The New York Giants made some significant improvements to their offensive line this offseason but are still left with a weakness at the left guard position. At this stage in the offseason, the options in free agency are scarce, but one stands out among the rest. Former Giants’ first-round pick Justin Pugh is still available on the open market and could be an intriguing option to bolster their offensive line.
Should the Giants sign Justin Pugh?
The Giants drafted Pugh in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Syracuse product went on to start 63 games for Big Blue from 2013 to 2017 before signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
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During his time in New York, Pugh played a couple of positions. He was initially drafted to play right tackle before moving to left guard, then back to right tackle during his final season with the team. Pugh moved back to the interior and has made 56 starts for the Cardinals since 2018, primarily manning down the left guard position.
Pugh’s 2022 season was cut short after the veteran guard suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October. He recently took to Twitter to share an update on his ACL recovery and indicate his desire to get back on the field this upcoming season:
As training camp nears, the Giants still do not have a clearly established starter at the left guard position. Ben Bredeson and Joshua Ezeudu are expected to compete for the starting job during camp. But adding Pugh to the competition would give New York a viable third option and bolster their depth on the interior of their offensive line.
According to Pro Football Focus, Pugh surrendered eight pressures and zero sacks on 263 snaps prior to his injury in 2022. His expected market value is a two-year contract paying $5.5 million annually, according to Spotrac. Considering his injury and age (32), Pugh could likely be had on an affordable contract this late in the offseason.
The Giants seem content with the two options they have at left guard. However, it couldn’t hurt to add some extra competition to the mix. If Pugh has an interest in returning, New York should consider making the reunion happen to improve their depth up front.