New York Giants: 3 cornerbacks to consider in free agency to fill void CB2 spot

xavier rhodes, New York Giants

The New York Giants revamped their secondary from 2019 to 2020. They brought in a bunch of new faces this past offseason, signing Logan Ryan and James Bradberry, and the Giants drafted Xavier McKinney in the second-round.

Their secondary was the fifth-worst pass defense in 2019. They allowed 264.1 passing yards per game in 2019, but in 2020, only allowed 237.9 passing yards per game. The Giants were in the middle of the pack for best pass defense, coming in at 16th.

Safety’s Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, and Xavier McKinney are the future, and Bradberry island is a real thing. The G-Men just need another cornerback to go alongside Bradberry.

Here are three free agents the Giants should consider in free agency:

Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this past season, but in 2017-2019, he struggled. The Minnesota Vikings decided to part ways with Rhodes this past offseason. Rhodes signed a one-year, $3,250,000 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

Rhodes recorded 42 tackles, 12 pass defends, and two interceptions this past season. With these solid stats, Rhodes could earn himself a pay increase but not too much where it will be out of the Giants’ price range.

If the Giants could find some money to give to Rhodes and if the secondary could repeat what they did this past season, this could easily be one of the best secondaries in 2021.

Jason McCourty

Will Logan Ryan recruit Jason McCourty to New York? The New York native just finished up his two-year deal with the New England Patriots — could McCourty team up with Joe Judge down in New York to finish his career?

McCourty has been a versatile cornerback who has played as an above-average outside cornerback for almost his entire career. McCourty has 723 career tackles, 106 pass defends, and 18 interceptions, and a Super Bowl Ring with Judge.

If McCourty wants to come to New York and leave his twin brother, the Giants have the capital to bring him in. He will have an opportunity to play alongside a Pro Bowl cornerback in Bradberry if he wants to.

Ross Cockrell

It seems like Ross Cockrell’s name is always in talks to come back to New York. With the Giants now having a better all-around team and an excellent secondary, he could come in and compete for the starting job on the outside.

Cockrell is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; they are on their way to go play in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. With the Buccaneers stud cornerbacks, Cockrell has seen the least amount of playing time since his rookie season. Starting only two games and only recorded two pass breakups.

Cockrell only got a one-year deal with the Buccaneers for less than a million. But I will speak for all Giants fans here, we do not want another Cockrell fake signing again. Cockrell backed out of a deal this past offseason.

New York Giants secondary lacking according to PFF rankings

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants improved in the secondary this season, but they still have some ways to go. The main improvements, of course, were the additions of James Bradberry and Logan Ryan. And while Xavier McKinney spent much of the year injured, his return to the field sets up an intriguing next season with him playing besides Ryan and Jabrill Peppers.

Despite the improvements, the Giants still have a need at number two corner. That seems to have dragged them down when Pro Football Focus went over the league’s secondaries and put the Giants in the bottom half.

18. NEW YORK GIANTS

New York is this high because of one man only: James Bradberry. The fifth-year corner was signed to a monster contract this past offseason after four middling years with the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t play at a high level in his four years with Carolina, failing to surpass a 70.0 PFF grade in every season, so the contract was risky, to say the least.

But Bradberry proved all the doubters wrong and justified his pay this season. He ranked fifth among outside corners in coverage grade and fourth in forced incompletion rate (21%). There were quite a few missed tackles from him (14), but that’s something you can live with if he keeps up this shutdown play.

Some might disagree with where the Giants were placed as well as the dismissive assessment of non-Bradberrry members of the secondary because this take makes no mention of impact players Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan.

In fact, Ryan had his second best season in the tackling department in 2020 when he racked up 94. His three forced fumbles were also the second most he’s had in a season, and those who watched the Giants before his arrival can attest to his impact.

Jabrill Peppers also stepped up at safety this season and had a career high in both tackles and passes defended, registering a total of 11 in the latter category. That’s a big step up from his 5 the previous season. It gives him one of the highest totals overall this year at the strong safety position.

The Giants do indeed have a need for a number two cornerback, however, which may be addressed through the draft if the front office doesn’t target offense first, or a pass rusher. Alabama corner Patrick Surtain has been brought up as a name in the mix for the Giants to draft at the position, but with a number of other needs too, it’s not clear which way the Giants will go with the 11th pick.

New York Giants extend safety Logan Ryan on 3-year deal

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

Merry Christmas! The New York Giants extended star safety Logan Ryan, on a three-year, $31 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport. Ryan bought into himself in 2020 with the Giants, accepting a one-year offer at safety, a position he transitioned to from cornerback.

The Giants believe Ryan is an irreplaceable defensive player and one who has brought the Giants to new heights in 2020 with Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator. Through 14 games, Ryan has 83 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, 1.0 sack, nine passes defended, and three forced fumbles. He also has one interception.

Overall, the Giants will have to find ways to open up more cap space, especially if they want to bring back players like Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. Free agency will be tough to maneuver, especially with the salary cap expected to drop this offseason due to COVID-19 complications.

Nonetheless, Ryan has made the transition to safety an excellent fashion, becoming a staple in the Giants’ defense. He will not pair with Xavier McKinney and Jabrill Peppers for the foreseeable future, a trio that has proven to be extremely efficient and productive in recent weeks.

New York Giants: The top three most confusing Pro Bowl snubs

Right now, one of the major stories around the New York Giants is Evan Engram and James Bradberry making the Pro Bowl. It’s a good accomplishment as it marks the talent level on the roster going up compared to recent years where the Giants were less represented in the game. However, it’s safe to say the Giants should be sending more players than they actually are. Some players were confusingly left out, despite their high levels of performance all season.

Logan Ryan

One of the obvious ones is Giants defensive back Logan Ryan, who joined the team in the aftermath of Xavier McKinney’s training camp injury and immediately justified the Giants’ decision to sign him. He’s played in every game so far for the Giants and has 83 combined tackles so far.

He also has 9 passes defended, a single interception, and one fumble recovered. His play this season has largely made up for the Giants not having McKinney until late in the year.

Ryan was also the leader in fan voting for the NFC free safeties for a number of weeks. This ultimately, however, wasn’t enough to boost him into actually getting the spot. It won’t stop the large amount of offseason speculation about his contract situation that will come soon, however.

Blake Martinez

The Giants have really helped former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez turn it around after picking the free agent up to man the middle of the defense. Martinez has 128 combined tackles so far, and that ties him for the fourth spot in the overall standings.

Martinez had also led this list at one point and still has a chance to move further up it in the last two games of the season. On top of that, Martinez has assisted in multiple areas of the game with one interception, two forced fumbles, and two sacks.

Leonard Williams

Despite a dud of a first year with the Giants, Leonard Williams has turned it around under Patrick Graham to have the best pass rushing year of his career. 8.5 sacks is a career high for him and places him at the number eleven spot overall on the league charts for the statistic.

He’s also got 24 QB hits, which places him at sixth overall in the league right now. It really seems like Williams is having a Pro Bowl caliber season, especially with the inclusion of Evan Engram from the Giants, who hasn’t stepped up as much by comparison at his own position.

New York Giants: Giants should “Enter the Wu” and draft Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, New York Giants

Drafting Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would take the New York Giants defense from being a very good defense to being an elite defense.

I know what you are probably saying to yourself, “Why are we already talking about who the New York Giants should draft in the 2021 NFL Draft when there are four weeks remaining in the season, and the team is in first place in their division?”. I totally understand the confusion. In recent years, writers were forced to look ahead to NFL Draft prospects for the Giants by this time of year because the season was already over for Big Blue, and there was nothing else to look forward to.

Obviously, this year is different. If the season were to end today, the New York Giants would qualify for the playoffs, despite currently having a losing record of 5-8. The Giants are coming off a four-game win streak that has propelled them to the top of a weak NFC East. Despite their record, the team has looked exponentially better this season and looks like they could represent a difficult matchup should their current trajectory hold up and they make the playoffs.

Much of their success has been a direct result of a massive improvement on the defensive side of the ball. New defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, has the Giants’ defense playing at a level that we have not seen in recent years. Currently, New York is ranked eighth overall in the NFL after stifling a very potent Seattle Seahawks offense that came into last week as the third-highest scoring offense in the league.

The Giants’ defense has a very solid young core that should allow them to wreak havoc on the National Football League for years to come. Their defensive line is lead by Leonard Williams (26), Dalvin Tomlinson (26), Dexter Lawrence (23), and B.J. Hill (25). The linebacking corps consists of Blake Martinez (26), Oshane Ximines (24), Lorenzo Carter (25), Devante Downs (25), Carter Coughlin (23), Cam Brown (22), David Mayo (27), and Tae Crowder (23). The secondary is made up of James Bradberry (27), Jabrill Peppers (25), Julian Love (22), Logan Ryan (29), Darnay Holmes (22), Xavier McKinney (22), and Isaac Yiadom (24). To say that this talented defense is young would be a massive understatement, with no major contributor over the age of 30 and most aged 26-years-old or younger.

The Giants will need to address the expiring contracts of Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Logan Ryan, who have all played a major part in the success of this defense. According to spotrac.com, they currently are slated to have just over $18 million in remaining cap space heading into 2021, which doesn’t bode well for keeping the trio. However, moving on from Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler, and Golden Tate would free up another $21.5 million in cap space, which may allow them to keep all three.

However, if this scenario does play out and the Giants are able to keep all three free agent defenders, they will have limited cap space remaining and will unlikely to be able to sign any additional big named free agent players. That means that the defense will have to add any additional significant improvements to the defensive unit via the NFL Draft.

While a case could be made to draft a big-play wide receiver for Daniel Jones or another young piece along the offensive line in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, a case could be made to take an impact defensive player who can take an already excellent defense to elite status for years to come. After all, we all know that great defenses win championships.

If the Giants continue to have success to close out the 2020 season and do, in fact, make the playoffs, elite defensive talents such as Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, edge rushers Gregory Rousseau of Miami and Carlos Basham of Wake Forest, and TCU safety Ar’Darius Washington will likely be gone when New York makes their pick. However, the best fit for the GMEN on defense will likely still be on the board when they step up to the podium. That player is Notre Dame outside linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

The 6’1″ and 215-pound Owusu-Koramoah, or “JOK” or “Wu,” as Irish fans affectionately know him as is a bit undersized at the linebacker position. However, Owusu-Koramoah makes up for his lack of size with incredible athletic ability. JOK has thrived as the leader of a stout Notre Dame defense the past two seasons. He has been exceptional as the rover linebacker for the Irish, recording 127 total tackles, 10 sacks, five forced fumbles, one interception, seven pass deflections, and a fumble return for a touchdown over that span.

Anyone who watches Notre Dame football is likely to notice #6 flying all over the field, seemingly making big plays at will. While Owusu-Koramoah wasn’t a big-time prospect coming out of college, rating only as a 3-star recruit out of Hampton, Virginia, his ability to make plays has catapulted him to become one of the elite defensive players in college football.

Owusu-Koramoah was recently named as a semi-finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, awarded to the player who was the best defensive player with the best character in college football. Additionally, he was named as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (national defensive player of the year), Butkus Award (best linebacker), and Bednarik Award (best defensive player). A strong showing against Clemson in the ACC Championship game next weekend would go a long way in helping to secure those awards.

Owusu-Koramoah appears to be the perfect fit for the New York Giants in the upcoming draft. One of the few weaknesses remaining on the Giants defense is at outside linebacker. While the GMEN have arguably one of the best middle linebackers in the game in Blake Martinez, they are lacking production at the outside linebacker position. Some of this is due to losing both Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter to season-ending injuries. Both Carter and Ximines have shown flashes of becoming solid pass-rushing options at the outside linebacker position, but neither is a sure thing, especially coming off of major injuries.

Adding a playmaker of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s caliber to play alongside Martinez would represent a major improvement on an already impressive Giants defense. “Wu” would give Patrick Graham’s defense a player who is excellent as a pass rusher, who can provide solid coverage in the passing game, and who has a propensity to come up with huge plays at critical times. If either or both of the tandem of Carter and Ximines return and reach their potential, the linebacking group of Martinez, Owusu-Koramoah, Ximines, Carter, and the young late-round picks from last year’s draft give the Giants a very young, talented, and deep linebacking corps to go along with their young, talented, and deep defensive line and secondary.

If the New York Giants are able to secure this best-case scenario and resign the trio of Williams, Ryan, and Tomlinson and then are able to add a player of Owusu-Koramoah’s ability in the draft, this defense looks poised to be among the best in the National Football League for years to come. Having a strong defense takes a lot of pressure off of Daniel Jones and the offense. If they can pull off these moves in the offseason AND add a few offensive weapons for Jones, this team will be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

New York Giants: Logan Ryan still in the lead for NFC free safeties Pro Bowl voting

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

The New York Giants added Logan Ryan as a free agent after no other team gave him the same chance following his departure from the Titans, and they haven’t regretted the choice since. Ryan has become a key part of the secondary in what turned out to be a successful experiment following an early injury to Xavier McKinney. While Ryan was initially brought in just for this reason, he’s become enough of a factor for Giants fans to start thinking about the odds of him sticking around next year.

One of the fruits of his labor is his lead in the voting for NFC free safeties for the Pro Bowl. There’s one week left to vote and so far, no one has surpassed Ryan’s total in this category.

For once, the Giants have multiple players in contention for Pro Bowl spots – a change from the last couple of years where they had one of the thinnest rosters in the NFL.

Ryan has 69 combined tackles so far after playing in every game for the Giants and is on pace for one of his best years in this category. He also has a single interception and has three forced fumbles this season. If his current pace keeps up, it looks like he’ll surpass his career total for forced fumbles in one season.

The player will be of further interest when the offseason comes, due to his contract. It’s been speculated that the Giants will have to make a choice when it comes to Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Ryan. They may not have enough cap space to afford all three players, but obviously, there’s some desire to keep Ryan around thanks to his impact on the secondary and his Pro Bowl worthy performance.

The forecast of what the cap situation will look like isn’t all clear yet. It’s possible that we’ll see Nate Solder retire, and it looks like Golden Tate is headed out the door after this season. It’s clear right now, however, that many would prefer keeping Ryan and the team’s impact players on the defensive front around rather than Solder and Tate.

New York Giants: Logan Ryan makes PFF Week 12 Team of the Week after big performance

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

The New York Giants are coming off of a huge Week 12 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants’ defense was dominant in this week’s victory that pushed the Giants to first place in the NFC East. New York held Cincinnati’s offense to a total of only 155 yards.

The Giants’ defense was exceptional against both the run and the pass and even forced three turnovers. New York saw multiple defensive players have standout performances, but none greater than safety Logan Ryan.

Logan Ryan Week 12 Stats and Highlights

Logan Ryan had a phenomenal Week 12 performance that saw earn a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Team of the Week. Ryan was a defensive force for the Giants, totaling 6 combined tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. He was a true defensive playmaker for New York against Cincinnati.

Logan Ryan was listed as the FLEX defender on PFF’s Team of the Week. According to PFF, Ryan had two pass breakups when not the primary coverage defender this week. His forced fumble in the fourth quarter was also one of the most clutch plays of the game:

This was another great performance in the midst of an excellent season for Logan Ryan. Ryan seems destined to become a Pro Bowler this season. Ryan was leading all NFC free safeties in Pro Bowl voting earlier this week. This would be Logan’s first Pro Bowl nomination of his career.

This is well deserved as Logan Ryan has been phenomenal as a new member of the New York Giants’ secondary in 2020. Playing opposite of Jabrill Peppers, Ryan has flourished in his new role as a free safety. The Giants signed Ryan to a one-year deal this offseason, but with the way he has played, it seems likely that he will be around longer than that. The Giants would be wise to extend their standout safety.

New York Giants: S Logan Ryan confident and ready to tackle the rest of the season

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

The New York Giants are fresh off of a statement victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10. This win was crucial, as this was the firs time the Giants beat their heated rival Eagles since 2016. This win was also clutch as the Giants’ record improved to 3-7, keeping them in the hunt to win the NFC East.

It appears that the race to win the east will come down to the Giants and the Eagles. The Dallas Cowboys seem out of the hunt as they have been starting third and fourth string quarterbacks and dropping games ever since they lost Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury. The Washington Football Team has also lost its starting quarterback for the season. These teams are trending downward, along with Philadelphia, while the Giants are trending upward and starting to click on both sides of the ball.

The Giants are fortunate to see their offense finally get on track these past two weeks. New York’s struggles this season have occurred while in possession of the football. For the most part, the defense has been consistent and efficient in 2020. Mostly thanks to some clutch free agent signings by Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and company.

The Giants made a number of key free agent signings this offseason. James Bradberry and Blake Martinez standout as the team’s splash free agent signings. Both of them have been excellent in 2020. But the Giants’ third splash in free agency came much later in the process with the training camp signing of Logan Ryan. Logan Ryan has quietly been one of the best players and leaders on the Giants’ defense this season. And this defensive leader is confident in the direction that the Giants are heading to close out this season.

Logan Ryan’s 2020 Season

New York Giants safety Logan Ryan believes in his team and their future. Not just the long-term future, but Ryan believes in the Giants’ immediate future. When discussing the Giants today, Ryan saidWe are putting in the work and I don’t think the Eagles are matching that. We are on a mission this year and no one is on our level.”

After an impressive Week 10 victory over Philadelphia, Logan Ryan is confident that the Giants are the better of those two teams. He believes that the Giants are going to win the race to win their division. And, if they continue to play the way they have the last two weeks, there is a good chance he ends up being right about that.

Ryan has been excellent for the Giants this season, manning the free safety position. The Giants signed Logan Ryan after rookie safety Xavier McKinney suffered a broken foot during training camp, an injury that has kept him out for the whole season to this point. McKinney looks likely to return to the lineup soon, but Ryan has been playing at a high level, so he will by no means be replaced by the rookie once he returns.

Through ten games, Logan Ryan has totaled a combined 59 tackles. He has also been a playmaker, forcing two fumbles, one interception, and even recording one sack. Ryan was signed to a one-year contract this training camp. Considering the leadership presence he has had on this team and the high level of performance he has contributed, it is likely Logan Ryan will play his way into a contract extension this season.

New York Giants: Logan Ryan has family on both sides of Eagles rivalry

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

The New York Giants are set to take on the Eagles in a regional rivalry game on Thursday Night Football, and this one will pit a lot of families against each other.

The Giants and the Eagles play within close proximity of each other compared to some other divisional rivalries and the state of New Jersey is largely split between the two when it comes to fandom. That means some extra bragging rights are at stake for the Giants players who come from the state.

One of those players is recent addition Logan Ryan. When Ryan was signed to the Giants, it was just about a perfect fit. Not just because the team needed another defensive back, but because Ryan himself is from New Jersey and finally received the chance to play for his hometown team.

But all of Ryan’s friends and family? Well, not all of them will be rooting for him on Thursday night.

“I didn’t grow up too far away. I definitely have some family members that grew up Eagles fans. I understand the rivalry in this division, I grew up in it,” Ryan said to reporters on Tuesday.

“I grew up watching all these Giants games, Eagles games. [I] Bleed blue right now, this is where I wake up early every day and put it on for them. My teammates support me, and the coaches support me. I’m bleeding blue all day for this one. I’m excited to upset a lot of family and friends who may be watching. If they’re not on my side, they’re on the wrong side.”

The Eagles started bringing fans back into the stadium with the last game, and fans will once again be allowed for the game against the Giants. It means Ryan might just have some familiar faces in the stands, and not just watching from at home.

That should serve as a motivating factor for Ryan, who has already proven to be a big player in the secondary so far. With 39 combined tackles so far and one forced fumble, Giants fans can hope the extra motivation pushes Ryan to improve his stats even further.

Giants’ Logan Ryan has motivating words for Daniel Jones

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

New York Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones has been the talk of the town this season, primarily for his lack of touchdown passes and increase in turnovers.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, Jones is undoubtedly part of the problem. He oftentimes gets stuck on his first read and is not moving on and creating with his other options. That has been a major hiccup in his game, but it is something we hadn’t seen in 2019 during his rookie campaign.

With new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett taking over playcalling duties, Jones’ mentality has changed significantly. He’s sticking to the book and not going off-script.

The one time we saw Jones go off-script, it was on an offsite play against the San Francisco 49ers when he threw a pass downfield to Darius Slayton on his back shoulder. It was a perfect play that resembled something along the lines of “success,” a word we haven’t been able to use with the offense through four weeks. He hasn’t scored a touchdown over two games and didn’t even take a red-zone snap and week three against San Francisco.

However, despite the lack of efficiency, Jones has tangible traits to become a quality starter in the NFL. A lot of the struggles have to do with lack of talent and a vanilla offensive scheme.

New safety Logan Ryan sees championship traits in Jones, who works just as hard as anyone to ensure he’s ready on game day.

“We talk a lot, he asks me questions about defense, I ask him a lot of questions about offense. I’m trying to make it hard on the quarterback, I’m trying to make it hard on him every day. He makes it hard on me,” Ryan said, per Dan Benton of the Giants Wire. “We do talk a lot. I was a high school quarterback, I couldn’t even play in college. I don’t dip my toe in it too much. Anything he needs, he knows I’m an open book. Like I said, he’s a hard worker. He’s in the building well before anybody else, me and him are.

“I believe in him, I have full faith in him. However it’s going right now, it’s four games. However many starts he has in his career, it’s a young career. He has to keep his confidence and keep growing. He has no problem being a leader, he has no problem working hard. He has no problem putting the time in, I think the Giants have the right guy when it comes to that.”

Remaining confident with such poor statistics to show must be difficult. Jones stated on Wednesday that he believes the offense is ready to break out, and it is the perfect time to do so against a historically bad Dallas Cowboys unit.

Averaging 36.5 points per game allowed, the Giants have a fantastic match-up to break out of their funk. The problem is, the Giants have been a confidence-building team for their opponents, and they must do everything in their power not to hurt themselves.

Winning the turnover battle and having more time of possession is essential, which means establishing the ground game and utilizing play-action. I think Garrett should give Jones more creativity and the ability to decide on the go, as his one read offense simply isn’t getting the job done with a methodical Jones under center.