Giants should sign run-stopping free agent linebacker

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans, zach cunningham, new york giants

The New York Giants were hit with a significant setback on Wednesday morning. Depth, linebacker Jarrad Davis, is set to miss the entire 2023 season after tearing his ACL during OTA’s.

Davis’s Loss: A Gap in the Giants’ Defense

The injury comes as an unfortunate blow to Davis, who was primed to compete for a starting job alongside recent acquisition Bobby Okereke. Okereke joined the Giants this off-season, signing a four-year, $40 million contract.

To fill the void left by Davis’s injury, the Giants recruited Darren Evans, a defensive back. Despite this addition, the team might turn their attention to the free agent market for another linebacker. One option that stands out is Zach Cunningham, formerly of the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.

Zach Cunningham: A Potential Game-Changer for the Giants

Cunningham, a second-round pick from Vanderbilt in 2017, stands at 6’2″ and weighs 230 pounds. Despite only playing in 205 total defensive snaps last year, down from 689 in 2021, the 28-year-old has proven his mettle on the field.

Throughout his career, Cunningham has demonstrated his proficiency as a solid run-stopper. As the Giants strive to improve upon their lackluster defensive numbers from 2022, Cunningham could provide a much-needed boost. His performance with the Houston Texans in 2019 stands out where he logged 1,088 total snaps, secured 122 tackles, and applied 17 total pressures, including three sacks and 13 quarterback hurries.

Injury Concerns and New Opportunities with the Giants

However, Cunningham’s recent seasons have been marred by injuries. Last year, an elbow injury landed him on injured reserve, and shortly after his return, he suffered another setback. This recurring elbow problem prematurely ended his season.

Despite these concerns, an argument can be made that Big Blue should offer Cunningham another opportunity, assuming he’s fully recovered. Given his past successes and wealth of experience, including a stint with Tennessee, where he established a connection with Ryan Cowden—recently hired by the Giants to assist the front office—Cunningham could be a beneficial addition.

At the very least, inviting a player of Cunningham’s caliber to vie for a roster spot could be advantageous. With training camp and the preseason looming, the Giants could certainly benefit from bolstering their linebacker lineup.

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