The Giants could still target a free-agent safety to add depth to a defensive backfield that’s already loaded with talent.
“You can never have too many good players at one position.”
These words spoken by Giants general manager Dave Gettleman ring true, even when it comes to a defensive backfield that’s currently loaded ahead of the 2021 season.
The Giants made a number of moves both this offseason and last to enhance the talent level in the secondary. Now Pro Bowler James Bradberry, free-agent pickup Adoree’ Jackson, the versatile safety tandem of Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers, talented slot corner Darnay Holmes, and arguably the top safety of the 2020 draft, Xavier McKinney, are set to improve an already productive defense this year.
But depth is crucial on any NFL roster, especially in the secondary.
Despite the talent the organization already employs in this area, Gettleman and his staff could still target a free-agent safety who would be a situational defensive back or step up in the unfortunate event of an injury.
Who may the Giants look to acquire?
Malik Hooker is a former first-rounder (the Colts selected him at No. 15 overall in 2017) who can possibly still bring a significant skill set to the table. When healthy, he’s capable of portraying on-field physicality from the free safety spot, having racked up 51 combined tackles in 13 games for Indianapolis in 2019.
This type of versatility is something that could attract defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and head coach Joe Judge, both of whom preach that on-field quality.
Given he’s still on the market this late in the offseason and the fact he’s dealt with injury-related issues (including a season-ending torn Achilles in September 2020), the Giants could ink him to a cheap, prove-it deal ahead of the training camp and preseason periods.
Tre Boston possesses a prior connection to Gettleman. The current leader of the Giants front office selected Boston in the fourth round of the 2014 draft back when he was the general manager of the Panthers.
If Gettleman saw something in Boston then, there’s a chance he could still see some potential in him now.
Like Hooker, Boston is versatile — he racked up 95 combined tackles for Carolina last year after allowing opposing quarterbacks to combine for just a 74.9 passer rating when targeting him in 2019.
Boston can also stay healthy, having played in all 16 regular-season games each of the last two years.
Expect Tre to potentially be a bit more expensive than Hooker if either individual finds a team, but not to the point where it would make a significant dent in the Giants’ available cap space ($3.37 million).
And don’t forget, the team could always make moves to free up even more space.
Despite being on the wrong side of 30 years old, Kenny Vaccaro is a former first-round draft pick (No. 15 overall in 2013 at the hands of the Saints) and could still be a decent depth option.
He employs great physicality and recorded at least 80 total tackles in each of the last two seasons — including 83 in 13 games for Tennessee last year.
The increasing age would additionally make Vaccaro a cheap acquisition.
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