clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NFL free agency: Four guards the New York Giants should consider

New, comments

Let's break down another position where the Giants might seek help in free agency.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Alex Boone (75)
Alex Boone (75)
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants need to add at least one starter, perhaps two, to their offensive line this offseason. Can they find that help on the free-agent market? Let's look specifically at the guard position to see who might be available for the Giants.

The top four

Kelechi Osemele

The versatile Baltimore Ravens' offensive lineman is the big fish among offensive linemen who could hit the open market. Some, in fact, believe Osemele to be the biggest fish in the entire free-agent pond.If Osemele, 27, leaves the Ravens he will have a long list of suitors. With nearly $60 million in cap space, it stands to reason that the Giants would be among them.

Osemele has been successful at both guard and tackle, with the Ravens, in fact, trying to entice him by saying he could be their left tackle in 2016. Osemele could end up as the highest paid guard in the league. Or, one of the highest-paid right tackles. Is he worth roughly $10 million annually to the Giants? If they signed him, would you rather see him at guard or at right tackle?

Jeff Allen

The 26-year-old four-year veteran has played some tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, has spent most of his time inside at guard. From our profile of Allen, here is what Arrowhead Pride editor Joel Thorman said about him:

"The Chiefs current regime has not shown a tendency to re-sign the offensive linemen left over from the previous regime. That could change with Jeff Allen but because of that many of us in Kansas City are expecting him to hit free agency. Allen is a multi-year starter for the Chiefs, who tried him out at right tackle before a 2014 preseason injury ended his season prematurely. After another early injury slowed his start in 2015, the Chiefs moved him back to left guard where he started eight games last season. Allen was arguably the difference maker on the Chiefs offensive line last season. They got better when he was in. Allen does not look like he can be a capable tackle but he's smart, competitive and ultimately gets the job done. His best position, I would say, is guard but he is capable of playing tackle."

At AP, Thorman also wrote of Allen that "someone is going to pay him well" and that "Someone is going to get a good offensive lineman."

Rotoworld ranks Allen No. 28 on its list of available free agents. Pro Football Focus ranks him No. 60 among its top 75 free agents. NFL.com does not list Allen among its top 99 free agents. I have only watched a little of Allen on film, but he does display a nastiness to finish blocks and the ability to get to the second level on running plays.

Brandon Brooks

Brooks, 27, has been a starter for the Houston Texans for the past three seasons. Brooks is seemingly thought of more highly than Allen, called "freakishly athletic" and ranked No. 8 overall among FAs by Rotoworld, ranked fourth among free-agent guards by PFF and ranked No. 61 overall by NFL.com. His best fit appears to be a team with a zone-blocking scheme, which would make him a candidate for the Giants.

Alex Boone

The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Boone is a player we have not yet discussed here at Big Blue View. A six-year veteran, Boone has been a starter for the San Francisco 49ers for the past four seasons. He played most of that time at right guard, moving to left guard this season.

Here is David Fucillo of SB Nation's Niners Nation breaking down Boone:

Strengths: He has been a strong guard for the 49ers, but when he has filled in for Joe Staley due to injury, he has been as good, and possibly better. My guess is he wants to play tackle somewhere, but either way, you get tremendous versatility with Boone. He's a behemoth of a man, and can have the kind of nasty in-game edge you want in your linemen. The 49ers primarily ran a lot of power, but began a switch to more zone blocking this past year. He was solid enough this year, but I can't say for certain how he might switch to a more regular usage of zone-blocking.

Weaknesses: While he has an edge on the field, there are times where I am not quite sure what to make of his attitude. After Jim Harbaugh left, Boone was interviewed in an HBO special and he mentioned how Harbaugh was a hard-ass, and while it worked initially, "after a while, you just want to kick his ass. . . . He just keeps pushing you, and you're like, ‘Dude, we got over the mountain. Stop. Let go.' He kind of wore out his welcome." - Considering the 49ers had lost Super Bowl 47, and lost a pair of NFC title games, that rubbed fans the wrong way to a certain degree. I don't think he's lazy or anything like that, but that has kind of stuck in my mind.

Spotrac's Calculated Market Value for Boone is three years, $7.9 million, roughly $2.66 million per years.

Others to consider

There are veteran stop-gaps players like Richie Incognito and Evan Mathis on the market. Both played well in 2015. Ramon Foster of the Pittsburgh Steelers is another recognizable name. Guys like Jahri Evans and Zane Beadles have recently been released, though I don't know if the Giants would or should have an interest in either.