One of the primary positions the New York Giants had to upgrade this off-season was linebacker, and while they could still allocate a 2023 NFL draft selection toward bolstering the position, they made one big signing with Bobby Okereke, formally of the Indianapolis Colts.
Okereke is a solid talent who signed a four-year, $40 million deal, including a $12 million signing bonus with $21.8 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $10 million. Last season with the Colts, Okereke posted 112 tackles and allowed two touchdowns with four pass breakups.
The 26-year-old has good size at 6’1″ and 235 pounds, but the Colts utilized him as more of a conservative run-stopping linebacker instead of expanding upon his athleticism.
As a former third-round pick, Okereke is slated to become the Giants’ MIKE linebacker after several years of deficient play. However, the team could make one big move to completely overhaul the position, where Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB, Devin White, enters the fold.
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Should the New York Giants even think about inquiring about Devin White?
White requested a trade, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. The Buccaneers don’t want to move him, but White is looking for a better landing spot where he can prove his worth and increase his financial value with his fifth-year option coming up.
The Giants only have $2.3 million left in salary space but haven’t restructured the contracts of Leonard Williams or Adoree Jackson. One of the two will likely be redone, opening up a bit of relief to sign the upcoming draft class and maybe ink another free agent.
However, White is set to earn $11.7 million for the 2023 season, a substantial amount the Giants surely can’t handle. Theoretically, they could trade for him and extend him immediately, providing immediate relief and bolstering the linebacker core significantly.
Last season, White struggled with Tampa Bay. According to PFF, he posted a 43.7 defensive grade, recording 93 tackles and allowing for 166 yards and four touchdowns in coverage. As a blitzer, he produced 33 total pressures, including 6.0 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. His run defense has been poor throughout his professional career, but he has traditionally been a solid blitzing linebacker, which the Giants could undoubtedly take advantage of.
Nonetheless, the financials don’t make much sense for Big Blue unless they stumble into a ton of cap space to work with. In that scenario, a wide receiver may be prioritized over linebacker, especially with Darian Beavers returning from an ACL injury and Micah McFadden still developing his game as a former fifth-round pick out of Indiana.