Giants: 3 free agent pass-rushers to bolster EDGE depth

Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (Giants, New York Giants, NYG)
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a severe lack of depth in the pass-rushing department. The team is confident in its two starting edge rushers, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. This young duo has breakout potential entering 2023. However, behind Thibodeaux and Ojulari, New York should be seeking some added talent in free agency. There are three veteran free-agent pass-rushers available that could bolster the Giants’ edge depth as the team heads into the preseason.

The Giants could go after Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney entered the league with sky-high expectations as the first-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Since then, Clowney’s career has been underwhelming as he has failed to live up to those expectations.

Clowney has never surpassed double-digit sacks in a single season at any point in his career, though he has come close, totaling nine sacks three times. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three seasons in a row (2016–2018) and was named a second-team All-Pro in 2016. In 2022, however, he totaled just two sacks in 12 games for the Cleveland Browns.

Despite not having the sack numbers to back it up, Clowney is still a solid pass-rusher. In addition, Clowney has been one of the best run-defending edge rushers in the NFL for nearly a decade. At 30 years old, he may not be the player he once was, but Clowney could still make an impact on the Giants’ defense as an edge-setting outside linebacker and a high-end rotational pass-rusher.

Could the Giants reunite with JPP?

While Jason Pierre-Paul might not be the same player he once was, a reunion with the 34-year-old pass-rusher could still be beneficial for both he and the Giants.

Pierre-Paul demonstrated in 2022 that he is still capable of filling in as a rotational pass-rusher. He played in 14 games for the Ravens this past season, making 13 starts and totaling three sacks, 26 combined tackles, and five tackles for loss.

Reuniting with the Giants and playing out the twilight years of his career with Big Blue would be the ultimate storybook ending for Pierre-Paul.

Does Robert Quinn still have anything left in the tank?

Veteran pass-rusher Robert Quinn has been wildly inconsistent across the past four seasons of his career. After totaling 11.5 sacks for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, Quinn followed that up with an underwhelming two-sack campaign for the Chicago Bears in 2020. He bounced back in a major way in 2021, however, amassing 18.5 sacks and earning second-team All-Pro honors with Chicago. But in 2022, the lack of productivity returned as Quinn finished the year totaling just one sack in 13 games split between the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.

Now the question remains: does Quinn have anything left in the tank? While is it possible he bounces back with another stellar campaign, as he did in 2021, it is also possible that Quinn is nearing the end of the road. He was reduced to a backup role in Philadelphia, playing just 22% of their defensive snaps in six weeks.

Ultimately, Quinn could bring some veteran experience and depth to the Giants’ edge corps, but he is not a player that they could consistently rely on in 2022.