The NFL Free Agency Legal Tampering window opened this morning. For the next two days, any player not on contract can talk to any team needing to fill holes in their roster. The Giants have many holes, but not much money to spend. Even with the moves made so far by GM Joe Schoen, the Giants are still $4.5M over the 2022 cap. This could be a very quiet time in East Rutherford. Don’t expect the Giants to make any big splashes. Look for one-year prove-it deals, some outlet/bargain basement signings, and additional player movement before Wednesday. There may be more exits ahead for the Giants than on the Garden State Parkway.
What’s on the Giants’ shopping list? Well, the offense was pretty sparse last year. They thought getting rid of Jason Garrett would help. In all honesty, that made it worse. The team couldn’t score at all and even resorted to back-to-back QB sneaks at the Giants’ two-yard line. Ugly football. Well, the team has a fresh start: new GM, new Coach, new Coordinator. Let’s look first at needs on offense:
- Right Tackle
- Guards (2 each)
- Tight End (blocking type)
- Tight End (catching type)
- Wide Receiver
- Quarterback (backup/but able to start)
- Running Back
Whew! That’s a bigger list than I thought. The only offensive positions that are solid for 2022 are QB Daniel Jones and Left Tackle Andrew Thomas. Saquon is still there, but he’s being shopped as a trade chip (although the asking price is pretty high). WRs Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard are on the team. However, when you say “The best ability is availability.”, these three WRs don’t give you much confidence. The TE position was gutted as well with Rudolph, Engram, and Smith all gone. Then there is the O-line. Other than Thomas, it is possible no one else returns in 2022.
The Giants did spend time upgrading defense over the last 1-2 years. So, let’s see what we still need there:
- Edge (Rushing/Sacking type)
- Inside Linebacker
- Cornerback (lockdown 1 on 1 type)
- Safety (maybe?)
Not as bad as the offense, but we need to make sure Wink has all his tools to wreak havoc on those NFC East offenses. His defensive schemes rely on lockdown CBs to hold their own in man coverage. With CB James Bradberry in a tenuous position of either being trade bait or asked to restructure his contract. If the Giants can hold onto Bradberry, they have four solid CBs with Adoree Jackson, Darnay Holmes, and Aaron Robinson. Bradberry’s contract is one of the few that can give the Giants cap relief. MLB Blake Martinez has restructured his contract and returns as the lead play-caller for the defense after a season-ending ACL tear. Tae Crowder did well as a fill-in and will team with Blake in the middle. Safeties Xavier McKenzie, Logan Ryan, and Julian Love protect the back end. Will Jabril Peppers return? The defensive front looks solid. The Giants have brought in Edge players via the draft the last 2-3 years. It’s time for someone to step up in that group. Maybe Ellerson Smith or Azeez Ojulari? Does Lorenzo Cater come back on a new deal?
Oh yeah, let’s not forget the team needs a punter now too. The Giants have nine draft picks right now. They have at least 14 positions of need. When you do the math, free agency and signing undrafted players will fill out the team. Joe Schoen, do your magic.