The New York Giants are expected to shake up their roster this offseason. With many anticipated moves, will the Giants decide to cut bait with linebacker Isaiah Simmons or find a way to maximize his talents more effectively in 2024?
Simmons, a vaunted Giants acquisition in the 2023 offseason, was expected to bring new production from the Arizona Cardinals over to Big Blue’s defense.
However, LB Micah McFadden’s ascension earned him the starting nod over Simmons, forcing the fourth-year veteran to try and make the most of reduced opportunities in the Giants’ second string.
Giants: Isaiah Simmons had his moments in 2023 and appears capable of high-level play
Yet and still, Simmons produced 30 tackles, one interception, and one sack in 377 snaps for the Giants last season. Simmons received a solid 68.9 player grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts.
Nevertheless, Ed Valentine of Big Blue View made a case against the Giants bringing Simmons back next year, citing this as a reason for them to spend their money more wisely:
“Simmons really isn’t big enough or physical enough to be a full-time outside linebacker. He doesn’t defend the run well enough to be relied on at either inside or outside linebacker on run downs. He’s athletic, but not instinctive.”
Is the case for the Giants retaining Simmons stronger than the case against him?
Simmons stands at 6-4 and weighs in at 238 pounds. He doesn’t sport a massive frame but is agile and mobile when attacking the quarterback. Whether or not he is every defensive coordinator’s “cup of tea,” as Valentine put it, does not dampen the fact that he was able to record as many as 105 tackles in the 2021 campaign, proving his ability to get players down and stop plays from materializing.
Simmons is now an unrestricted free agent after the Cardinals declined to pick up his fifth-year option for 2024. While he made $1.01 million in 2023 with the Giants, Simmons may garner more dollars on the open market.
Shane Bowen, Wink Martindale’s replacement as new defensive coordinator, could tip the balance in favor of or against Simmons next season. A player of Simmons’ age, ability, and availability makes him a worthy investment at the price range he’s forecasted at. However, an amplified role elsewhere, especially on a contender, may cause him to walk.
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