Joe Schoen
Syndication: The Record

The Giants and Jets needed to improve this offseason after combining for eight wins in 2021.

ESPN — like most of the rest of the world — believes they have. NFL analyst Bill Barnwell has the Giants’ offseason ranked No. 6 in the league with the Jets coming in at No. 7. But not without some second-guessing:

What [the Giants] could have done differently: [Evan] Neal profiled as a franchise left tackle prospect, but after Andrew Thomas took a step forward in his second season, Neal could end up playing right tackle instead. Teams need two great tackles in the modern NFL, but I wonder if the Giants could have drafted their pick of the class’ wideouts and then used the [Wan’Dale] Robinson selection to address the offensive line.

It’s an interesting idea but you must take into consideration how the Giants have wrongly used first-round picks in the past. Remember when Dave Gettleman used the No. 2 overall selection on a running back? And how four years later the team is still feeling the dreadful effects of that disastrous decision?

The Giants had a valuable No. 7 overall pick thanks to a 2021 draft-day trade with Chicago. Thus, they needed to use it on a valuable position such as offensive tackle. The receiver position carries value, don’t get me wrong. But the Giants at least have options in that room besides Robinson (Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, etc.). After Neal, the only legitimate right tackle option the Giants employ is Matt Peart, a 2020 bust coming off an ACL tear.

What [the Jets] could have done differently: [Braxton] Berrios is a competent slot receiver and was excellent on returns for the Jets in 2021, but the team had to realistically expect that it would draft a wide receiver early in the 2022 draft. (The Jets were also in the running for Tyreek Hill before he chose Miami.) With [Elijah] Moore and [Corey] Davis locked into roles, Berrios will make $7 million guaranteed to be this team’s fourth wide receiver and return man. That’s money the team could have put toward a more significant addition in the secondary or depth at edge rusher.

General manager Joe Douglas should’ve let Berrios walk in free agency and drafted someone in the later rounds who could develop into a legitimate return specialist. From a cost perspective, this would’ve been the more team-friendly move.

Because at the end of the day, Berrios is still only the fourth receiver on this team behind Davis, Moore, and rookie Garrett Wilson. And there’s always the possibility Denzel Mims formulates a career resurgence and finds an enhanced role during the year, which would potentially push Berrios further down the depth chart.

A $6 million average annual salary doesn’t meet the on-field expectations with Berrios — Douglas could’ve handled this situation differently.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.