Giants could sign free-agent cornerback with connection to new defensive coordinator

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs against Tennessee Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (26) (New York Giants target) during the third quarter at Acrisure Stadium
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have yet to address their need for a new cornerback in free agency, but one option still available on the market makes sense as a potential target. The Giants could sign free-agent cornerback Kristian Fulton to fill their starting cornerback role opposite Deonte Banks, reuniting new defensive coordinator with a familiar face.

Why the Giants should target CB Kristian Fulton

Fulton is a 25-year-old cornerback who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans after they drafted him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s gone on to start 37 games for the Titans and racked up four career interceptions and 25 career pass defenses.

The Giants’ new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen is coming over from the Titans after serving as their DC from 2021 to 2023. Fulton played well under his tutelage from 2021 to 2022. Reuniting the two could help Bowen install his scheme, giving him some personnel continuity, while also upgrading the Giants’ talent on the boundary.

Fulton played well in Bowen’s defense for two years, however, things went off the rails for Fulton this past season. Perhaps it’s time for a change of scenery.

Fulton could benefit from a change of scenery

In 2023, Fulton turned in the worst season of his young career. He surrendered a career-high 497 yards in coverage and posted a career-low 46.4 overall Pro Football Focus grade. At this year’s trade deadline, PFF listed Fulton as a potential trade candidate, stating that a change of scenery would do him well:

“Fulton is struggling mightily in the fourth and final season of his rookie contract, but a change of scenery where he can play behind one of the league’s elite defensive lines could help him turn his young career around,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger said of the possibility of Fulton being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Giants may not have the Steelers’ defensive line, but they are building a tremendous unit of their own. Fulton, along with the rest of New York’s defensive backs, will benefit from the team’s recent addition of pass-rusher Brian Burns. Plugging Fulton in at CB2 could serve as an upgrade for the Giants’ defense and give Bowen some needed continuity in his unit.

What would it cost the Giants to sign Fulton?

Considering the lackluster season Fulton just had, he can likely be signed for a cheap, short-term, prove-it contract. Entering the offseason, Spotrac projected a contract with an average annual value of $6.7 million for Fulton. However, considering how long he has been on the market, plus the lackluster season he just had, Fulton will likely be had at a much cheaper price point.

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