One of the more questionable decisions made by former New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman was the release of veteran guard Kevin Zeitler a few years ago. This move was primarily aimed at saving money, but it came at the cost of weakening a key area of the team’s lineup.
Since then, the Giants’ offensive line has struggled, marked by a lack of talent development and unsuccessful free-agent signings.
Revisiting Free Agency: The Case for Zeitler’s Return
There’s a growing argument for the Giants to actively explore free agency to bolster their offensive line, and the idea of reuniting with Kevin Zeitler should be a serious consideration for current GM Joe Schoen.
The Giants currently have $22 million in available salary space but need to reserve about $10 million for draft signings and address the expenses of departing players. While there’s potential to restructure contracts, including those of Daniel Jones, Dexter Lawrence, and Andrew Thomas, it might be prudent for the Giants to avoid tampering with Jones’s deal, focusing instead on pushing some financial commitments into 2025.
Another option to create cap space involves releasing Darren Waller and Mark Glowinski, which could save approximately $12.3 million.
Despite nearing 34 years of age, Zeitler remains one of the top guards in the league. His age may limit his market value, but the Giants could still benefit significantly from his leadership and consistent performance. A two-year deal around $18-20 million could be a fair offer, providing a slight pay increase from his previous $22.5 million three-year contract.
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Potential Giants Free Agency Moves and Future Decisions
Zeitler’s durability and playoff experience, particularly with the Baltimore Ravens, make him a valuable asset. His versatility in various schemes and power in pass protection are key strengths.
With Carmen Bricillo arriving from the Las Vegas Raiders, other free agents like Jermaine Eluemunor and Mike Onwenu also emerge as potential fits. Eluemunor could bolster the right tackle position, while Onwenu, who has shown efficiency in both right tackle and guard positions, might be better suited to an interior role.
Ultimately, the Giants will need to invest in their offensive line, and the choice of players will be crucial. Joe Schoen faces a challenging task in reinforcing the offense, especially with upcoming decisions regarding key players like Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney, which are likely to have significant financial implications.