The New York Giants are absolutely decimated at the center position. Presumed starter Jon Feliciano is dealing with an arm injury he suffered at practice earlier this week. Veteran journeyman Jamil Douglas is listed as Feliciano’s backup on the Giants’ unofficial depth chart, but Douglas is also currently sidelined with an ankle injury. Fellow guard/center Ben Bredeson suffered an elbow injury during Thursday’s practice. Center Nick Gates remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List. Interior blockers Shane Lemieux, Joshua Ezeudu, and Marcus McKethan (who suffered a season-ending knee injury) join Feliciano, Douglas, and Bredeson as players who have been ruled out of Sunday’s preseason contest against the Cincinnati Bengals. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Giants are down to the sixth player on their depth chart at center. Veteran journeyman Max Garcia appears primed to receive the start against the Bengals by process of elimination. The situation has reached emergency levels at center and all across the interior roughly three weeks away from their Week 1 date against a fierce Tennessee Titans defensive line.
The Giants must make a move at center via the trade market or free agency. We’ve identified three centers Giants general manager Joe Schoen should attempt to acquire.
MATT PARADIS, C, FREE AGENT
The Giants’ interest in making a high-level signing such as Matt Paradis would depend on the severity of Feliciano’s injury. Paradis was enjoying a quality season with the Carolina Panthers in 2021 before suffering a season-ending torn ACL injury in Week 9. Paradis has attracted interest on the open market since then, but he would be required to pass a physical before signing on the dotted line.
Paradis is now roughly nine months removed from that injury and has yet to announce his retirement, which indicates he plans to continue his playing career. Paradis could simply be waiting for the right offer to reveal itself, and the Giants could emerge as a potential suitor.
A Super Bowl 50 winner, Paradis became a free agent this summer after his three-year, $27 million contract with the Panthers expired. If Feliciano misses a significant amount of time, Paradis is the ideal veteran leader to help a young Giants O-line regroup without their veteran pivot.
ROSS PIERSCHBACHER, C, TRADE, NEW YORK JETS
The No. 153 overall selection of the Washington Commanders in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ross Pierschbacher is now a member of the New York Jets. Pierschbacher isn’t a lock to make the Jets’ final roster, however. Pierschbacher is currently viewed as the Jets’ backup at center behind starter Connor McGovern. The Jets should be willing to listen to trade offers.
There’s a connection worth exploring here. Giants head coach Brian Daboll spent the 2017 campaign on Alabama’s staff as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Pierschbacher was a starting offensive lineman under Daboll as a junior that season and the pair went on to win a National Championship. Daboll departed for the Bills the following year, and Pierschbacher returned as Alabama’s starting center in 2018. Daboll would welcome an opportunity to reunite with Pierschbacher.
DARRYL WILLIAMS, C, FREE AGENT
This isn’t the veteran offensive tackle Daryl Williams, who also remains an unrestricted free agent. Center Darryl Williams was a three-year starter at Mississippi State who appeared in 45 career games with 38 starts, 13 of which occurred at center.
Williams broke into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. Williams spent the better part of the previous two seasons alongside current Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka in Kansas City. The Giants are down bad at center and Kafka knows Williams well. This connection may be notable.
Williams most recently signed with the New England Patriots earlier this summer but was released in late July. Daboll previously worked in New England and searches for similar qualities when looking for offensive linemen. It wouldn’t be surprising if Williams received a last-ditch opportunity in East Rutherford.
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