With the New York Giants in desperate need of offensive line help, Andrew Whitworth is a free agent worth targeting.The NFL postseason is in full swing, with the conference championship games only a day away. However, for every NFL team other than the Falcons, Packers, Patriots and Steelers, the offseason is in full swing.
This article debuts a new series here on ESNY, where we will preview a new potential free agent signing for the New York Giants every single week leading up to the start of free agency.
All three turned out to be smashing successes, which will boost general manager Jerry Reese’s confidence heading into the offseason.
The Giants already have $30 million worth of cap space to play with, and that number could go up if they decide to release players like JT Thomas, Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The first player we will be previewing is Cincinnati Bengals 11-year veteran tackle, Andrew Whitworth.
It’s clear that left tackle is a position of massive need for the Giants. Ereck Flowers, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, has not panned out as expected. The University of Miami product allowed 59 quarterback pressures in 2016, the second most in the NFL.
He also was riddled by penalties down the stretch of the season and was the weak point of an offensive line that was clearly the Giants Achilles heel.
It may be too early to give up on Flowers, but a move from left tackle to right tackle might ease the pressure off the big guy. Adding Whitworth would fill the void at left tackle.
Whitworth was named to his third Pro Bowl this season and his second consecutive one at that. The 35-year old was also was ranked as the second highest left tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 91.3.
Considering the overall regression suffered by the Bengals across the board, Whitworth’s stellar season cannot be understated.
He also displayed his versatility and durability. Whitworth played all 16 games for the Bengals– 15 at left tackle, and 1 at left guard.
When taking into account Justin Pugh’s injury issues this season, it would be reassuring knowing that they would have someone who could slide into the position if needed.
Additionally, Whitworth has played 164 of a possible 168 games during his NFL career, all with the Bengals.
Considering his experience, durability, versatility, and continued success, Whitworth looks like a slam dunk signing for the Giants if they were able to negotiate a deal. However, there are a couple of concerns that must be addressed.
Firstly, loyalty is a concern. In a current NFL where players often jump ship from the teams they had spent their entire careers with for big contracts, Whitworth has spent all 11 of his seasons with the Bengals.
A three-time Pro Bowler who has spent over a decade with the same team might suggest that he wouldn’t want a change of scenery so late in his career.
Another issue is his age. As mentioned, Whitworth is 35 years old and despite a stellar season, age will undoubtedly play a factor soon.
There is no escaping Father Time, and at his age, Whitworth is among the older non-kickers in the NFL. Even if he would sign for the Giants, it would be a temporary fix, seeing as he only has a few seasons left, if that.
Overall, Whitworth isn’t the flashiest of free agent signings. He won’t pull headlines, and his age is a real concern. If the Giants can get the Pro Bowl left tackle at a good price, and on a short deal, he could be a good short-term solution at left tackle, seeing as the market for left tackles isn’t terrific this offseason, and neither is the first round of the draft.
Should the Giants sign Andrew Whitworth? Only if they get a good deal out of it.
While he is a Pro Bowler, Whitworth’s age is a real concern. He signed a one-year, $9 million deal prior to this season. A similar deal would make sense, and would still leave the Giants with a good amount of cap space.