Giants let home-grown edge rusher walk, opening up a void on the defense line

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants roster is well represented by the Swiss cheese category, featuring multiple holes and voids left to be corrected. New general manager Joe Schoen has a difficult task ahead of him, but he’s taking a more conservative approach with his free agency strategy compared to Dave Gettleman’s back in 2018.

Schoen has invested heavily in the offensive line with his available cap space, and the NFL draft presents another opportunity for him to upgrade the unit. However, the Giants pass rush is also another category that must be addressed, especially with Lorenzo Carter walking in free agency.

Carter was drafted back in 2018, spending the last four seasons with a Giants as their outside linebacker. Having suffered a torn Achilles in 2020, Carter returned last season and showed signs of potential. Over 14 games, he recorded 5.0 sacks, 50 combined tackles, six tackles for a loss, and eight QB hits. He also collected five passes defended with two forced fumbles.

Injuries have hurt Carter’s career up to this point, but he could find his true potential with another team. Usually, it takes players coming off a significant injury at least one full season to return to their normal selves finally. Over the last four games of the season, Carter put together 16 tackles, five sacks, and 10 QB hurries.

Locking down Carter on an extension would’ve been cheap for the Giants, and to be quite honest, I’m surprised they didn’t consider his retention more seriously. Clearly, they have different plans in mind, which shifts our attention to the NFL draft, where the Giants have two first-round picks and a solid opportunity to land a physical specimen with great upside.

Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon would be a dream come true at outside linebacker, possessing phenomenal athletic traits and a bubbling personality. Jermaine Johnson at a Florida State also stands out at 7th overall.

Johnson is coming off a season where he tallied 11.5 sacks, 70 tackles, and 17.5 for a loss. He also totaled two forced fumbles and a touchdown. The Giants can go several different directions in the draft, but losing Carter opens up another hole on the roster, which will likely be addressed in April.