Who Should Big Blue Sign This Offseason?
Daniel Racz @Danny Dimes
In an offseason where teams can not hand out big contracts due to the covid-lowered salary cap, the Giants will need to be careful with who they bring in and how much they pay them. In typical seasons, the salary cap jumps up 5-10% each year, but due to the pandemic, the salary cap will fall from $198.2 million to around $185 million, with a minimum of $180 million also in the range of outcomes. The Giants have already committed $187 million in 2021, but they can restructure contracts of veterans like Sterling Shepard, James Bradberry, and Logan Ryan and cut others like Nate Solder, Golden Tate, and Levine Toilolo to create cap space.
If it is assumed that the Giants have 30-40 million to play with in free agency, they will have some tough decisions to make. After bringing back one of Dalvin Tomlinson or Leonard Williams, they will have roughly 20 million dollars to spend on other talent. That money can bring in one big-time free agent and a smaller piece, or a few players with none commanding more than 10 million dollars a year.
The Giants urgently need play-makers. While many project them to go after big names like Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson, there is no guarantee that either hit the open market. Patrick is a restricted free agent for the Denver Broncos, but with Courtland Sutton coming back it is highly unlikely that Denver pays him to be their wide receiver four. Patrick (6-4, 212) was a serviceable replacement for Courtland Sutton and could fill the Giants’ need for a bigger-bodied wideout.
The Giants are rumored to be in “love love love” with Florida Tight End Kyle Pitts, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, and the additions of Pitts and Patrick would give the Giants a complete weapons group. Another benefit to Patrick is that he would cost significantly less than most other wide receivers. The Giants could offer Patrick a two or three-year contract at $5 million per year and expect to be the leading offer.
The Giants have needed a physical running back to complement Saquon Barkley for multiple years. Williams is not only a quality between-the-tackles runner, but he is also regarded as one of the best pass-protectors in the league at the running back position. With a quarterback like Daniel Jones who is oblivious to pressure, signing a competent blocker could noticeably improve the offense. Barkley, who has always been a poor pass-protector, would not have to worry about protecting his quarterback if the Giants signed Williams.
The Packers have to decide between extending one (or none) of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, and Jamaal is currently expected to hit the open market. In his time as the Packers’ starting running back, he was good enough to get the job done. Jamall Williams would be increasing the longevity of Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ face of the franchise, by taking many of the short-yardage carries and their corresponding hits.
The best player at a position of need that the Giants could sign is Allen Robinson. While the Chicago Bears have not made an effort to re-sign Robinson, they may franchise tag him before the season to retain his services or recoup draft capital in a trade. While the Giants spending a second-round pick on A-Rob in addition to paying him 17-20 million dollars a year would not be beneficial for the franchise long term, if he hits the open market they should pursue him.
For years, Twitter has coined the phrase #FreeAllenRobinson due to Allen’s lack of above-average quarterback play. While Daniel Jones is not a massive improvement from Chicago’s carousel, he is still an upgrade. Robinson would be a game-changer for the Giants’ offense. The Jason Garrett offense demands an alpha wide receiver like Robinson, and Daniel Jones could use a wide receiver with elite hands and contested-catch skills.
The Giants’ offense would immediately become more dynamic with the addition of Allen Robinson. The combination of Allen Robinson, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, and pro-bowler Evan Engram should give Daniel Jones every chance in the world to establish himself as a franchise quarterback.
The San Francisco 49ers took Solomon Thomas with the 3rd pick in the 2017 draft and he has not lived up to expectations. However, he has dealt with personal issues during his first few years in the league that certainly could have affected his play. The Giants could bring in the highly-touted prospect as a low-risk reclamation project.
Solomon Thomas was thought of as the best interior defensive line prospect in multiple years coming out of college. Thomas was capable of dominating at the college level, unlike many others. Dave Gettleman should review his evaluation of the 2017 defender and think about if he sees a player that is worth taking a risk on in the form of a one or two-year deal. If Gettleman approves, the Giants should sign him as a budget replacement for whichever star defensive lineman is not re-signed.
The final free agent that the Giants should look to target is linebacker/pass-rusher hybrid Haason Reddick. Coming out of Temple, Reddick was praised for his athleticism and ability to play multiple positions on defense. While Arizona did not maximize Reddick’s skills during his first three years in the NFL, Reddick’s 2020 season was a welcome surprise. Reddick logged a career-high 12.5 sacks in a breakout year. The Giants experienced everything Reddick brought to the table last year more than any other franchise. In the December 13th matchup between the Cardinals and Giants, Reddick had 5.0 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
The Giants have needed a pass-rusher ever since they traded away Jason Pierre Paul and Olivier Vernon, and Reddick is one of the best on the market. Reddick also can play in coverage in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s multiple defense, giving the Giants another incentive to sign the Temple product. If the Giants think they can add offensive weapons in the draft, signing Reddick to a 3 or 4 year deal for 10-15 million dollars per year could complete their defense.
While the Giants will have to make some difficult decisions this offseason, there will still be many ways to improve the roster and contend for the NFC (L)east division title in 2021. The Giants need to add offensive playmakers in the offseason, whether it be in the draft or free agency, while also working to maintain their stellar defense that kept them playoff relevant until the final game of the 2020 season. In an offseason where every team has to cut more veterans and be more prudent in their free-agent signings, the Giants’ front office and Dave Gettleman’s “Bring in good players at all costs” mentality will be put to the test.