giants free agency day 1 dalvin tomlinson devontae booker
Syndication: The Record

What moves did the Giants make on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period? Did they improve the roster at all?

Monday unofficially commenced the 2021 NFL free agency period. At 12:00 p.m. ET that day, teams were allowed to start “legally tampering,” which means they could come to an agreement on new contracts with pending free agents. Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET officially begins the free agency period, when teams can actually sign new players to contracts.

So how did free agency day one go for the Giants?

Well, not so great.

Dalvin Tomlinson heads to Minnesota

Re-signing both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson wasn’t going to be easy, and as some expected, the Giants missed out on bringing the latter back on a new deal. On Monday night, Tomlinson reportedly agreed to a two-year, $22 million contract to join the Minnesota Vikings.

Cap space was limited, and the Giants seemingly favored the retainment of Williams.

You sort of sensed Tomlinson wasn’t returning when the Giants re-signed backup defensive tackle Austin Johnson to a one-year deal earlier on Monday. Johnson racked up just 18 combined tackles last year and didn’t start a single game for Big Blue.

This was essentially a poor planning job by the organization. It’s not as if Tomlinson suddenly had a breakout season in a contract year; he’s been a valuable piece of this defense across numerous coaching regimes — with Pat Shurmur/James Bettcher along with Joe Judge/Patrick Graham.

The Giants should’ve extended his contract last year when they had the chance instead of waiting and providing themselves with a shorter timeframe to get a deal done. Because of that, they’ve lost a valuable defensive lineman who could’ve thrived in East Rutherford for years.

Devontae Booker?

The Giants’ first free-agent signing of the offseason…was running back Devontae Booker?

Yes, it’s a head-scratcher. The Giants entered the free agency period needing to re-sign a number of guys as well as look for a new No. 1 wide receiver and potentially an edge rusher.

And the first move they make: agreeing to terms with a backup running back on a two-year deal worth up to $6 million.

Saquon Barkley is expected to carry a significant load next year, just like he always has when healthy. Since that’s the case, the Giants don’t need to prioritize the depth at that position right now.

Re-signing Alfred Morris (who will be more affordable than Wayne Gallman) to another cheap short-term deal and then building on the depth via the draft could’ve been the maneuver here.

Just a strange move by general manager Dave Gettleman. A number of responsibilities when it comes to the free agency period, and the first obligation apparently was to sign a backup running back that won’t bring much value to the team to a multi-year deal.

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