2 guards the New York Giants could pursue in free agency

Laken Tomlinson, jets, 49ers
Jan 2, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson (75) smiles after defeating the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants currently have $-12 million in salary space available this off-season, but new general manager Joe Schoen has already indicated they will try to clear about $40 million to spend on draft picks and new player acquisitions.

Clearing that much free salary space is going to be difficult and likely will force the team to release several quality players. James Bradberry is high on the list, as he would save the team $12.1 million if cut. Blake Martinez would save $8.5 million, Sterling Shepard $4.5 million, and Kyle Rudolph $5 million.

Of course, these positions will need to be bolstered with talent in the draft, but the Giants have nine selections that could turn into more if they elect to trade back with one of their top picks.

However, Big Blue doesn’t have enough draft capital to solve every offensive line spot, so free agency will be important to finding at least one player to help smooth over the trenches.

Two offensive guards the New York Giants can pursue in free agency:

1.) Laken Tomlinson

San Francisco 49ers left guard Laken Tomlinson stands out as a potential fit. Allowing two sacks, seven QB hits, and 15 hurries this past season, Tomlinson is coming off arguably his best year as a professional. He recorded a 75.9 overall grade via PFF, earning a 75 grade as a run-blocker and 75.2 in pass protection.

This past season, Tomlinson earned a playoff appearance with the 49ers, making a significant push but being knocked out in the championship game. As a former first-round pick back in 2015, Tomlinson has plenty of experience and would be a fantastic addition inside for the Giants. Given the 49er’s unique run style and ability to play to their players’ strengths, Tomlinson’s mold could be exactly what they’re looking for.

The primary issue remains salary space, but the Giants could easily sign Laken to a multi-year deal and push the money back. Some might not like that concept, but plenty of teams do it if you are confident in drafting. The strategy is proven among competent teams. Dave Gettleman’s poor drafting made the strategy look poor, failing to build a foundation.

A 3-year, $30 million deal with an out after the second season could work nicely.

2.) Austin Corbett

Free-agent guard Austin Corbett is coming off a Super Bowl win with the Los Angeles Rams, and at just 26 years old, he’s gearing up for a nice payday. His calculated market value is $8.7 million per year, per Spotrac. The Giants could also push his salary hit back, but by the numbers, he’s not as refined as Tomlinson in both run and pass blocking.

While $8.7 million may seem like a lot, Corbin is coming from a championship team and is extremely young after being a second-round pick back in 2018. Corbett allowed three sacks, six QB hits, and 25 hurries this past season with the Rams as their starting right guard. He played in over 1000 offensive snaps, recording a 68.8 overall PFF grade. Personally, Tomlinson is my preferred choice of the two, but Corbett offers a bit more speed and agility, mind-you less power. It depends on Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s type of offense. Tomlinson will likely be the better fit given his anchor if they go with a more pass-heavy scheme.

The Giants are expected to draft a right tackle, so having a bit of experience on the right side would be beneficial, presenting another argument for Corbett.