The Giants have acquired a new defensive lineman in Danny Shelton. He’ll head to East Rutherford on a one-year deal.
Big Blue needed a replacement for Dalvin Tomlinson — it’s working to accomplish that goal.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants have agreed to a one-year deal with defensive lineman Danny Shelton. It’s unclear at this moment in time the financial details of the contract.
Veteran free-agent defensive lineman Danny Shelton is signing a one-year deal with the Giants, per his agent @DrewJRosenhaus.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 29, 2021
While Shelton hasn’t found a consistent home in the NFL since going to Cleveland as a 2015 first-round draft pick, it’s clear there’s still a noteworthy amount of upside to his game. He’s a player who could consistently portray talent when residing in the correct system, and the expectation is that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be able to properly utilize him on the defensive line.
Given it’s a one-year deal that’s likely cheap, this is a low-risk signing that could potentially lead to a high reward. Shelton just needs to remain healthy though after missing four games with the Lions last season.
He also possesses a connection to head coach Joe Judge — the 27-year-old spent two seasons (2018-19) with the Patriots when Judge was New England’s special teams coordinator.
His best statistical season was with the Pats in 2019; Shelton recorded career-highs in both combined tackles (61) and sacks (three).
While Leonard Williams has the makings (and, at this point, the salary) of an every-down defensive lineman and pass rusher, Graham could utilize Shelton, Dexter Lawrence, and B.J. Hill as rotational/situational players, with Lawrence likely seeing the most number of reps out of the three given his talent.
Austin Johnson will additionally be in the mix after re-signing with the Giants this offseason.
Replacing Tomlinson is tough and it may take multiple players to get the job done, hence the moves to have Johnson and now Shelton on the roster to utilize the aforementioned rotation-based system. With Tomlinson, the Giants employed the tenth-best rushing defense in the NFL last year.
The front seven continuing to succeed as a whole will be important in 2021. That group must take pressure off the secondary even with the defensive backfield now being loaded with talent (Jabrill Peppers, James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, Adoree’ Jackson, etc.).