New York Giants: Will Julian Love Start At Free Safety?

The New York Giants are revamping their secondary. After spending three draft picks on the unit last year (four if you count Sam Beal), New York doubled down and signed free agent cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year deal worth $45 million.

The Giants’ new secondary features Bradberry and DeAndre Baker as the outside cornerbacks with the slot position to be determined. Jabrill Peppers will remain the starting strong safety. But who will man the free safety position? By the looks of it, Julian Love will be the Giants’ starting free safety in 2020.

Julian Love Stats And Highlights

Julian Love showed promise filling in as a starter for the injured Jabrill Peppers in the final five games of the 2019 season. The rookie recorded 37 combined tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and only 4 missed tackles. The former collegiate slot cornerback converted to safety as a rookie and allowed only 190 yards and 1 touchdown in coverage.

With Peppers set to return to the starting lineup in 2020, Love will likely shift over to the free safety position. Julian has demonstrated the ability to make plays in both run and pass defense. This makes him an ideal fit for the free safety position. However, the job is not yet his.

If Not Love, Then Who?

The Giants are running out of cap space now after signing free agents such as Blake Martinez and James Bradberry. Prior to the New League Year, the Giants reportedly did have an interest in signing a free safety: Anthony Harris from the Minnesota Vikings.

Unfortunately, the Vikings placed the franchise tag on Harris, keeping him off the open market. But the elite Vikings safety is still available if the Giants are still interested. According to Ian Rapoport, the Vikings “acknowledged to teams that Harris could be had for a mid-to-late round draft pick.”

The highest-graded safety in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus could be acquired via trade for a mid-to-late round pick. This is something the Giants should be all over. If New York were able to acquire Harris via trade, they would start him at free safety and allow Julian Love to move back into the position of slot cornerback, which was his primary position in college. In his scenario, the Giants’ secondary would be complete and feature one of the best safeties in the league on the back end, along with plenty more youthful talent.

Recapping the New York Jets’ first day of free agency

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have expressed a lot of interest but done very little, so here’s a breakdown of all that’s gone down in regards to the Jets today for both sides of the ball. As for tomorrow, Gang Green needs to wake up.

Offensive Line Rumors

The Jets were in on three key offensive linemen — Graham Glasgow, Joe Thuney, and Jack Conklin. All three are not going to be joining the Green and White. Despite prioritizing building through the trenches, the Jets added one offensive lineman today, and it was a guy they could’ve waited to scoop up in George Fant. The Jets need to add interior offensive linemen and are reportedly targeting C/G Steven Wisniewski & G Greg Van Roten. Van Roten is a longtime Jets fan and great pass protector, Wisniewski is a veteran with Douglas connections.

Wide Receiver Rumors

The Jets are devoted to helping Sam, but at what cost? The Jets missed out on adding either Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, and DeAndre Hopkins. All three would’ve been legit number one receivers. Now the Jets head towards day two of free agency looking to add playmakers. Phillip Dorsett is reportedly a big target. Dorsett is the only guy the Jets have publicly been linked to, but expect more to emerge tomorrow and keep an eye on Emmanuel Sanders.

Edge Rusher Rumors

The Jets have been very active in expressing interest here. The Jets have shown interest in Dante Fowler Jr as expected. However, the Jets have also shown SERIOUS interest in Jadeveon Clowney. If the money is there and feasible, the Jets should go after him. He would be a monster for Gregg Williams to have fun with on defense. Fowler and Clowney would immediately add more star power on defense. The Jets also seem inclined to let Jordan Jenkins walk per Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

As for lesser names, the Jets had shown interest in Kyle Van Noy before the Dolphins added him. Expect them to target Markus Golden as well.

Cornerback Rumors

The Jets were in on both James Bradberry and Byron Jones, but it seemed more than likely they would target lesser corners. Desmond Trufant was released by Atlanta today and has already been linked to the Jets. As has Chris Harris Jr. and Prince Amukamara. Brian Poole is a guy the Jets would like to bring back, but cost is debatable. Corner is a priority for the Jets, and their goal is to find value guys.

A Look At The New York Giants’ 2020 Secondary After Signing James Bradberry

The New York Giants made a big splash signing today. Dave Gettleman and company signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $15 million deal, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL. Bradberry is 26 years old and was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Dave Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers.

James Bradberry is the Giants’ new number one cornerback. He will be the guy that follows opposing teams’ primary receiver. Bradberry will join a youthful Giants secondary that has received a heavy investment of assets in recent years. The former Carolina Panthers corner will be a big upgrade for the Giants’ secondary.

The Killer B’s

The New York Giants’ cornerbacks in 2020 (barring any more additions) will be as follows: James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker, Same Beal, Corey Ballentine, and Grant Haley. The oldest of the bunch is Bradberry at 26-years-old. Baker and Ballentine will both be entering their sophomore seasons while Beal enters his third pro season.

The Giants have a young group of cornerbacks that will start the 2020 NFL season. Youth, of course, means inexperience, also. That could be New York’s defensive downfall. But hopefully adding a veteran cornerback in James Bradberry helps the rest of the group develop.

The Two Jay’s

Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love will enter the 2020 NFL season as the Giants’ starting safeties (unless the team signs or drafts somebody uber-talented between now and September). The team’s safety duo provides more youthful talent to the defense. Julian Love is 21 and entering his second NFL season. Jabrill Peppers is 24, entering his fourth NFL season and second season with the New York Giants.

Julian Love showed promise filling in as a starter for the injured Peppers in the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded 37 combined tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and only 4 missed tackles in 2019. The former collegiate slot cornerback converted to safety as a rookie and allowed only 190 yards and 1 touchdown in coverage.

Jabrill Peppers suffered an injury in 2019 that caused him to miss the final five games of the season. Up to that point, however, Jabrill was performing as possibly the best player on the Giants’ defense. In 11 games, JP totaled 76 combined tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and allowed only 1 touchdown in coverage.

The Giants’ young, talented secondary gives fans a reason to be excited heading into the 2020 NFL season. The youthful unit has all the potential in the world. Expect an impressive turnaround from the Giants’ pass-defense in 2020.

New York Giants make splash in free agency and land cornerback James Bradberry

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants finally made a splash on Monday, signing former Carolina cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year deal, worth $45 million ($32 million guaranteed).

Bradberry was a former Dave Gettleman draftee, playing in Carolina for his first four seasons, he’s coming off his rookie contract. In four years, the Panthers’ top corner missed just four games, compiling 279 tackles and 47 passes defended.

The Giants elected to pay Bradberry $15 million per season at 26-years-old, similar to Byron Jones, who is a better corner overall. Bradberry posted a completion percentage against of 59.8%, one of the best on the open market, but struggled in tackling, missing 12.2% of tackles in 2019. However, he didn’t show that weakness in 2018. Hopefully, he can return to his previous form.

Overall, he’s a good add for a Giants team who desperately needed a No. 1 corner after Janoris Jenkins took his talents to New Orleans. Compared to Byron Jones, who will earn $20 million over the first two seasons of his deal in Miami, the Giants’ deal with Bradberry is a good one.

What the New York Jets need to do to piece together an elite defense

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets’ defense ranked among the top half of the league and was ranked as one of the top rushing defenses in all of football last season. The defense was good but not great. With the defensive line figured out and filled with depth, C.J. Mosley returning, Avery Williamson potentially returning if he is not cut, the defense can be great. They just need to fill 2 vital holes.


Main Options

The Jets ideal route for filling the holes at corner would be to resign Brian Poole so the slot role is filled and then go about grabbing a lead corner in free agency. The biggest issue for the Jets is avoiding tying themselves to a contract resembling the headache they just freed themselves of in Trumaine Johnson.

The free agency class is top-heavy at corner but there is depth within the lower levels. James Bradberry and Byron Jones are reportedly being targeted by the Jets. Both guys would immediately become the Jets lead corner and fill a huge hole.

Bradberry is very underrated and has been Carolina’s top corner for the past few years. The Jets reportedly believe he is the better of the two and are willing to splurge on him. I believe Bradberry would be great but he wants to be a part of resetting the cornerback market and his contract may be too pricey.

Other Options

If the Jets miss out on the top two guys, Ronald Darby, Prince Amukamara, Jalen Mills, Chris Harris Jr., and Trae Waynes are among the guys the Jets could target. Even if the Jets get one of these guys to be their lead corner, the Jets need to grab a corner in the draft as well. By doing that the Jets would have two veteran CBs and two younger options, a draft pick and Bless Austin. This would drastically change the Jets secondary and potentially make it elite depending on the additions.

Pass Rush

John Abraham was the last elite pass rusher the Jets had. Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were both great defensive linemen but not capable of being pass rushers. The Jets drafted Jordan Jenkins a few years ago and he’s developed into a consistently good pass rusher, but he should be re-signed and used as a complementary pass rusher to a better pass rusher.

The Jets can go about filling that hole in a few ways. Free agency is an option, Dante Fowler Jr. and Markus Golden are two guys the Jets have been tied to and both would be great additions. In the draft, there are a few guys I have grown fond of in the pre-draft process. Bradlee Anae, Josh Uche, Kenny Wilekes, Curtis Weaver and Jonathan Greenard are all very talented pass rushers who could be available for the Jets on Days 2 and 3. Any of those guys would be great additions to the Jets and could be capable of becoming elite pass rushers. The Jets need to form an elite pass-rushing tandem, maybe even a trio. The overall goal needs to be an establishment of pass rush and finally getting playmakers at the edge.

The Jets need to get a few more “dawgs” and if they do that then the Jets will have an elite defense that can help lead this team to playoff contention.

Why The New York Giants Should Stay Away From James Bradberry

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Free agency is kicking off next week and the New York Giants are going to have money to spend. The Giants currently have the fifth-most cap space in the NFL with over $78 million dollars available (via Over The Cap).

New York is expected to be shopping near the top of the market. Big-name free agents such as Jadeveon Clowney and Byron Jones have been linked to the Giants in various rumors. But another, lesser-known free agent has also been linked to the Giants recently. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, the Giants consider Panthers’ free-agent cornerback James Bradberry to be a “coveted option.”

Overpaying Average Talent

James Bradberry is expected to cost a pretty penny. According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bradberry is seeking a contract worth approximately $15 million per year. This might be a bit expensive for a 27-year-old cornerback that has never been to a Pro Bowl.

He is seeking that high annual salary and he might not get it, but if the Giants are going to be throwing big money at a cornerback in free agency, Byron Jones is a better option. Jones would cost more, around $16-18 million per year according to Tom Pelissero of However, Byron Jones is an elite talent and is worth being paid elite money. James Bradberry is not worth paying such a large sum.

Elite Payment For Average Performance

In 2019, James Bradberry struggled to make tackles. He totaled a combined 65 tackles this season, however, he also missed 9 tackles. That is a missed tackle percentage of 12.2%, which is a little high.

James Bradberry was not reliable in coverage either. The Panthers’ cornerback was targeted in coverage 97 times in 2019. He allowed 58 completions, a 59.8% completion percentage. The opposition gained 644 yards against Bradberry, but they only scored 1 touchdown.

Bradberry would provide the Giants with average to above-average talent in the secondary. For this reason, he would be an upgrade. However, he is not an upgrade worth nearly $15 million.

New York Giants: 2 alternatives if Byron Jones slips past the Giants in free agency

New York Giants, Chris Harris, James Bradberry

The top corner in free agency is none other than Dallas Cowboys’ Byron Jones. Anytime the New York Giants can steal one of Dallas’ top defensive playmakers away, it’s considered a massive success.

Jones is the top cornerback available on the market, and the Giants will have to drop a pretty penny on him if they wish to land him (likely north of $16 million per season). His statistical output doesn’t raise any eyebrows, but that’s mostly due to opposing quarterbacks staying away from his side of the field.

Considering Jones is just 27-years-old, investing big-money in him is justifiable, especially with the Giants lacking a shutdown corner on defense.

What if the New York Giants miss out on Byron Jones:

Two options intrigue me if the Giants are forced to inquire about alternative cornerbacks in free agency. Former Carolina Panther, James Bradberry, and Broncos’ Chris Harris.

Bradberry is a talented cover corner who’s versed in shadowing No. 1 receivers, but his biggest downfall is his tackling efficiency. Boasting an inflated 12.1% missed tackle rate compared to Byron Jones’ 2.1%, he’s a liability after the catch at times, but his numbers in coverage are impressive.

The 27-years-old only allowed a 59.8% completion percentage in 2019, recording three interceptions and 12 passes defended. He’s a cheaper option than Jones in free agency by a large margin, but a reliable backup plan if the Giants have no other choice.

Alternatively, they can seek assistance through Chris Harris, who’s entering the latter portion of his career at 31-years-old. Signing Harris to a two-year deal would maximize his value until he ultimately succumbs to age degradation. I like this move more-so than Bradberry given his experience and veteran mentality – he might cost the Giants around $13-14 million per season. Still, a two-year deal isn’t detrimental to their future cap holdings.

Other options include Logan Ryan, Bradley Roby, and Jimmy Smith as boundary-corners. The Giants need to pursue Jones aggressively, but the two names listed above represent decent alternatives.

New York Giants Could Pursue Byron Jones And James Bradberry In Free Agency

New York Giants, Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys

The New York Giants are reportedly planning on prioritizing the cornerback position in free agency this offseason (Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post). Luckily for New York, there are plenty of talented cornerbacks set to be available.

Two of the top cornerbacks for the Giants to target will be Byron Jones and James Bradberry. Both will have very competitive markets but would be massive upgrades to add to the Giants’ young and upcoming secondary.

Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys are in a bit of trouble regarding their salary cap. They just paid Ezekiel Elliot and Demarcus Lawrence, and they still have not paid Dak Prescott. New head coach Mike McCarthy will have some tough decisions to make regarding the team’s impending free agents, and he might have to let some big names walk out the door. Byron Jones could be one of those big names to depart.

The 27-year-old cornerback out of Connecticut has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league with the Cowboys. Byron Jones is a versatile cornerback that makes a significant impact in pass coverage. He has experience playing both safety and cornerback at the professional level and has done both exceptionally well. Jones is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He’s a large-bodied cornerback with peak physicality to cover larger receivers and tight ends. Finally, the Giants could get a coverage-man to shut down opposing tight ends.

James Bradberry

In Ryan Dunleavy’s report, he listed Byron Jones and James Bradberry as two potential cornerback targets for the Giants in free agency. Dunleavy described Bradberry as a “coveted option.” There should be a competitive market to sign James Bradberry.

But James is expected to cost a pretty penny. According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bradberry is seeking a contract worth approximately $15 million per year. This might be a bit expensive for a 27-year-old cornerback that has never been to a Pro Bowl.

In 2019, Bradberry recorded 3 interceptions, and 12 passes defended. James is not exactly an elite talent, but he is a reliable veteran that would be a considerable upgrade in the Giants’ secondary. If they can acquire Bradberry for the right price, it might be worth the investment.