The New York Giants did not land a top-tier offensive lineman Thursday on the first day of NFL free agency. Fans are up in arms. That is as expected. Still, it is March 10, the season is six months away (egads, that’s a long time!), there are plenty of useful players still on the free-agent market, and there will likely be others as time marches on.
Let’s look at 10 available offensive line options for the Giants.
We talked about Fluker when he was released by the Los Angeles Chargers (yes, Los Angeles Chargers sounds wrong!). He has never really lived up to his status as the 11th player taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, which is why he is now looking for a job. Still, he can play right guard and right tackle and has 59 games of starting experience. He will also only be 26 next season.
This is a player I was told before the signing period began that the Giants had interest in. He is 26, started all 16 games for the Cleveland Browns last season, and has experience at right tackle and both guard spots. After Cleveland’s Thursday spending spree that saw them extend the contract of Joel Bitonio and add offensive linemen J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler in free agency, there is no place in Cleveland for him.
He would give the Giants options, though, so there might be a place for him in New York.
Beachum, 28 next season, was a good enough left tackle for four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before suffering a torn ACL. He struggled in 2016 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. If the Giants believe Beachum can return to his pre-injury form, he could be an option. That, though, is a big if.
Clady, 31 in September, is an eight-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowl left tackle, all of those coming in seven seasons with the Denver Broncos. He has been injury-riddled the past few seasons, though. He played only nine games for the New York Jets last season.
Clady is not a guy you pay big money at this point. He might not even be a guy you automatically move Ereck Flowers for. He is likely an improvement over Will Beatty and Marshall Newhouse, though, and could at least provide the illusion that Flowers has left tackle competition. Maybe he is even willing to play the right side at this point in his career.
Of course Jerry has to be an option. Bringing Jerry, who will be 31 next season, back is not Plan A. The Giants would love a better run blocker at right guard. Jerry, though, is an adequate starter and bringing him back likely would not be costly.
Yes, bringing back another of the offensive linemen Giants fans love to hate has to be considered an option. He should not be a 16-game starter, we know that. He can play both tackle spots and guard in a pinch, though, and is a serviceable reserve.
The 33-year-old Vollmer was one of the game’s best right tackles before injuries struck, keeping him off the field last season and ending his time with the New England Patriots. If he’s healthy enough to play, and still wants to do so, he might be a guy you bring to camp and see if he still has anything left.
Harris, 28, missed all of the 2016 season with what is described as an undisclosed ailment. SB Nation’s Minnesota Vikings web site, The Daily Norseman, said Harris was “arguably their best offensive lineman in 2015.”
Harris has played right guard and both tackle spots in 48 NFL games, 33 of which were starts. If he is healthy enough to return to football, which I don’t know for certain, he could provide the Giants with options and competition. They need both.
Purely a right tackle, Watson is a 28-year-old 2013 second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders. He missed all of 2015 with a torn Achilles. His Pro Football Focus grade in 2016 was barely better than Bobby Hart’s, but this is a list of 10 and we need options. So do the Giants.
There is also a report that the Giants have expressed interest in Watson.
A five-year veteran who a full-time starter for the Carolina Panthers the past two seasons, Remmers is out of a job after Carolina signed Matt Kalil to a massive free agent contract.
Primarily a right tackle, he appears to be a better run blocker than pass blocker. Remmers has allowed 12.5 sacks during his two seasons as a starter. His PFF scores, though, are better than those of both Hart and Flowers. So, there is that.