The New York Giants were one of the most active teams in the entire NFL over the course of the 2021 off season.
The Giants were, frankly, surprisingly and stunningly active given their tight (to say the least) salary cap situation and penchant for letting other teams provide excitement in the draft.
While most of their moves were on the defensive side of the ball, some of their biggest and most valuable moves are for the offense. In particular, the Giants made a number of significant investments to add skill position players around quarterback Daniel Jones.
The Giants did enough over the course of the off-season that NFL.com’s Judy Battista included them in her list of teams who “did right by” their quarterbacks.
In the lead to her piece, Battista writes, “It’s time to applaud teams that have made it Christmas in June for the most important guys in the building, that made the talent investments that should enhance their signal-callers’ chances of success in 2021. These teams followed through on the most important philosophy of roster construction: build around the quarterback.”
Let’s see what Battista had to say about the Giants.
New York Giants
In Daniel Jones’ first two seasons, his weapons were, at best, mediocre and it showed — the Giants were 31st in scoring last season, ahead of only the Jets. Giants receivers ranked in the bottom 10 in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2020. That should not happen again. The Giants dove into free agency by signing receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph and used their first-round draft pick on receiver Kadarius Toney, giving Jones — one of the most efficient deep ball passers in the game last season — the explosive weapons he has craved. The Giants believe their offensive line — a source of concern in recent years — is settled. If that’s true, we should see a much more productive offense.
At least on paper, the Giants did just about everything they reasonably could to add pieces around Daniel Jones. They were over the 2021 salary cap yet did what they had to in order to bring in coveted receiver Kenny Golladay. The Giants were strongly rumored to be enamored by Jaylen Waddle leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, and got the closest player to him they could in skill set in Kadarius Toney.
We’ll set Kyle Rudolph off to the side for the time being, as he’s still rehabbing his foot injury and saw his share of the Vikings’ offense drop dramatically over the past three seasons. It’s certainly possible that he could still be a productive piece for the offense if his share is restored to what it was for the Vikings back in 2018. But he needs to get healthy and on the field for us to make a fair evaluation.
Of course, the game isn’t being played on paper.
There have been years in which we’ve been ecstatic with hope for the offense entering the season. In 2014, the Giants fans were giddy with the possibility of Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, a rookie Odell Beckham Jr, and a returning David Wilson in a fresh, new offense set to play to their strengths. In 2018, we were even more excited for the combination of Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and a rookie Saquon Barkley under Pat Shurmur, who was coming off of a great season calling the Vikings’ offense.
Neither of those teams made good on the promise of their offseason.
While some (*cough*PFF*cough*) have questions regarding just how “settled” the Giants’ offensive line truly is, the Giants’ coaches have the opportunity to prove themselves right there. Likewise, the Giants need Golladay to be the player they are paying him to be — the player he was in 2019, if not better — and for Toney to continue the development he showed over the course of his senior year. They need Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Kyle Rudolph to stay healthy and on the field.
That everything comes up “Giants” isn’t a given, but if even most of those things break the Giants’ way, the pieces are there for their offense to take strides and carry its weight in 2021.
But most of all the Giants need Jones to take advantage of the pieces they put around him.