New York Giants might have one darkhorse offensive lineman on the roster

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Nick Gates
LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 22: Nick Gates #65 of the New York Giants lines up against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedExField on December 22, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

One of the more tumultuous tasks ahead of New York Giants‘ head coach Joe Judge is building the offensive line into a powerhouse unit. General manager Dave Gettleman has allocated plenty of resources to the group over the past two seasons, starting with left tackle Nate Solder and ending with former right guard, Patrick Omameh.

While Gettleman has missed on several players, he has struck gold on guys like Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler. However, the left tackle positions remain worrisome, and they cannot commit to Mike Remmers for another year at right tackle.

This offseason will require Judge and Gettleman to spend more cap-space or use a draft pick on a new lineman, but they might already have a cheaper option on the roster.

Swing tackle Nick Gates presents a fantastic opportunity for the Giants to plug in a quality player who will earn just 660K in 2020. Gates has surfaced at guard and tackle, and while he’s expressed his comfort playing on the interior, he has shown quality at the tackle position.

The Giants can remain steady at guard, for now, with Hernandez and Zeitler both holding their own during a tough 2019 season. Daniel Jones’ protection remains a priority for the Giants, and Gettleman must finally solidify the line if he wishes to keep his job safely tucked under a fire blanket.

Plugging Gates into the starting RT position would open up a ton of mobility for the Giants in free agency. Still, the question is, can they be confident that the former undrafted free agent can hold down the fort during the regular season? Last year, Gates was great in a small sample size, but thrusting him into a starting role with a young quarterback under center might not be advisable.

I believe Big Blue will sign a right tackle, leaving Gates to act as a swing option again. His ability to move around the line makes him an asset, as injuries are a frequent occurrence in the trenches. While his value is increasing, I don’t believe he’s ready to handle the load of being a starter just yet.