Justin Pugh, who was the New York Giants first-round pick in 2013, has signed a five-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals per sources.
He’s now a former Giants player as according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Pugh has signed on with the Arizona Cardinals for five years.
Former Giants’ OL Justin Pugh reached agreement on deal with the Arizona Cardinals, per team source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2018
In his first three seasons with the Giants, he showed he was durable playing in 44 out of a possible 48 games. But over the last two seasons, he missed a combined 13 games due to knee and back injuries, the latter some thought could be a chronic condition.
Prior to his injuries, some felt that he was on the verge of becoming a Pro-Bowl caliber lineman.
Despite the recent injury concerns, Pugh was a hot commodity in the free agent market since there were a limited number of talented offensive linemen available. Two days ago, Pro Football Focus had Pugh ranked as the third best free agent available.
The Giants knew losing Pugh was a possibility which is one of the reasons they signed former Jacksonville Jaguar guard Patrick Omameh to a three-year deal this week.
Despite acquiring Omameh, losing a player as versatile as Pugh leaves a huge void for the Giants, who will need to put an emphasis on getting another guard.
They will likely try to bring back D.J. Fluker who started six games last year, and who has drawn interest from the Seattle Seahawks. They can look to use their second pick in the draft and take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson who is considered the best lineman in this year’s draft.
If the Giants are unable to bring back Fluker, expect general manager Dave Gettleman to acquire another lineman via free agency or trade.