With the franchise tag window officially closed, attention around the NFL shifts to free agency, which begins on March 17 at 4 p.m.
According to a simulated free agency by ESPN, the Giants do not sign Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay, but instead sign Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree. Let’s break down the analysis, beginning with Golladay.
The Pro Bowler has recorded 183 receptions for 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Lions. He only played five games last season due to a nagging ankle injury. But in 2019, Golladay had a standout year, recording more than 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
Per ESPN’s reporters, three teams would make offers to Golladay: the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Giants. The Colts would offer three years, $60 million with $28 million guaranteed. The Patriots’ offer is five years, $105 million with $50 million guaranteed. The Giants’ offer would be four years, $60 million with $30 million guaranteed.
In this scenario, it is understandable that Golladay choose New England. The Giants made an offer that reflects the play of a receiver who has shown he can be very good, but who’s performance dipped last season due to an injury. New York is in dire need of improving its receiving corps after fielding one of the worst offense’s in the league last season but in this scenario the Giants will have to find their depth elsewhere.
Moving on to Dupree. The edge rusher has spent his entire six-year career with the Steelers., recording 231 total tackles, including 169 solo and 54 tackles for loss. Dupree also suffered from injury complications last year when he tore his ACL in Week 12, missing the rest of the season. He recorded 31 tackles, including 23 solo, eight tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits in the 11 games he played.
ESPN has three teams making an offer to Dupree: the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Giants. The Browns would offer one-year, $10.5 million with $10 million guaranteed, $1 million incentive for 10-plus sacks and $125,000 per game one the active roster. The Eagles’ offer is for three years, $33 million with $18 million guaranteed. The Giants’ offer includes four years, $64 million with $42 million guaranteed with some guarantees running into year three.
While the Browns make a compelling case by giving Dupree somewhere to play for a year before testing what would likely be a much more lucrative free agent market, the Giants’ offer of guaranteed money (especially running into year three) is particularly compelling for someone coming off a major injury.
The Giants announced this week that they will be placing the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, but they are still in need of more depth at the edge rusher position. They ended the 2020 season with third-year linebacker Oshane Ximines, who spent the last 13 weeks of the season in IR with a shoulder injury, and fourth-year linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 5.
The combination of Williams and Dupree could be the start of turning the Giants’ linebacker corps around, which would help strengthen Patrick Graham’s promising defense.