TE EVAN ENGRAM (to the Jacksonville Jaguars): In his fifth NFL season, Evan Engram simply has not developed into the player hoped for when he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. An undersized, receiving-type tight end with subpar blocking skills, Engram’s productivity in the passing game has been disappointing. He has averaged 52 catches, 566 yards, and three touchdowns per season. Engram finished 2021 with 46 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns. He is very athletic with excellent speed and quickness for the position, and flashes big play-making ability. However, he is not a reliable player. Engram tends to disappear for long stretches of games and the season. He drops too many passes (17 in the last two seasons) and cannot be counted on in the clutch. Engram also has been somewhat injury prone.
2021 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
OC SPENCER PULLEY (to the Tennessee Titans): Pulley spent all of 2020 as the team’s primary reserve center, but he did not play. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. The Giants claimed Pulley off of waivers from the Chargers in September 2018. That season, Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. In 2019, Pulley played in four games with one start in which he again struggled. He also is able to play guard.
S ADRIAN COLBERT (to the New England Patriots): The Giants placed Colbert on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in early November 2020 and reactivated him to the 53-man roster in mid-December. He ended up playing in six games with two starts (10 percent of all defensive snaps) and finished the year with 13 tackles. The 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Kansas City Chiefs (2020). The Giants claimed Colbert off of waivers from the Chiefs in early September 2020. He has played in 33 regular-season games with 19 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams. He had mixed reviews in his two starts in 2020.
OT CAM FLEMING (to the Denver Broncos): The Giants signed Fleming as an unrestricted free agent from the Dallas Cowboys in March 2020. He ended up starting all 16 games at right tackle, by far the most in his career in a single season. But Fleming was arguably the weak link up front, regularly missing blocks. Fleming was also credited with four false starts and two holding penalties. The 6’5”, 320-pound Fleming was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. After four years in New England, he played two seasons with the Cowboys. In seven NFL seasons, Fleming has played in 91 regular-season games with 42 starts. Fleming is versatile lineman who can play both tackle spots. He has good size. However, Fleming seems better suited to a reserve, swing-tackle type role than starter.
RB WAYNE GALLMAN (to the San Francisco 49ers): In his fourth NFL season, Wayne Gallman had his best campaign despite starting the season as an afterthought. It was only after injuries to Saquon Barkley and the newly-signed Devonta Freeman that the coaching staff turned to Gallman. He ended up playing in 15 games with 10 starts, carrying the ball 147 times for 682 yards (4.6 yards per rush) and six touchdowns. Gallman also caught 21 passes for 114 yards. Gallman was drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, Gallman played in 13 games with one start and carried the football 111 times for 476 yards (4.3 yards per carry). But Gallman saw his playing time drop significant during Pat Shurmur’s reign, carrying the ball only 80 times for 286 yards in 2018-2019. Gallman is a well-rounded cutback runner with decent vision, elusiveness, strength for his size, and speed. He has good hands as a receiver, but he will fumble (seven career fumbles).
QB COLT McCOY (to the Arizona Cardinals): McCoy easily won the back-up quarterback spot for the Giants in 2020 and ended up playing in four games with two starts, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 375 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The 6’1”, 212-pound McCoy was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has spent time with the Browns (2010-2012), San Francisco 49ers (2013), and Washington Redskins (2014-2019). The Giants signed McCoy as an unrestricted free agent from the Redskins in March 2020. In 11 NFL seasons, McCoy has only started 30 games, 21 of which came with the Browns in 2010-2011. McCoy lacks ideal size and arm strength, which limit his ability to threaten NFL defenses. He’s a typical back-up type quarterback who usually will not hurt his team, but also is incapable of elevating its play. McCoy is smart and a positive influence in the locker room.
LB KYLER FACKRELL (to the Los Angeles Chargers): The Giants placed Fackrell on Injured Reserve in early December 2020 with a calf injury and activated him to the 53-man roster in early January 2021. In all, Fackrell played in 12 games with nine starts. He played in 56 percent of all defensive snaps and finished the season with 34 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hits, two pass defenses, one interception that he returned for a touchdown, and one forced fumble. The 6’5”, 245-pound Fackrell was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. In four seasons with Green Bay, Fackrell played in 61 regular-season games with nine starts, compiling 111 tackles, 16.5 sacks, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Fackrell’s best season was in 2018 when he started seven games and accrued 42 tackles and 10.5 sacks. The Giants signed Fackrell as an unrestricted free agent from the Packers in March 2020. Although not a dynamic athlete, Fackrell is a big, versatile linebacker who can play outside or inside linebacker. He flashes as a pass rusher.
DL DALVIN TOMLINSON (to the Minnesota Vikings): For the second year in a row, Tomlinson served as the team’s primary nose tackle. He started all 16 games in 2020, playing 60 percent of all defensive snaps, and was credited with 49 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and four pass defenses. The Giants drafted Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Tomlinson has started all 64 games since he was drafted and has played both 3- and 1-technique roles with the Giants. Tomlinson is a big, strong, physical defender who flashes the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield.