6 players on the Giants who may not survive roster cuts

New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) participate in organized team activities (OTA's) at the Giants training center on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in East Rutherford.
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Training camp is quickly approaching for the New York Giants, and trimming down the roster will be an inevitable part of the off-season. It is always difficult to make some of these depth decisions, but the Giants reinforced multiple positions this off-season, and they may have to part ways with several veterans in hopes of saving some money and focusing more on youth.

Six Giants on the Roster Bubble

1.) Darnay Holmes: A Veteran’s Battle for Relevance

New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants signed Darnay Holmes to a one-year, minimum $1.275 million deal this off-season despite having interest from several other teams in free agency. Holmes has struggled to establish himself in the NFL after transitioning to the nickel position when he was drafted back in 2020 out of UCLA.

Holmes is a quality leader and locker-room character, but at 26 years old, he is looking to redirect his career. The Giants are testing him on the boundary, his more familiar position from college. He’s intuitive in sniffing out screens and backfield plays but has shown inconsistent coverage skills, to put it kindly.

The former fourth-round pick had just 123 snaps last season, giving up 165 yards but securing two interceptions and a pass breakup. In 2022, Holmes played a career-high 637 snaps, collecting 40 tackles but surrendering 527 yards in coverage, along with a touchdown and six pass breakups. He was penalized nine times, significantly impacting his stock.

With inexperience on the outside and plenty of youth competing for roster spots, Holmes has an opportunity to make a push for a boundary corner position. His versatility could be useful for the Giants if he shows any upside. However, his career has been trending in the wrong direction for years, making him a fringe roster player.

2.) Allen Robinson: Veteran Presence in a Young Squad

After drafting Malik Nabers with the sixth overall selection, the Giants boast a much deeper wide receiver unit. They also signed veteran Allen Robinson to a minimum deal to help round out the group.

Now 30 years old, Robinson spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, enjoying 36 receptions for 292 yards and a 73.5% reception rate. His last season over 500 yards was in 2020 with Chicago, totaling 410 over the last three seasons.

Robinson’s extensive experience and mentorship could benefit the younger pass catchers on the team. Although he’s a good emergency option, he will likely be competing with Isaiah Hodgins for a roster spot, as neither offers special teams value.

3.) Aaron Robinson: A Make-or-Break Season

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The Giants owe no allegiance to Aaron Robinson at this point, having given him ample opportunities to return healthy and compete for a job.

During his rookie season, Robinson played 268 snaps, giving up 153 yards and a touchdown but showing potential. He played only 72 snaps in 2022 before suffering a severe leg injury he is still recovering from.

If the Giants cut Robinson, they can save $1.36 million against the cap, potentially using it to sign another veteran minimum player. However, it appears they will give him another opportunity to compete, assuming he is physically ready.

At this point, it may be best to cut ties and open up that spot for competition, especially with quality players being cut every season from other teams. This is how the Giants ended up acquiring Jason Pinnock from the Jets after he was waived as a training camp cut.

4.) Isaiah Hodgins: Once An Emergent Player, Now On The Bubble?

A couple of seasons ago, the excitement surrounding wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins was palpable. He quickly emerged onto the season in the 2022 season after being picked up on the waiver wire midseason. Hodgins made five starts that season, totaling 33 receptions for 351 yards and four touchdowns down the final stretch of the regular season.

After an eight-catch, 105-yard, and one-touchdown performance in the Wild Card Round win over the Vikings that season, expectations were high for Hodgins. However, he started only eight games, totaling 230 yards and three touchdowns in 2023.

Now Hodgins finds himself getting buried on the Giants’ depth chart behind the likes of Malik Nabers, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, and Darius Slayton. Despite once having starting-level expectations, Hodgins will now have to fight for a roster spot alongside other talents such as Allen Robinson, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and Isaiah McKenzie.

5.) Lawrence Cager: The Odd Man Out At Tight End?

nfl: houston texans at new york giants, lawrence cager

Following the retirement of veteran tight end Darren Waller, the Giants are expecting their youth to rise to the occasion. Rookie tight end Theo Johnson and third-year veteran Daniel Bellinger are projected to receive the majority of the playing time at tight end. However, the insertion of the rookie fourth-round pick Johnson could squeeze Lawrence Cage off the roster.

Cager has been with Big Blue since 2022, appearing in 17 games and making three starts with 17 receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The former wide receiver-converted tight end has stuck around on the back end of New York’s roster and practice squad for the last couple of years, but could be competing for a spot on the final roster this summer.

In addition to Johnson, the Giants also signed veteran tight end Jack Stoll this offseason. Cager will compete with Stoll and fellow veterans Tyree Jackson and Chris Manhertz for a spot on the team. While Cager’s experience with the Giants should help him win the job, he will need to be on his A-game to fight off the competition during training camp.

6.) Gervarrius Owens: An Intriguing Safety Now Buried On The Depth Chart

The Giants drafted Gervarrius Owens in the seventh round of last year’s draft. He quickly caught eyes during last summer’s training camp practices, but ultimately failed to see any real action during the regular season. Now entering year two, Owens finds himself buried even further down the depth chart.

Rookie second-round pick Tyler Nubin now stands atop the depth chart at free safety with veteran Jalen Mills behind him and third-year returning Giant Dane Belton as well ahead of Owens. The Giants can only hold so many defensive backs on their roster and cutting ties with a seventh-round pick one year removed has minimal penalties.

Owens still has upside as a developmental safety, but could ultimately find himself spending the 2024 season on the practice squad.

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