Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Carter
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

How New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman feels about the young core will determine how he will approach free agency.

Jason Leach

We’re a month away from the start of NFL free agency and the New York Giants are expected to be major players in free agency. In fact, it’s estimated they’ll have at least $61.9 million in cap space.

One area the Giants will definitely look to upgrade is the offensive line, as last year’s right tackle, Mike Remmers, is a free agent, and Dave Gettleman wants to put a strong offensive line in front of Daniel Jones to help him take big strides in year two.

The other areas the Giants will look to upgrade will be based on Gettleman’s assessment of the young core of players the Giants have drafted over the past several seasons.

The following is a look at four questions on the Giants’ young core that will determine which direction Gettleman will go in free agency.

1. Are Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines ready to be the two Giants edge rushers?

As of right now, we don’t know if the Giants plan on playing a 3-4 or 4-3 defense this coming season. But barring players given the franchise tag, there are several talented free agent edge rushers available (Jadeveon Clowney, Shaquil Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue and Markus Golden, who led the Giants in sacks last season with 10).

The Giants have two young edge rushers on their roster, in Lorenzo Carter, who Gettleman drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft (66th overall), and Oshane Ximines (95th overall), who was taken in the third round of last year’s draft.

When you draft a player in the third round, you expect them to become an eventual starter. However considering Carter and Ximines each had four-and-a-half sacks last year, Gettleman will look to acquire one of the top free-agent pass rushers that the Giants are in dire need of as an organization.

2. Is Leonard Williams worth $14-16 million annually?

The biggest question looming over the Giants heading into free agency is whether or not they’ll re-sign Leonard Williams. When Gettleman traded a third-round 2020 draft pick and a conditional fifth-round 2021 pick in late October for the 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams, it shocked both fans and media members.

Another run-stopping defensive lineman seemed didn’t seem necessary for the Giants, since they already had the Dalvin Tomlinson, who’s 6-foot-3, 318 pounds, to go along with B.J. Hill, who’s 6-foot-3, 311 pounds, and rookie Dexter Lawrence, who stands at 6-foot-4, 342 pounds.

In his eight games with the Giants, Williams was solid against the run. All told, he registered 26 tackles and half a sack. Those are decent numbers, but it’s been rumored that Williams and his agent will seek a contract that will pay him $14-16 million annually.

If Gettleman elects to re-sign Williams, the 2021 conditional fifth-round pick will turn into a fourth-round pick. Or Gettleman can let Williams walk if he feels confident moving forward with Tomlinson, Hill and Lawrence. We should find out early on in free agency what Gettleman decides.

3. Are the Giants young corners ready to take the next step?

As of right now, all cornerbacks currently on the Giants roster (Deandre Baker, Corey Ballentine, Sam Beal, Grant Haley and Julian Love) all have less than three years of playing experience.

The Giants’ young corners have potential and showed improvement towards the end of last season. But helping a pass defense that finished 28th last season has to be on top of the offseason list.

Cornerbacks are one of the deepest positions in free agency with corners such as Byron Jones, Chris Harris Jr., Logan Ryan and Trae Waynes. It may behoove Gettleman to sign one of the top free agents to a two-year deal and help mentor the young corners, rather than take a chance in thinking all of his young corners are ready for a bigger role in 2020.

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