Should the New York Giants let Dalvin Tomlinson walk in free agency?

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson
Dec 24, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a few big decisions to make this off-season, and one of them centers around defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.

Tomlinson is a former second-round pick by the Giants in 2017 and hasn’t missed a game in four years. Ultimately, the Giants like healthy players in the trenches, similar to Leonard Williams, who has also never missed a game due to injury. Their dynamic duo in 2020 combined for 15 total sacks, 106 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, and 40 quarterback hits.

Letting Tomlinson walk this off-season after the conclusion of his rookie deal would undoubtedly have a significant impact on the Giants’ defensive line. He is one of the best run stoppers and routinely puts pressure on the pocket from a 0-1 technique standpoint. He can line up over the center and over the inside shade of guards.

His impact is well recorded within the Giants brass, who value him highly, especially after earning one of his best pass-rush grades from the 2020 season.

Per PFF, Tomlinson had a career-high 74.7 pass-rush great but did struggle with his tackling efficiency this year. He missed a career-high 12.5% of his tackles, but it didn’t show up as a significant difference-makers on film. He did generate 18 hurries on opposing quarterbacks and made 26 stops, which attests to his value in the trenches and stopping the run.

The big issue is breaking up the trio of big men general manager Dave Gettleman has put together on the defensive front. Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence all represent a hard nose style of football that the Giants have adapted to after the hiring of Joe Judge. They like to generate pressure from the interior, allowing the outside linebackers to dominate in 1V1 matchups on the outside.

That is a primary reason most expect the Giants to acquire an above-average pass rusher this off-season so that the interior defense can maximize their efforts. When the outside linebackers are lackluster, it forces the interior to do a majority of the work with little support. Tomlinson is a primary factor in their scheme, especially under Patrick Graham’s 3-4 defense that prioritizes big men in the trenches.

The expectation is that Tomlinson will command at least $10 million in free agency per year, and the Giants only have so much money they can spend.

There were reports during the trade deadline this past year that the Green Bay Packers tried to acquire Tomlinson. However, Judge indicated his confidence in the roster, as the Giants elected to stay quiet without making any significant deals. It is no secret that Dalvin wants to stay in blue for the remainder of his career, but football is a business, and players depart frequently.

The friendship that Williams and Tomlinson have created this season is special, and their tandem will likely blossom in 2021 with a year of experience in Graham’s scheme. Adding another piece to the secondary to help shore up the CB2 spot will only help them in the trenches. In my opinion, the Giants need to do everything it takes to retain Tomlinson and Williams for the future, but given the cap situation, it will be incredibly difficult.