In 2020, one of the New York Giants’ biggest weaknesses was the CB2 position. After starting the campaign with Corey Ballentine at the position, the Giants quickly moved onto Ryan Lewis and then Isaac Yiadom, as all three struggled to hold down the spot opposite James Bradberry. Bradberry’s emergency at CB1 was unexpected, but he dominated at a Pro Bowl level, proving he can be a solidified corner on the starting defense for the foreseeable future.
Bradberry’s going into the second year of a three-year contract, and the Giants might even consider extending him to lower his cap hit for the 2021 season. Nonetheless, it doesn’t eradicate the issue at CB2, a position the Giants need to solve this off-season. They could theoretically go with a rotation, similar to what they did in 2020, but they would be taking a major risk and forcing coordinator Patrick Graham to play more zone coverage.
There is a possibility the Giants tried to allocate a draft pick or trade for a player who could solve the spot, and this is where star CB Stephon Gilmore comes into play.
How could the New York Giants manage to trade for Gilmore?
Gilmore is one of the best man-to-man corners in the NFL, and with one year left on his contract, the Giants could strike a deal with the New England Patriots. It was reported last season that New England was searching for a first-round pick in exchange for Gilmore, but there were no takers, which likely drove his value down.
Considering he played in just 11 games this past season due to injuries, acquiring him might be a perfect scenario for the Giants, who likely wouldn’t have to offer significant value. Some believe that a second-round pick might be a realistic haul, but if the Giants were to offer a third-round pick from 2021 and a 5th rounder from 2022 (NYG gave 5th rounder for Leonard Williams in 2019), they could convince the Patriots to get it done. Of course, New England GM Bill Belichick and Giants’ head coach Joe Judge have a positive connection, so negotiations could be far more efficient with their relationship in place.
The star corner is currently 30 years old in entering the final year of a five-year deal he signed with the Patriots back in 2017. If the Giants did trade for him, he would count only $7.6 million against the cap, which is a significantly reduced number to the $15 million he would count if the Patriots retained him. Considering New England is in a rebuilding stage, acquiring draft capital might be in their best interest heading into the off-season.
As for the Giants, they would be adding a corner capable of dominating any receivers on the boundary, and pairing him with Bradberry would make them arguably the best CB duo in football. If the Giants are truly committed to building through their defense, which has been apparent over the last few seasons, trading for Gilmore would be a fantastic move.
Think about it this way, the Giants have wasted mid-round picks over the past few seasons, with 2020 finally changing the trend. From when Dave Gettleman become general manager, they’ve missed on mid-rounders Kyle Lauletta, Ryan Connelly, RJ McIntosh, and Corey Ballentine. Throw in Lorenzo Carter, BJ Hill, and Oshane Ximines for giggles.
Allocating mid-round picks for a proven player on a low cap hit would be a tremendous acquisition for Big Blue and allow Graham to get back to his roots of man coverage and utilizing blitzers more efficiently on defense.
Of course, trading for Gilmore would be under the assumption that the Giants can improve their offense quickly and become a postseason caliber team within the next two seasons. Gilmore would likely receive an extension shortly after and considering his age, he wouldn’t command an astronomical AAV.
This is just a theoretical scenario that the Giants could explore, and adding a dominant CB opposite Bradberry would terrify opposing offensive coordinators. An exciting thought, and I expect the Giants to be creative with how they approach this upcoming off-season.