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Giants free agency rumors: Interest in TE Anthony Fasano makes sense

Veteran is one of the game’s best blocking tight ends

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans
Anthony Fasano
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

One of the NFL free agency rumors that flashed by on Tuesday afternoon was that the New York Giants have expressed “some initial interest” in veteran blocking tight end Anthony Fasano.

If that “initial interest” were to turn into a signing some time after 4 p.m. ET on Thursday it would be a nice get. And perhaps typical of what we might expect from the Giants in this free agency period.

It has been said before, but the Giants don’t have the cap space to go on a free-agent splurge like they did a year ago. Instead, focusing on low-cost players who fill specific roles or offer them flexibility might be the approach they need to take.

Fasano, 33, next season, is perhaps the NFL’s best run-blocking tight end. He was graded as such by Pro Football Focus in 2016.

Anyone who paid attention knows that one of the reasons the Giants’ run game struggled was because of the lack of competent blocking from Larry Donnell, Will Tye and Jerell Adams. Earlier this offseason, we discussed the possibility of Fasano to the Giants.

The Giants believe Adams, a good blocker as a collegiate player, can develop in that role. Fasano, an 11-year veteran who is a Glen Ridge, N.J. native, would give the Giants a player who can fill that role while allowing Adams to continue learning.

ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan reported earlier Tuesday that the Giants were “monitoring” the top of the tight end market. Let’s be real, though. At the prices that are being bandied about in various reports ($9 million annually for Martellus Bennett, $7 million annually for Jack Doyle) that is a neighborhood in which the Giants simply cannot play. After tendering defensive end Kerry Wynn, the Giants have a bit more than $13 million in cap space. They can’t spend more than half of that on a tight end.

UPDATE: Jack Doyle is staying in Indianapolis.

Fasano, with only eight receptions last season, wouldn’t be expensive. He would also give the Giants the ability to select one of the many pass-catching tight ends (David Njoku, Bucky Hodges, Evan Engram, Gerald Everett, Eric Saubert, etc.) in the 2017 NFL Draft class without worrying about the blocking inadequacies of those players.

What a Fasano signing would mean for the playing time of Adams and the futures of guys like Will Tye, Matt LaCosse and Will Johnson is uncertain. It is, however, another indication that the Giants are serious about improving their running game.