With the New York Giants officially hiring Don “Wink” Martindale as their new defensive coordinator on Tuesday afternoon, we can expect him to target several former players out of Baltimore to help smooth over his transition.
It is not rare to see coaches bring players over from their former clubs, as new head coach Brian Daboll has already done with several practice squad players from Buffalo.
Considering Martindale plays a very specific scheme that focuses on aggression and blitz packages, we should 100% expect him to try and retain some familiar faces to help.
Baltimore doesn’t have a ton of free agent defenders this upcoming off-season, but there are several options the Giants could target on price-efficient contracts.
Three Baltimore free agents the New York Giants could pursue:
1.) CB Jimmy Smith
Right off the bat, the Giants may look to veteran corner Jimmy Smith as a potential acquisition. At 33 years old, Smith is coming off a season where he played in 10 games, starting in just two. He recorded 18 tackles, three passes defended and recorded a 67.1 coverage great, per PFF.
Smith is well accustomed to Martindale’s scheme, and given Smith is a reserve option at this point in his career, the Giants could likely scoop him up for cheap.
Signing Smith to a two-year, $6 million deal might get it done, with an out after the first season.
2.) LB Chris Board
The Giants desperately need more support at linebacker, which is where Chris Board, former Baltimore reserve LB comes into play.
Board made appearances in all 16 games this past season at 26 years old, recording 41 tackles and two QB hits. He posted a 53.6 overall defensive grade, but he would be an incredibly cheap pick-up for the Giants who would help establish the scheme for the linebacker core.
3.) OLB Pernell McPhee
Pass rush is incredibly important to Martindale, ranking 6th in the league last season in blitz rate. Back in 2020, Martindale deployed the most blitz-heavy defense in football, but with injuries decimating his unit last year, he was forced to make a few changes that impacted his strategy.
Outside linebackers are an incredibly important factor in his system, which is why veteran Pernell McPhee could make sense on a one-year deal. At 33 years old, McPhee made 10 appearances, tallying 14 combine tackles, three QB hits, two tackles for loss, and one sack. McPhee isn’t anything special, but at the very least, he’s a veteran leader who can serve as a rotational piece on a minimum deal.