It was just another season of bad play and disappointment for the New York Giants. After a 2020 season in which New York was in the playoff race to the very end (despite a 6-10 record), 2021 brought lower lows to the now-over Joe Judge era. The team finished 4-13 while putting on a breathtaking show of incompetence from their head coach and backup quarterbacks. There was a lot of turnover to begin the offseason. The Giants brought in former Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen to take over general manager duties from Dave Gettleman, who retired. The team also hired former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their new head coach. New York’s new brass will get the chance to prove themselves early with the start of the new league year and free agency approaching. And while the Giants have a lot of good draft capital heading into this offseason, they don’t have a lot of cap space as it currently stands. So with all of that in mind, here are six free agents the Giants should target this offseason.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Buffalo BillsTo put it simply, the Giants cannot afford to have Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm back as their two backup quarterbacks. Daniel Jones has had issues with injuries in all three years he’s been in the NFL, but Glennon and Fromm were abysmal in relief during the season’s back half. Additionally, Jones hasn’t done enough to be the definitive answer at quarterback for New York. Signing Trubisky would help the Giants in several ways. First, he’d get the chance to compete with Jones for the starting job. That could either a) light a fire under Jones, driving him to practice well and prove he’s the guy for the job in training camp, or b) give the Giants a better option at starting quarterback if Trubisky wins the job. Regardless, New York will get their answer on Jones in the final year of his rookie contract (fifth-year option pending). Second, even if Trubisky doesn’t win, the Giants get a much better backup quarterback option if Jones is unable to stay healthy. The former Bears starter would give Big Blue a chance to win down the stretch if he needed to step in, which was not the case with Glennon and Fromm. Trubisky almost makes too much sense given the Giants’ new regime featuring a couple of former Bills guys and his inexpensive price tag.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland BrownsOnce the free agency period begins, the only tight end remaining on New York’s roster will be Kyle Rudolph, who they signed as a free agent last year. Rudolph didn’t have a great year with the Giants, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them cut the tight end to save $5 million in cap space. If that happens and the Giants don’t retain Evan Engram, Njoku would be a great fit. Njoku, like Engram, was a 2017 first-round tight end who’s had his fair share of success in five years with Cleveland. He’s young, inexpensive, and could thrive in a Daboll system that saw Dawson Knox set a Bills single-season record for tight end touchdowns in 2021.
James Daniels, IOL, Chicago BearsThough the Giants don’t have much breathing room within the salary cap now, their new general manager has committed to solving that issue this offseason. Still, if there’s only enough room to splurge on one area in free agency, it should be the offensive line—even if they plan to bolster it in the draft—and Daniels might be the best fit. Daniels will just be turning 25 around the time next season begins, and he has experience playing at all three positions along the interior. Though he missed much of the 2020 season with a torn pec, he played in all 17 games in 2021 and was one of the Bears’ best offensive linemen this year. The Giants could really use an upgrade on their offensive line, and bolstering the interior in free agency with Daniels could perfectly complement an upgrade at tackle in the draft.
D.J. Jones, DT, San Francisco 49ersJones was the NFL’s leader in run stop win rate from a defensive tackle in 2021 at 48%. While he did accomplish that on a one-year, $3.5 million contract, he’s likely earned himself a bit of a pay raise. Still, he may not cost too much as he enters his age-27 season, as his valuation on Over the Cap is still under $5 million. The Giants could use a stud at nose tackle to pair with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, and Jones could be that guy.
Kyler Fackrell, EDGE, Los Angeles ChargersWhile I am almost certain the Giants will address their need for an edge rusher in the draft, adding some depth in free agency would be a wise start to the offseason. That said, a reunion with Fackrell could be a really nice move for New York. He had one of his best years with the Giants in 2020. Even backing up Joey Bosa this year, Fackrell had three sacks, a forced fumble, and 10 QB hits with the Chargers. Since he was a backup in 2021, his contract wouldn’t break the bank and he’d be a great depth add to a New York defense that needs it at EDGE.
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Pittsburgh SteelersAs of right now, the Giants’ cornerback unit might be the strongest part of the team. That’s in no small part thanks to James Bradberry, whose 2020 performance made him look like the Giants’ best free-agent signing that year and earned him a Pro Bowl nod. However, his 2021 season wasn’t as strong and he could end up a cap casualty under the new regime. Cutting or trading Bradberry before June 1 would save the Giants more than $12 million in cap space. Witherspoon would be a great value add to shore up the Giants’ secondary if Bradberry leaves. He was inactive for most of the first half of 2021, but when he started playing in Week 10, he saw the field often and put together a strong back half of the season. Witherspoon’s lack of playing time in 2021 could make other teams wary and lower his cost. But if he follows up the level of production he had in 2021 with an even stronger 2022 season, he’d be an incredible value add to a potentially needy New York secondary.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022