The New York Giants defense is going to look very different next year, and DeAndre Baker and Dexter Lawrence are both going to be a part of that. Both players were drafted by the Giants this year and fill a position of need, with Baker coming in to help a secondary that was thin on talent entering the offseason and Lawrence helping to replace Damon Harrison on the defensive line, which may be the Giants’ biggest need on defense after the improvements made to the secondary.
Both of those players are now officially part of the team, after signing their rookie contracts on Friday. Both players are on four year contracts and as the higher drafted player, Lawrence will make slightly more with $13M compared to Baker’s $10.5M deal. But despite the difference in salary, both players are expected to be immediate impact players and Baker just might be the more important of the two, because of the team’s need at cornerback going into this season.
Baker, though, has more competition than Lawrence, with Julian Love and Sam Beal also vying for playing time along with fellow rookie Corey Ballentine.
Lawrence will also have a chance to get playing time in his first season, on a defensive line that lost its anchor, nose tackle Damon Harrison, in a trade with the Lions last season. The move puts pressure on Lawrence, as the most obvious replacement for the star defensive tackle, who was one of the finest in the entire league against the run.
While Lawrence probably won’t reach that level in his rookie season, his impact should help a Giants team that is already expecting to get more production from second year DT B.J. Hill, who performed quite well for a rookie after Harrison’s departure. One thing is clear right now, however, which is that the Giants’ defense next year is going to be a lot younger, and possibly better, than it was before.