It isn’t often that a player becomes available half-way through the pre-season and it makes ears around the league perk up.
That happened today when Ian Rapoport reported that the Cincinnati Bengals made the decision to release veteran safety George Iloka.
A stunner: The #Bengals are releasing starting safety George Iloka, per @MikeGarafolo and me. He’s started every game he’s played in since 2013. Purely a financial decision, but a 28-year-old safety hitting the market at this point is good news for interested teams.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 19, 2018
Iloka is relatively young at 28 years old and possesses rare size for the position at 6 feet, 4 inches and 225 pounds. He also has experience as both a strong safety and free safety, and has been productive for the Bengals — generally averaging 75 tackles and 7 passes defensed in a 16 game season.
The Giants’ secondary is a looming question mark as the the regular season approaches. The bigger questions are at the cornerback position, but adding talent to the secondary as a whole would help the defense. Even at the more-stable safety position, both potential starting free safeties, Curtis Riley and Darian Thompson, have missed time with injury recently.
From a schematic point of view, James Bettcher likes to rotate safeties to disguise coverages and the source of potential pressure. Iloka’s size could also make for creative alignments to help neutralize the passes to tight ends and running backs which have generated most of the offensive production against the Giants’ defense to date.
There is also the salary cap question. The Giants don’t have much room with which to work, and while creating space is possible, it could create problems for them down the road.
So, with all that in mind, should the Giants be interested in Iloka?