Giants: Top offensive line targets in free agency

New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu (71) (New York Giants free agency target) lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Gillette Stadium
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will begin their quest to fix their offensive line this week as free agency finally begins. The Giants’ offensive line surrendered a league-high 85 sacks in 2023. Now the front office is expected to target the top offensive linemen in free agency in an effort to bolster the unit for the 2024 season.

The Giants could make a splash with the market’s top offensive lineman

If the Giants really want to make a splash in free agency, they will pursue New England Patriots free agent Mike Onwenu. He stands out as the most-coveted (and maybe most expensive) lineman who will be available this offseason.

Onwenu is a versatile lineman who has played both right guard and right tackle at a high level in his career. In 2023, Onwenu earned a 71.5 overall Pro Football Focus grade, surrendering just three sacks and 23 pressures.

Signing Onwenu would give the Giants flexibility in how they want to proceed with 2022 first-round pick Evan Neal. To this point, Neal has been a disaster at right tackle. The possibility of moving him inside to guard has strengthened. But Onwenu’s ability to play both right guard and right tackle would give them the option to play Neal at either spot.

The Giants’ new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo coached Onwenu as the New England Patriots’ co-offensive line coach in 2020 and their primary offensive line coach in 2021. This connection could entice both sides to get a deal done.

Identifying another offensive lineman with a connection to the coaching staff

If the Giants plan on moving Evan Neal inside to guard, they will need to find a quality starter at right tackle in free agency. Las Vegas Raiders free agent Jermaine Eluemunor stands out as another potential target who has a connection to the Giants’ new offensive line coach.

Bricillo was the Raiders’ offensive line coach from 2022 to 2023 where he coached Eluemunor into being a solid right tackle for Las Vegas. Eluemunor started 14 games for the Raiders last season at right tackle, allowing just six sacks and 28 total pressures en route to a 68.5 overall PFF grade (ranking 35/84 at the tackle position).

Eluemunor would be an upgrade at right tackle, giving New York quality pass protection on the right side while they explore a move inside for Neal. And unlike Onwenu, Eluemunor would be an affordable target.

Adding a dominant right guard to the lineup

Miami Dolphins RG Robert Hunt is set to hit the open market as one of the best talents available this offseason. The 27-year-old has earned his reputation as one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL and could be a dominant plug-and-play upgrade for the Giants in free agency.

Hunt let up only one sack and five total pressures in 10 starts for the Dolphins this season. He is also an elite run-blocker, helping lead Miami’s rushing attack which ranked near the top of the league.

Signing Hunt will not be easy, though. As one of the top offensive linemen available, Hunt is expected to land a major deal on the open market. The Giants will need to pay up if they want to sign Hunt. But signing him would serve as a massive upgrade to the Giants’ interior.

The Giants are reportedly interested in Jonah Jackson

According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the Giants are interested in signing Detroit Lions LG Jonah Jackson. The 27-year-old Lions mauler gave up 27 pressures and two sacks this past season on 881 snaps.

Jackson could be an affordable target for the Giants. He will be one of the better guards available, but will command a fraction of the price tag that Hunt and Onwenu will garner.

The Giants could use an upgrade at either (or both) guard spots this offseason. Jackson would step in as an immediate starter and upgrade and, due to his more favorable price point, could allow the Giants to continue to sign other players to fortify their roster.

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