Golden Tate
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Giants were busy this offseason acquiring veteran talent, three of whom will go a long way in determining their success in 2019.

Jason Leach

After going 5-11 in the first season of the Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman regime, the New York Giants needed to make some changes.

What better way to change the makeup of the team than bringing in veteran players who have shown they can play at a high level?

The Giants made several acquisitions in the offseason, but three key players they acquired in the offseason (Golden Tate, Kevin Zeitler and Antoine Bethea) will play pivotal roles in the team’s success this season.

Golden Tate

Although he wasn’t one of the components in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, people will compare what Tate does with the Giants to what OBJ does with the Browns this season.

The Giants signed Tate in the offseason to a four-year deal in March. In his nine-year career, he’s caught 611 passes for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

Tate, who turns 31in August, won’t make highlight-reel plays that Beckham made or put up gaudy stats. He’s also not considered one of the best receivers in the league, but Tate is a crisp and disciplined route runner, and is also excellent downfield blocker. His physicality fits what Pat Shurmur wants in his offense.

Last season with the Lions and Eagles he caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns. In the Giants’ offense this season they may not have a quote on quote go-to receiver, but they need for Tate to be a reliable target for Eli Manning, especially on third downs.  If he can do that, then the Giants stand a good chance of having more team success than they had with Beckham.

Kevin Zeitler

The Giants offensive line woes have been a major issue the last several seasons. That’s why Giants fans were elated when the Giants acquired right guard Kevin Zeitler in a trade with the Cleveland Browns for Olivier Vernon.

The 29-year-old Zeitler was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the best pass blocking guard in 2018 with a grade of 91.7.

The addition of Zeitler will help Eli Manning feel secure in the pocket in his 16th season, and will also help build confidence for Daniel Jones when he takes over the reins from Manning.

But as great of a pass-blocker Zeitler is, the Giants need for him to be just as efficient in run blocking.

The running game will be the emphasis of the Giants offensive attack and if Zeitler can show that he’s also an excellent run blocker, Saquon Barkley stands a good chance of winning the rushing title.

Antoine Bethea

After Curtis Riley’s disastrous 2018 season, it was crystal clear that the Giants had to address the free safety position. Enter Antoine Bethea, who the Giants signed to a two-year contract in the offseason.

In his 13 seasons in the league, Bethea has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and was a member of the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl 41 team. His knowledge and experience will be invaluable to a Giants secondary that has several players in either their first or second year in the league.

Despite leading the Arizona Cardinals in tackles last season with 121, some are concerned that Father Time may catch up with Bethea sooner than later.

Bethea turns 35 in July and is confident that he still has a lot left in his tank and he spoke about this last week.

“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “If I didn’t think I could play, I wouldn’t be here. I’m not here to prove anyone wrong. I’m going to come out here and play the game like I’ve been playing for 13, 14 years.”

If Bethea can play at the same level as he did a season ago, the Giants secondary will be vastly improved than there were in 2018.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.