3 free agents the Giants could target with the Darren Waller retirement money

Stephon Gilmore, Giants
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will officially be without veteran tight end Darren Waller this season as he officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday. Waller’s retirement results in $11.6 million in salary cap savings for the 2024 season. The Giants could have an opportunity to add some talent to their roster with the Waller cap savings ahead of mandatory minicamp.

The Giants could add a CB2 in free agency

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scores a touchdown against Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half of the Lions' 20-19 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023.
Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown scores a touchdown against Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half of the Lions’ 20-19 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023. Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Among the weaknesses on the Giants’ roster, none are more prevalent than their lack of depth at cornerback. While the team has confidence in second-year cornerback Deonte Banks as their primary cover-man, they do lack an established starter at the No. 2 cornerback spot. However, Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud are expected to compete for that starting job this summer.

But if the Giants want to bring in more competition for the CB2 spot, Stephon Gilmore is a free agent who could be an intriguing addition. Gilmore is still available despite turning in a quality 2023 campaign with the Dallas Cowboys. He surrendered only a 55.8% completion rate on the season while combining 13 pass defenses and two interceptions in 17 starts.

An All-Pro safety is still available for the taking

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Oct 29, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) reacts after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

If the Giants want to bolster their secondary, but do not feel like spending cap space on a cornerback, Justin Simmons could be an interesting addition on the back end of the field. The veteran safety was a second-team All-Pro in 2023, totaling 70 combined tackles, eight pass defenses, and three interceptions.

Simmons is 30 years old but is still an effective safety. The Giants have Jason Pinnock entering his second season as the team’s starter alongside rookie Tyler Nubin. Both have promise, however, adding some reliable veteran talent could go a long way.

The Giants need some extra pass-rushing depth

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants bolstered their defense this offseason with a major pass-rushing upgrade, trading for Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns. He joins Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari on the edge, but behind those three, there is not a well of talent. They could add depth, though, by signing veteran pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

Ngakoue is one of the most productive and reliable rotational pass-rushers in the NFL. He bounces around to a new team seemingly every offseason, but still manages to churn out a consistent and respectable output of sacks each year. In 2023, he started 13 games and totaled four sacks for the Chicago Bears. He had gone for eight or more sacks in each of the last seven seasons prior.

If the Giants want to bring in some veteran pass-rushing depth, Ngakoue would be an exciting addition. He could give Big Blue some consistency in their edge room and serve as insurance in case of any injuries at the position.

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