The New York Giants have plenty of difficult decisions to make this off-season, but retaining safety Jabrill Peppers could be an easy one.
Peppers is coming off a torn ACL he suffered during the 2021 season, meaning he likely won’t be an attractive free agent on the open market. In fact, the New Jersey native has been spending time at the Giants facilities rehabilitating from the injury, which normally isn’t something players do when they are preparing to find a new club.
Given the extent of the injury, Peppers might be willing to take a significant pay cut to stay with the Giants for one more season under new defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale. Having played just six games last year at 26 years old, Peppers isn’t a high profile player, having swapped between strong safety and free safety the past few seasons since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round back in 2017.
During a small sample size of playing time last year, he tallied 29 combine tackles, 1.0 sack, and two tackles for loss. Peppers struggled in coverage against tight ends and running backs, but he proved to be an athletic maestro who could put pressure on opposing quarterbacks frequently in unique blitz packages.
Given Martindale loves to utilize speed and aggressiveness around the line of scrimmage, Peppers could redefine his strengths and play to his athleticism.
As one of the most athletic safeties in the NFL, Peppers should make a full recovery and return to his normal self, meaning Martindale could extrapolate on his services and utilize him more heavily as a blitzer rather than a coverage safety.
If Jabrill is willing to accept a minimum deal for the 2022 season, I don’t see why the Giants shouldn’t retain him and allow him to compete for starting snaps. There have been rumors that Logan Ryan could be on the chopping block, and if that is the case, the Giants locking up Peppers on a one-year deal seems like a win-win.