One of the major concerns that remain for the New York Giants is their offensive line, a unit that ranked near dead last in pass-blocking efficiency last season, littered with rookies and inexperience.
There is a reason to believe they will take a step forward this upcoming year, as the players from last season, including Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Will Hernandez, and Nick Gates, will have a year of experience and chemistry building together in addition to knowledge of their current scheme. With similar terminology and new weapons to capitalize on, the OL should see improvements.
However, upper management cut their best blocker in Kevin Zeitler at right guard, failing to upgrade the position in the draft and not allocating any significant funds toward a free agent. Nonetheless, there are a few options on the market that could make sense, let’s take a look at two who could have an impact if given an opportunity.
Two free-agent offensive guards the New York Giants could consider:
One offensive guard that makes a ton of sense is Trai Turner, a player GM Dave Gettleman drafted back during his time with the Carolina Panthers in 2014. He was a previous third-round selection out of LSU, and while he struggled considerably with the LA Chargers last year, a change of scenery could do him well.
Turner has five Pro-Bowls to his name and has allowed 12 sacks over the last seven seasons, so there’s no question he is capable of being a quality player. The Chargers released Turner after starting him nine games at right guard, and he’s still waiting for another opportunity to capitalize on. The Giants could bring him in on a cheaper contract for one season, allowing him to compete and earn a bigger payday in 2022. This would be a win-win move for both parties, and if Turner has any juice left in the tank, the Giants would benefit as they head into the season with minimal depth and competition at guard.
Another suitable player could be James Carpenter, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. At 32 years old, he is a bit on the older side, but as a former first-round pick in 2011, he had a solid campaign in 2020. Finishing with a 61.9 overall pass-blocking grade, the first half of his year was adequate.
Carpenter is coming off a four-year, $21 million deal with Atlanta but was cut prematurely with his contract set to expire in 2023. He would be an extremely cheap body to bring into camp and compete with Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux. Currently, the Giants likely have Hernandez penciled in at RG and Lemieux at LG. Depending on what side of the OL they feel is weakest, they could bring in Carpenter, who has traditionally played LG or Turner at RG. At this point, adding any competition with some historical talent and success would be a positive move.