Joe Schoen was formally introduced as the new General Manager of the Giants yesterday. In his press conference he was asked about the Giants Cap situation which he called, “Real and Concerning.” Now there is a lot more too that comment than just the Giants pending free agents, but Schoen has to start somewhere. Let’s take a look at some of the key guys who should be brought back, and who we should all wave goodbye too.
Nate Solder- The Giants should not and cannot bring back Nate Solder. He was a free agent bust and never lived up to his contract. Not to mention he is turning 34 this year. Great human being, but he should not be back in blue.
Austin Johnson-The Giants signed defensive tackle Austin Johnson to a second one year contract last year, and Johnson played pretty well. He was replacing Dalvin Tomlinson, who was a force in the middle for the Giants. The Giants run defense did drop from number 10 in rushing yards per game all the way to 25 this season, but some of that can also be attributed to the loss of Blake Martinez in the middle. Johnson is a candidate to bring back on another short term deal.
Billy Price-The Giants traded BJ Hill to the Bengals for Billy Price just prior to the 2021 season. This felt like a move the Giants kind of had to make due to injuries and retirements along the offensive line at the time. The move has not aged well due to the good play of BJ Hill in Cincy. Price was not especially good at center, but the Giants need depth. I think bringing Price back as a backup, or insurance policy for if Nick Gates isn’t ready, is a move the Giants should make.
Evan Engram- Engram had a relatively quiet year, unlike his 2020 season where he became known more for dropping the ball than anything else. The fact of the matter is that Evan Engram has shown glimpses of greatness in the past. Maybe Schoen see’s this and wants to bring him back, but he hasn’t been watching Engram like we have the past 5 seasons. Engram’s time in New York has run its course, although I think there is a good chance he puts it all together somewhere else.
Jabrill Peppers- How do you not like Jabrill Peppers? Peppers is a very good safety, and is a leader on both defense and special teams. He’s a New Jersey native and puts his heart and soul in every play. His, “We want that Ball, F*** Em!” moment in New Orleans was an all time moment. The problem is that his position is perhaps the deepest on the Giants team. Xavier McKinney had himself a breakout sophomore season, Logan Ryan is another leader on this team whose contract makes it nearly impossible for the Giants to get rid of him, and Julian Love may be the most underrated player on the entire team. Couple all of that with Pepper’s coming off a torn ACL and I don’t think a return is going to happen. If Peppers is willing to play on a cheap contract then I would love to see him back, but he’ll get much more money somewhere else.
Will Hernandez- This is a more difficult decision then I think people realize. Hernandez was a second round draft pick of the Giants back in 2018, but has never quite lived up to his draft status. I think this is why he has developed such a bad reputation among some fans. The thing is though, up until this year, he was a solid, consistent presence on the Giants line. Like I said though, this year is what makes the difference, as he was simply not a good player. Similar to Billy Price, I would love to see Hernandez back as a depth piece, or starter if no one else is acquired. I doubt that is what Hernandez wants though, and he may get more money going somewhere else.
Lorenzo Carter- Good ‘ole Lorenzo Carter. Maybe one of the easiest decisions on this list becomes the hardest because Carter decided to have an absolute killer last month of the season. Carter was all over the field, totaling 5 sacks, 22 tackles, and 6 QB hits. Put that on a 17 game scale if you feel like putting your head through a wall. We hear about Carter every year in training camp, and how he looks like a beast and how this is going to be the year he breaks out. Whether it be injuries, or poor play, he never puts it together. That is until last December when just about every Giant fan had already moved on from him. The Giants should monitor Carter’s free agency status, because if they can bring him back on a one year prove it deal, they may just have to do it.
Keion Crossen/Casey Kreiter- Yes I know, they only play special teams, but it’s a part of the game! Both of these guys are very good at their jobs, and both should be brought back. We’ll leave it at that. Special Teams matter too!
I may be getting ahead of myself since the Giants still need to hire their Head Coach (click here for a great rundown on those candidates), but I’m already ready for 2022 to start. It sucks that we may have to see some of these guys go, but I think every Giant fan is willing to say the tough goodbye’s in order to bring back a little thing called winning to East Rutherford.
(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)