The New York Giants are headed toward an interesting free agency period this off-season, especially with minimal cap space to work with. With the Giants about $3 million over the cap, expect to see them shed dead weight in the coming weeks. It will be imperative to their quest to sign new players, especially ones that can impact the team immediately.
However, the Giants have several weaknesses they need to solve this off-season, and it will be incredibly difficult for them to do so with all of the moving pieces due to COVID-19. The cap expected to settle in the $180-190 million range, giving them a bit more room to work with. It was previously thought to settle at $175 million.
Ranking the New York Giants three biggest weaknesses heading into FA:
1.) Offensive line
The offensive line hasnâ€™t been spoken about enough this off-season, despite being ranked dead last in the NFL in pass protection this past season. According to PFF, the Giants finished with a 50.6 pass-blocking grade, below the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers. While their run blocking was a bit better at 23rd overall, this unit needs to take significant strides forward before the Giants can have an adequate offense.
A primary reason quarterback Daniel Jones failed to produce better numbers in 2020 was because he lacked time in the pocket. He was forced to utilize his first reads more frequently, allowing defenses to scheme around him and cover up his top receivers. Ultimately, it wouldnâ€™t be a bad idea for the Giants to allocate another draft pick toward a tackle since the right side was a mess last year with Cam Fleming and Matt Peart.
2.) Offensive playmaker
Acquiring an offensive playmaker is another priority for the New York Giants, who severely lacked in wide receiver separation and lost Saquon Barkley in week two against the Chicago Bears due to a torn ACL.
The Giants have been linked to Kenny Golladay, Curtis Samuel, and even Corey Davis this off-season, with the expectation that they will allocate some resources toward the WR position. The NFL draft also offers another avenue they can explore, as they sit with the 11th overall pick and could target TE Kyle Pitts out of Florida. If any of the top three receivers drop to them, it should be a no-brainer for management, who needs to give Daniel Jones more opportunities; otherwise, they will simply be wasting his rookie contract.
Saquon coming back from injury should brew optimism, but with Sterling Shepard, their top wideout, and Golden Tate expected to be cut, there is no excuse for them not to add a bit more quality to their ranks.
3.) Pass rush
Once Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines went down with season-ending injuries, the Giants tried to supplement their losses with reserve options. Seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin and practice squader Jabaal Sheard both saw significant reps after the starters went down, and while they were effective on some occasions, the Giants need to upgrade the OLB position.
There are several free-agent options New York can look at, including Haason Redick out of Arizona, Leonard Floyd from the Rams, or even Carl Lawson from Cincinnati. Again, the Giants only have a limited amount of money, and I expect them to extend Leonard Williams on a long-term deal and try to sign a receiver in FA.