The New York Giants are proceeding through free agency with caution, electing to invest in tier-2 free agents rather than spend money on top players with bloated contracts.
Signing Blake Martinez and James Bradberry attests to their money-saving mentality, as both Byron Jones and Cory Littleton earned more significant contracts (not by much, but more). The Giants taking a more conceded approach tells us a few things — first, they don’t feel like they can win in 2020. Second, they have adopted a different attitude toward financial spending, and lastly, Joe Judge is taking on more responsibility.
General manager Dave Gettleman has been committed to the NFL Draft in recent seasons, but going into year three of a rebuild, we can imagine his desire to fill positions of need with top talent. Head coach Joe Judge has implemented a more conservative approach, which could hurt the pass rush position temporarily.
The New York Giants are still in on some pass rushers:
Currently, Big Blue features Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, and Kyler Fackrell as their primary pass rushers. Reports have indicated that Markus Golden could still be in the mix, but fitting his salary into the cap would require the Giants to re-structure Leonard Williams’ contract (currently set to earn $16.126 million on the franchise tag).
If the Giants elect to stay firm with their three unproven pass rushers, they will be taking a considerable risk at the position and risk defensive inefficiency. However, knowing that the team needs to adapt to the style of Judge and co., there’s no rush to jump into a big contract, unless they can front-load the deal on a three-year contract, similar to Bradberry and Martinez’s.
An alternative would be to address the position through the draft. While it’s unlikely, Chase Young falls to the 4th overall pick, grabbing Isaiah Simmons could supplement some concern, as he can rush the passer on third downs as an OLB. Simmons considers himself a “defender,” which opens up his usability. It’s easy to forget he logged 8.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in 2019.
It’s also important to note that the Giants expect the interior of their defensive front to generate a considerable pass rush push, closing the pocket and pressuring quarterbacks to throw earlier. This was a major factor in the decision to retain Leonard Williams.