The Giants brought in veteran interior offensive lineman Zach Fulton this offseason. He was to provide crucial depth.
Yes, another retirement.
First, it was wide receiver-turned-tight end Kelvin Benjamin following his dispute with Joe Judge. Then, it was linebacker Todd Davis (Tuesday) and interior offensive lineman Joe Looney (Wednesday) just days after the Giants signed either.
Now we add interior offensive lineman Zach Fulton to the mix.
Tom Rock of Newsday reports Fulton has decided to call it quits after the Giants signed him to a one-year deal this past offseason. Fulton started all 16 games for the Houston Texans last year and was going to provide depth at guard behind projected starters Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez.
Giants are going to run out of gold watches. Another vet has retired. This time it’s OL Zach Fulton, who informed the team of his decision last night. Fulton joins Todd Davis, Joe Looney and Kelvin Benjamin as guys who have hung ‘em up so far this training camp.
— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 6, 2021
Joe Judge spoke on the retirements of both Davis and Looney Thursday, revealing “family situations” played a role in either’s decision to walk away.
“These are tough decisions on guys. As you get vets later in their career, they started training camp, it’s not uncommon for this to happen,” the second-year head coach told the media. “Now, you don’t want it to happen, but you have to respect the decision each person makes for their family. I’d say in both these cases [with Davis and Looney], not to speak for the players, but both of them had family situations that they had to attend to, and that was a large part of the decision. I think both guys could’ve helped us. We left the door open for both guys based on what may open up in the future. If they change their mind and something goes, but they made the strongest impression, personality-wise, mentally in the meetings, and on the field, both guys did show enough improvement. I mean, the time was short, but we knew them both from being vets in the league. We respect them both. To be honest, we’d like to have the option to keep coaching both. But we respect their decision and are wishing the best going forward to their families.”
Per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, Judge is also allowing Fulton to return if things change.
Joe Judge said today he's left the door open for OL Zach Fulton to return if he changes his mind on retiring — just like he did with C Joe Looney and LB Todd Lewis. https://t.co/ss0ETYXmQj
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) August 6, 2021
The Giants are now very thin when it comes to the interior of the offensive line following the retirements of two of their projected reserves.
Kenny Wiggins has worked at guard and Jonotthan Harrison is additionally a depth option. The Giants also have Brett Heggie, Jake Burton, Chad Slade, and Kyle Murphy on the roster.
The organization should likely make a move to acquire another body via free agency, especially considering an injury (Shane Lemieux’s knee) just occurred last week.