Giants noncommittal on struggling right tackle’s future

New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll met with the media for their end-of-season presser on Monday morning, sharing insight on their offseason plans. Addressing the offensive line will be a top priority for the G-Men’s brass this offseason with big question marks surrounding right tackle Evan Neal.

Giants GM Joe Schoen wouldn’t commit to Evan Neal as the team’s starting right tackle

During his mid-season press conference, Schoen declared that Neal “needs to play better.” Schoen expressed confidence in the young tackle’s abilities and seemed uninterested in potentially moving Neal to a new position on the line.

But when asked about Neal at the end-of-season presser, the Giants’ top leaders were noncommittal on his future as a starting right tackle. Schoen was asked if the team still considers Neal one of the team’s five starting offensive linemen and whether or not he will need to bring in competition at right tackle.

“We’ll go through all those conversations over the next couple of weeks,” Schoen said, foregoing the opportunity to commit to Neal as one of the team’s starting five offensive linemen. Neal was one half of the Giants’ pair of first-round picks in 2022, taken seventh overall in that draft.

Despite his struggles as a rookie, Neal earned praise for the way he attacked the 2023 offseason. Schoen is expecting Neal to maintain that work ethic this offseason as he prepares for his third career season.

“Evan worked his tail off last offseason,” Schoen told reporters. “I expect him to attack this offseason the same way.”

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Neal will need to make significant strides in year three in order to turn his career around. He appeared in only seven games this season due to injuries and did not play particularly well in those appearances. Neal surrendered 30 pressures and two sacks en route to a 39.8 overall Pro Football Focus grade this season.

Standing in his way of improvements, though, is an ankle fracture suffered in Week 9. Initially believed to be an ankle sprain, it was later revealed that Neal “fractured a small bone in his left ankle,” per the New York Post. Neal had season-ending surgery on his ankle in December and will now begin the recovery process as he enters a decisive offseason.