Grading the New York Giants’ free agency haul

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Kenny Golladay
Nov 10, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) runs with the Baltimore after a catch against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants approached the 2021 free agency with a bag of cash, meaning they spent a significant amount of money to plug holes all over the roster. Ranging from wide receiver to cornerback, the Giants are giving quarterback Daniel Jones plenty of weapons to work with and support on defense, finally taking advantage of the rookie quarterback contract window.

However, it is fair to be unbiased when it comes to the recent signings and what they mean for the Giants, especially when considering their contracts. Let’s take a look at each player and why they are graded appropriately.

Grading the New York Giants’ free-agent haul:

DL: Leonard Williams (B)

The New York Giants retained Leonard Williams on a three-year, $63 million deal. Some might argue that this was too big of a contract for Williams, but they have an out after the 2022 season with a $7.5 million hit in dead money. Ultimately, letting a premier interior pass rusher walk was not something the Giants were willing to do, given his rarity and their lack of pass rush in general.

Williams earned double-digit sacks in 2020 under coordinator Patrick Graham, and they are expecting him to be a focal point moving forward. The signing was a good one, but the Giants really forced their own hand, which hurt their leverage in negotiations.

CB: Adoree Jackson (B)

The Giants signed Adoree Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal, and considering he played in two full games last year, this contract might be a bit overzealous. The Giants desperately needed to fill a gap at CB2, and they took safety Logan Ryan’s word for Jackson’s qualities. Ryan played with him previously in Tennessee, and the Giants clearly think he can be a lockdown corner for them moving forward. His injury history is a bit concerning, which is why I gave him a “B.” However, when healthy, Jackson is one of the best man cover corners in football.

WR: Kenny Golladay (A)

The Giants solved a massive hole with Kenny Golladay, and aside from his mammoth contract, he is the perfect scheme fit for coordinator Jason Garrett. The Giants are paying Golladay $72M over four years, but they have an out after the third season with $6.8 million in dead money. Considering how much the cap is going to increase moving forward, the deal will look solid in the future, and he’s capable of being a high-end WR1.

TE: Kyle Rudolph (B)

While Rudolph is certainly getting up there in age and is coming off a serious foot injury, he is the perfect tight end for Jason Garrett. He hasn’t dropped a pass in over two years, which is something Giants fans will rejoice over when he’s finally healthy and ready to produce at a reasonable level.

As an average blocker, I give this signing a “B” simply because he’s coming off an issue that is still bothersome, and his age indicates he might have a steep fall off this upcoming season.

OLB: Ryan Anderson (B)

I actually really like the Ryan Anderson pick-up, as he was simply buried on Washington’s depth chart last year due to a strong defensive front. He is a capable player that produced five forced fumbles in 2019 and 4.0 sacks. The Giants are expecting him to replace Kyler Fackrell at a vastly lower price point, but he has hidden production they can exploit.

WR: John Ross (B+)

John Ross is a player who has been plagued by injuries his entire career, but when healthy, he can push the fields vertically and force defenses to compensate for his speed. He attracts a lot of attention, which will open up the field for players like Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay. The Giants offered him a one-year deal with low money allocations, giving him a solid “B+.”

RB: Devontae Booker (C)

The signing of Devantae Booker was extremely interesting, and not because he’s incapable of being a solid contributor. The Giants could’ve gone out and signed a player like Mike Davis, who shined for the Carolina Panthers in the absence of Christian McCaffrey last season. Instead, they signed Booker to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. Overpaying running back’s when there were better options on the market doesn’t make much sense to me.

LB: Reggie Ragland (B+)

The signing of Reggie Ragland was a bit surprising but very justifiable. His connection with former Detroit Lions executive Kyle O’Brien, who now works for the Giants, brings the signing to light. Ragland has underwhelmed since his inception into the NFL, but as an Alabama product, the Giants have ties with his former coaches and might be able to extract his value.

DL: Austin Johnson (B+)

Retaining Austin Johnson was a solid move for Big Blue, considering they lost Dalvin Tomlinson to free agency. Johnson can supplement his loss on a rotational basis, but not as a starter. He shined when on the field, but I expect the Giants to potentially look to the NFL draft to find another big interior defender.

C: Jonotthan Harrison (B+)

Harrison is a solid depth center, someone who can fill an interior spot if need be on the offensive line. The problem with Harrison is that he’s injury-prone, and as a former Jets player, he has some upside but is very limited.

DE: Ifeadi Odenigbo (A)

Former Minnesota Viking Ifeadi Odenigbo is a great signing for the Giants, as he led the Vikings last year in pass rush efficiency. Despite the unit being the worst in the NFL, he has some hidden potential and sits at a very low price point — the Giants might be able to extract some value in production. He’s mostly a bull-rush-oriented pass rusher but can win reps on the outside as a five tech and potentially slide as a rotational player to mitigate fatigue on the interior.

QB: Mike Glennon (B)

The Giants rolled with Colt McCoy as their backup quarterback in 2020 but elected to go a different direction with Mike Glennon in 2021. Glennon has a solid arm and can run the offense efficiently if need be, whereas McCoy was extremely limited by his size and inaccuracy.

OVERALL: B+