The Giants were active to start in free agency and surprised some in the league with their willingness to spend a lot of money.
But when players like Kenny Golladay and Adoree ‘Jackson became available, both young players in the prime of their careers, those were prospects hard to resist for Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge and company.
In all, the Giants have added nine new players through free agency.
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We rate every move, plus two key renovations the Giants made to team players last year:
EDGE Ryan Anderson
Deal: One year, $ 1,127 million
Thoughts: The Giants have clearly resorted to scraping the bargain bin for pass rushers, and that’s exactly what they did here, hoping to bring in a talented young player (Anderson is 26) who hasn’t lived up to his draft position (second round, 2017) in the NFL. At the end of his tenure, Anderson was primarily a special teams player and ultimately he’s a demotion from Kyler Fackrell … but he’s cheaper. He showed some promise in 2019, getting four sacks and five forced fumbles. Plus, the Giants have ties to Alabama’s Anderson (senior defensive assistant Jeremy Pruitt was their defensive coordinator), which likely contributed to that.
Since he’s the only lead rider (Ifeadi Odenigbo is more of a lineman) they’ve added, that hurts qualifying a bit, even if Anderson only had minimal cost. If the Giants add someone who can be expected to have a greater impact, then this addition becomes a bit more intriguing.
Qualification: C +
CB Adoree ‘Jackson
Deal: Three years, $ 39 million
Thoughts: The Giants weren’t expecting Jackson to be available, which could have adjusted their plans in free agency. He is a 25-year-old with an elite athletic level and a high ceiling who has Many ties to the Giants, most notably safety Logan Ryan, his mentor. He comes from a season in which a knee injury cost him all but three games (four counting the playoffs), but the Giants believe in his talent. They had a huge hole in CB2 and he fills it up.
They also paid a high price for bringing it. His salary places him among the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL, along with All-Pro Stephon Gilmore in terms of APY. It’s not a risk-free move, but it’s hard to blame the Giants for doing it.
Qualification: B (Light hit for the contract. B + / A- for getting the player.)
WR Kenny Golladay
Deal: Four years, $ 72 million
Thoughts: Call Golladay overpaid if you wish. Act as if the giants are pushing against themselves. (They weren’t. Ask the Bears). But at the end of the day, the Giants’ greatest need was the wide receiver, and they went out and got the best receiver available. They did their due diligence. When he’s healthy, he wasn’t healthy last year but he seems to be now, he has the talent of one of the top 10 wide receivers in the NFL. No wide receiver scored more touchdowns than he did in 2019 (11) when he was a Pro Bowler, and he also led the league in disputed receiving yards and catches made on throws over 20 yards downfield.
He is 27 years old and can grow up with Daniel Jones. This was a move they have to make, and they have the future financial flexibility that paying you as much as they do won’t look too bad for years to come as the salary cap goes up … unless it’s a disaster, of course. But assuming that will happen is an exaggeration.
This is not Nate Solder or Golden Tate.
It could be Plaxico Burress.
Qualification: B +
LB Reggie Ragland
Deal: Veterans one-year salary benefit ($ 987,000 limit likely to be reached)
Thoughts: A smart Giants signing, at minimal cost (literally) and a player who should legitimately help defense next season. Ragland will be at least an improvement over David Mayo and Devante Downs, who were the best backups at inside linebacker last season and struggled when they were given too many plays. Ragland is good enough to split a few plays alongside Blake Martinez with up-and-coming sophomore Tae Crowder.
Even if Ragland isn’t great at coverage, he’s a sure tackler. Quality addition for depth without breaking the bank.
TE Kyle Rudolph
Agreement: two years, $ 14 million
Thoughts: My initial reaction to this signing was a bit harsh, true, but there are definitely positives and negatives to this addition. That crystallized after Rudolph’s foot injury from last season (he missed four games at the end of the year for the Vikings) was found to last into the offseason and will require surgery. Then there are the health issues, plus the fact that Rudolph is getting old (31), his production is down and he’s a bit slow compared to other Giants weapons. He only scored a touchdown last season despite Kirk Cousins throwing 35.
However, the positives may outweigh the negatives in the end. Rudolph is a great tight end (6-6, 265), quality blocker, sure receiver, red zone threat, and respected leader. In many ways, he’s an improvement over Evan Engram, even if he’s less dynamic.
Ultimately, Rudolph will be a useful tool for Daniel Jones, who is ultimately the most important thing.
QB Mike Glennon
Deal: One year, $ 1.35 million
Thoughts: He’s an improvement over Colt McCoy at quarterback, though it’s still surprising the Giants haven’t chosen to bring him back. McCoy was a valuable presence in the locker room and as a mentor to Jones. But Glennon has a much stronger arm and was not entirely terrible in five starts for the Jaguars last year. They went 0-5, but he had seven touchdowns, just four fewer than Jones in 14 games, and he completed eight passes of more than 20 yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Giants got a better player at a cheaper price than they paid McCoy in 2020. Not bad.
Qualification: B +
OF Ifeadi Odenigbo
Deal: One year, $ 2.5 million
Thoughts: This is the kind of smart contract the Giants weren’t making until Joe Judge entered the fold last year. Odenigbo is a young player (26), in a position of need (defensive end) who has shown flashes of potential in the past (seven sacks in 2019). It is a basically risk-free lottery ticket.
The Giants rely on defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and defensive line coach Sean Spencer’s ability to get the most out of their defensive linemen, so there’s no reason to think they won’t work their magic on Odenigbo as well.
DL Leonard Williams
Deal: Three years, $ 63 million
Thoughts: Rating this is difficult. For one thing, Williams might be the Giants’ most important defensive player, especially after an 11.5-sack season, and they couldn’t afford to lose him. The Giants have had a habit of letting talented young players leave in free agency, but they didn’t do it here. It’s expensive, but relative to its position and production, it could have been worse than $ 21 million. Also, more importantly, the Giants will not enter the season with Williams playing at the franchise tag again and, in turn, reduced his capitalization hit from $ 19.3 million to just $ 11 million.
On the downside … the Giants had almost no influence in their negotiations with Williams due to the way they acquired him and everything that happened after that.
Gettleman traded two draft picks for Williams in 2019, when the Giants had no chance of making the playoffs and was ready to become a free agent. When he only got a half sack that season, they were still forced to label him a franchise to avoid losing him. So he made $ 16.1 million after a half-catch season, when he probably would have signed cheaper outright as a free agent.
Then he left and had 11.5 sacks, making it impossible to sign him for less than the $ 19.3 million tag.
In the end, however, they got a pivotal player and kept it, which is worth celebrating.
WR John Ross
Deal: One year, $ 2.25 million
Thoughts: Another movement like Odenigbo’s. There is no risk of signing Ross, who could be one of the fastest players in the NFL. He was selected 10th in the 2017 draft after a 4.22-second 40-yard performance on the combine. He’s been a disappointment ever since (51 receptions, 733 yards, 10 touchdowns in four years) and struggles with knockdowns, but the talent is there and his speed can’t be taught.
If it works, the Giants look like geniuses. If not, no one will blame them for trying.
RB Devontae Booker
Agreement: two years, $ 6 million
Thoughts: The problem with this settlement is more about process and cost than an indictment against the player. The Giants, on the first day of free agency, came out and more than doubled the salary of a player who has run 432 combined yards in the past two years. They launched into a backup running back, when the free agent market is often flooded with capable players of Booker’s caliber (if not better) in the offseason. (Mike Davis signed a nearly identical contract nearly a week later … and had over 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns in 2020).
They just didn’t have to sign Booker, who turns 29 in May, so quickly, nor should they have.
As for Booker himself: It’s probably a downgrade as a running back from young Wayne Gallman, who stood out last year, but he’s an improvement as a receiver. He had 99 catches in the first three years of his career with the Broncos. Booker also has extensive special teams experience, both as a returner and in coverage.
DT Austin Johnson
Deal: One year, $ 3 million
Thoughts: Again, the Giants probably overpaid for a backup, but once they learned that Dalvin Tomlinson would not return, it became clear that if Johnson returned, he would play a bigger role as nose tackle in 2021. He played 21% of the match. defensive plays in 2020, a number that should grow quite a bit this year unless the Giants invest in another defensive lineman through free agency or the draft.
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