It’s safe to say the New York Giants roster is nearly complete. In order to make it whole, the front office should target veteran free agents.
New York Giants GM Jerry Reese and VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross have done a quality job in filling out some holes on the roster this offseason.
Top draft pick Evan Engram could be the most offensively-gifted tight end the Giants have had since Jeremy Shockey was in town. Alabama DT Dalvin Tomlinson figures to replace Jonathan Hankins. Many hope that Davis Webb, the strong-armed Cal QB is Eli Manning‘s heir apparent while RB Wayne Gallman, DE Avery Moss, and OT Adam Bisnowaty figure to contribute in some form or fashion.
Some believe the Giants already have a Super Bowl-caliber roster. But before fans starting dreaming about a third championship since the 2007 season, reinforcements must be brought into to fortify the team.
And they can be found on the free agent market.
It’s easy to think that veterans who are still available have little value — but when looking at the number of talents who are still available, it’s easy to see how some could take the Giants to the next level.
Big Blue is certainly top heavy at cornerback, as Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Eli Apple figure to play a majority of the time at the position. But after that threesome, there is little depth — and that’s where Jason McCourty comes into play.
McCourty — a former captain and standout performer from the Tennessee Titans — was ousted from the organization due to a shift in player personnel and a disagreement on money. A former team captain and local product, he rebounded nicely from an injury-riddled 2015 campaign by registering the second-most tackles on the roster (69) while also hauling in two interceptions. McCourty can play both outside and in the slot and could slip into the role that Leon Hall played for the Giants last season.
Could he be more attracted to joining his twin brother Devin in New England? Maybe. Will another team throw a good portion of money at him? Possibly. But the Giants are in win-now mode and have an open position. McCourty could be a tremendous addition.
Speaking of secondary help, bringing in someone like Aaron Williams could be the definition of a high-risk, high-reward signing.
While McCourty has been healthy for a large majority of his career, Williams has struggled to stay on the field. A former premier safety for the Buffalo Bills, the 26-year-old played in just 10 games over the last two years due to neck injuries. But when suited up, Williams was a difference maker — the Bills allowed just 13.3 points per game when he was on the field as opposed to 27.6 when off of it.
Williams is three years removed from the best stretch of his career, one that had many considering him one of the best young safeties in the football. He also plays the same position as Landon Collins, the best defender the Giants have. But Williams could also be a tremendous reclamation project and his cover skills could make him an asset at free safety. He could be a tremendous insurance policy if Darian Thompson doesn’t pan out.
The additions of McCourty or Williams would just make the rich richer, as the Giants have a quality secondary as it is. The offensive line, however, is a completely different story.
But there’s help there’s help available, too.
The Cleveland Brows didn’t have much to smile about last season but the play of Austin Pasztor was one of the lone bright spots. The natural right tackle is as durable as they come — he’s just 26 but has started in 43 games — and is also versatile, as evidenced by his start in Week 17 at right guard.
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Pasztor may be looking for money that starters earn but if he hasn’t received that now it’s hard to imagine he ever will. His presence would add another element to the offensive line of the Giants, one that needs all the competition it can get. Would Pasztor improve their dreadful running game? Not necessarily, as Pro Football Focus gave him a 68.6 grade in that category. But he’s still a capable starter and would be an instant upgrade.
The running game could use an infusion of talent as well. Paul Perkins showed enough talent in his rookie year to warrant head coach Ben McAdoo to name him the starter but a change-of-pace back would benefit the Giants.
LeGarrette Blount has been linked to the team in recent weeks, and even though Gallman is now in town, the veteran could still be a fit. Blount may be on the wrong side of 30 while also having some off-field issues but his physical style of running will give the Giants a boost in goal line situations, an area that needs help. He’s someone who wants a ring over everything else, making him even more of a fit in New York.
And don’t forget about defensive tackle. Damon Harrison remains one of the top run-stuffers in football and, as mentioned above, Tomlinson appears to be filling in for Hankins. But outside of those two, only Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas are on the roster, leaving much to be desired.
That’s where Sen’Derrick Marks comes into play. Before injuries crept into the picture, he was considered one of the Jacksonville Jaguars best players, even being voted as the 76th best player heading into the 2015 season. He has yet to resemble the player he once was but Marks figures to be better than Bromley and Thomas. The Giants could rely on him to be a part-time starter as their second-round pick eases his way into the pros.
A lot of this has to do with monetary value. Each player could very well be out of the Giants’ price range — if, of course, they’re searching for a big payday over everything else.
But the organization is in a great position for a bidding war, as plenty of veterans prioritize winning over everything else.
And if that’s the case, Reese could fill out the rest of their roster with quality talent.