Coming off a fresh hiring of head coach Brian Daboll, new GM Joe Schoen will now turn his focus towards the draft and free agency to fill the New York Giants offseason needs.
The New York Giants cut ties with head coach Joe Judge after the team went a pathetic 10-23 during his two years at the helm. Additionally, volatile general manager Dave Gettleman decided to call it a career and head off into the sunset, leaving behind a mess for the new regime to clean up.
Gettleman drafted a running back, Saquon Barkley, No. 2 overall in a draft that featured Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Hindsight is 20/20, but the decision to go with a running back always felt like a reach. He traded superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a package that was centered around Jabrill Peppers and a pick that eventually turned into defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.
Adding to his mixed bag of moves as the general manager, Gettleman selected Daniel Jones sixth overall out of Duke. At the time, the pick was panned by evaluators and NFL personnel alike. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has struggled to find any footing in the league as a starter, so it makes things look a little better for Danny Dimes in comparison.
You could argue that Jones never got a fair shake, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Even Giants owner John Mara would agree with that assessment. It is fair to wonder how much of that damage is reparable for the fourth-year signal-caller, considering the mental warfare that comes with being a quarterback in the NFL.
Adding to the uninspiring draft moves from Gettleman is the fact that he passed on Tristan Wirfs, instead selecting offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. While Thomas is going to be an above-average player for a very long time, Wirfs has the potential to be the top lineman in the league at some point.
Overall, he did not do well with veteran free agent signings. Jonathan Stewart, Golden Tate, and Dion Lewis were all flops. James Bradberry was a great pickup, however, and he was able to acquire Leonard Williams from the cross-town rival New York Jets via trade. Proving to be two of his best moves.
Arguably his best trade was saved for last. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Gettleman uncharacteristically traded down from 11 to 20. In doing so, the Giants received the Chicago Bears’ 2022 first-round draft pick. This pick ended up slotting in at No. 7 overall, giving the team two selections in the top seven with their own landing at No. 5 overall.
New general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll now get to reap the reward of such a shroud move. The duo comes over from Buffalo after helping turn the Bills into a powerhouse in the vaunted AFC. Early reports say that they are willing to give Daniel Jones another season under center to prove himself. With great draft capital and a desirable market to play in, the temptation to bring in an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson might be too strong to pass up if the opportunity presents itself.
Brian Daboll is credited with helping transform Josh Allen into the player he is today. After a shaky start to his career, Allen thrived under the tutelage of the offensive mastermind. If the same success is enjoyed by Daniel Jones, the Giants should offer Daboll a lifetime contract because it would be a miraculous turn of events with how things currently stand.
Along with a new offense, the New York Giants will be switching from the zone-heavy Patrick Graham scheme to a much more aggressive approach from new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Martindale comes over from Baltimore after leading the unit to top-ten finishes in each season from 2018-2020, before suffering a down year in 2021. The injury bug and a general lack of talent held the Ravens back, even amid the emergence of star-in-the-making Odafe Oweh.
Martindale inherits a roster with a few pieces that fit his scheme like the slippers fit Dorothy. The defense is stout up front with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. They are led on the edge by Azeez Ojulari and impending free agent Lorenzo Carter. They also have some DUDES in the secondary with legitimate man-to-man chops. It will be interesting to see if Carter and Bradberry will be retained or if Martindale prefers to handpick his own players at edge rusher and cornerback. Either way, expect Ojulari to thrive in the blitz-heavy scheme. There’s a great chance he becomes a household name in 2022.
New York Giants Offseason Needs
OT, IOL, EDGE, LB, TE, Safety, QB?
Impending Free Agents
•OT Nate Solder
•C Billy Price
•OG Will Hernandez
•OG Matt Skura
•OT Corey Cunningham
•S Nate Ebner
•S Jabrill Peppers
•CB Keion Crossen
•DL Austin Jackson
•DL Danny Shelton
•TE Evan Engram
•QB Mike Glennon
•LS Casey Kreiter
•LB Jaylon Smith
•LB Bernardrick McKinney
•LB Reggie Ragland
•HB Elijhaa Penny
•WR John Ross
•WR CJ Board
•WR Dante Pettis
•EDGE Lorenzo Carter
Who to Bring Back
LS Casey Kreiter – What’s that old adage? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? That applies here for the special teams unit in New York. Long snappers are not a glamorous position, but when you have a good one you don’t just let them walk. Respect the long snapper!!
LB Jaylon Smith – Jaylon Smith’s career is reminiscent of a roller coaster. He went from being a potential No. 1 overall pick to free-falling in the draft due to a degenerative knee. Against all odds, Smith excelled early in his career with the Dallas Cowboys, eventually leading to a lucrative contract for the Notre Dame alum. Health issues, coupled with his bloated salary, led to Jaylon being let go from Dallas. He found a home with the Giants late in the 2021 season. Smith likely will not find a big offer anywhere on the open market, and he has been vocal about his desire to stay with the G-Men. It makes sense to keep Jaylon around as a rotational depth piece at the least.
S Jabrill Peppers – Jabrill’s New York Giants career has been up-and-down the whole way through. Although he’s shown flashes to be a productive player, Peppers suffered a major injury last season and there is a fear that he will never be the player he was prior. The injury does two things: keeps the price tag within range and causes enough concern to question whether it’s even worth the cheap price tag. Odds are a prove-it deal is on the horizon, but I couldn’t blame the team for just moving on.
TE Evan Engram – Sometimes talented players don’t work out with a team and it has nothing to do with the talent level of the player. Ever since the New York Giants selected Evan Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, there have been unfair expectations placed at his feet. There’s plenty of blame to go around for Engram too, though. It doesn’t seem like he has improved in any considerable way during his time in the league. Maybe Brian Daboll wants to give Engram a chance in the new offense? The most likely option feels like a change of scenery for the player and the team, but it’s a toss up at this point.
Good as Gone
OT Nate Solder – Nate Solder has been committing grand larceny since signing his 62 million dollar deal in the 2018 offseason. Solder was already a shell of himself before arriving in New York, only getting worse with each passing season. There is no reason for Solder to still be collecting checks in the NFL. Bring in a different veteran at a better price or draft depth.
QB Mike Glennon – Mike Glennon is basically the Nate Solder of quarterbacks right now. There’s no reason for Glennon to be around. Maybe he could talk his way into a backup contract, but regardless of who the starter is, you could find a better player for No. 2 on the depth chart.
Schoen has his work cut out for him, but with two picks inside the top seven — and some solid building blocks on the defensive side of the ball — it is possible that the team turns things around quicker than scheduled. The arrival of a veteran quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson would change the entire tone of the building, but as of now, I’m working under the assumption that Danny Dimes returns for the 2022 NFL season. In that event, the New York Giants should do everything in their power to add talent to the roster, while keeping their flexibility for next season intact. You never want to put your eggs in one basket, especially that of an older veteran quarterback, but having the flexibility to make a move if given the chance is everything. Giants fans are in for an exciting offseason.