One of the biggest decisions facing head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman is whether or not to re-sign one of their biggest free agents, Justin Pugh.
Taken by the New York Giants in the first round—19th overall—out of Syracuse in the 2013 NFL Draft, 27-year-old Justin Pugh has been the team’s most consistent offensive lineman throughout his tenure with Big Blue.
He’s also been the team’s most versatile lineman playing both guard positions and occasionally right tackle.
Having a quality, versatile lineman that’s in the prime of his career is a huge benefit for a franchise. It gives them flexibility knowing that they can plug in a player at multiple positions in case of injuries to other linemen.
However, the only negative surrounding Pugh is his inability to stay on the field over the last two seasons. In 2016 he missed five games due to a knee injury, and last season he missed the final seven games of the season with a back injury.
All signs point to him being medically cleared to begin training next month without any limitations as he prepares to test the free agent market.
Earlier this month he talked about being a free agent.
“I’m looking forward to getting to it and it’s an exciting time. This is the first time I’ll ever get to choose where I play and the situation that I’m in. Obviously, I’ve grown up in New York. I want to be in New York. But, we’ll see what happens.”
Pugh may want to be in New York, but other teams that are need of a good offensive lineman, such as the Seattle Seahawks, will not only have an interest in Pugh but will be willing to pay top dollar and outbid the Giants.
According to Spotrac, it’s estimated that the Giants will have just over $22 million in cap space.
As much as the Giants and Pugh like each other and are a good fit, Big Blue might be unable to bring him back unless he’s willing to give them a hometown discount. As versatile as he is the Giants cannot overpay for a lineman that’s been injury prone over the last two seasons.