The New York Giants faced salary cap struggles as the 2022 NFL free agent period commenced. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll signed two veteran offensive linemen (after adding Matt Gono before free agency), former Texans’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and receiving tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.
Both linemen, former Colt Mark Glowinski and former Bill Jon Feliciano, have worked with Giants offensive line coach Bobby Johnson. I appreciate Schoen inexpensively addressing the offensive line while providing flexibility for the Giants not to pigeon-hole themselves in the draft.
New York must still address the offensive line but shouldn’t pass up better value on the board because of pressing priority; instead, they can wait and select value at the position as they feel fit. Glowinski is a solid starter, and Feliciano could be an adequate center who knows the offense, protection calls, and is functional.
The Giants aren’t done in free agency. There are still a lot of holes on the roster, and New York could still possibly add veteran players - to cheap deals - which would help round out the roster. Here are a number of affordable free agent options still available.
Boston Scott, RB
I’m serious. Scott is such a Giants killer that if you can’t stop him, add him. He’s densely built, runs very hard, and has produced when given an opportunity. Scott caught 66 of 76 career targets for 523 yards and a score.
He averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season (career average of 4.5 YPC) for 407 yards and eight touchdowns. He has 1,051 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career. His one fumble last season led to the loss against the Giants in Week 12 after scoring a touchdown and rushing for 64 yards.
With the departure of Devontae Booker, the Giants could use a veteran running back with a three-down skill-set. They will need said RB if star runner Saquon Barkley is traded before the season. The value of the contract would have to be low, but the 26-year-old makes sense.
Blake Bell, TE
Adding Ricky Seals-Jones shouldn’t preclude the Giants from pursuing another veteran tight end. Evan Engram left New York for Jacksonville, Kaden Smith was waived because of injury, and Kyle Rudolph was released. New York has a big need at tight end, despite the likely possibility of the team using a Day 2 pick on the position.
Bell spent two seasons with Mike Kafka in Kansas City - 2019 and 2021. He’s a solid overall blocker used in their 12 personnel package. He caught 10 of 12 targets for 90 yards in 2021. He has one career touchdown.
Sheldon Richardson, DL
Richardson was in my first article about this, and he’s still a free agent. His relationship, and the mutual respect he shares with current Giants’ defensive line coach Andre Patterson, make this an interesting possible signing.
Richardson ultimately may cost too much money. He’s coming off a 37-pressure, four-sack season and had 51 pressures and six sacks in 2020 with Cleveland. He has baggage in his past but plays good football.
The Giants lost Austin Johnson to the Chargers in free agency. They need a third defensive line presence behind Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. Richardson’s fit, familiarity, and production suggest he’d be an option at the correct cost.
Justin Houston, EDGE
I left Houston off the list in my original article because I wasn’t sure how much money he’d command. I’m still not entirely sure.
Nevertheless, he was productive in Baltimore last season for Martindale. He had 34 pressures, 4.5 sacks, six tackles for a loss, and played 645 snaps. He primarily rushed for Baltimore last year, and he could fulfill that same role while grooming the young talent of Azeez Ojualri, Quiny Roche, and whoever the Giants select at EDGE.
2021 Ravens’ linebackers
Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, Chris Board
I still believe the Giants should pursue one of Martindale’s former linebackers - Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, or Chris Board. All three know the system; Bynes had 58 tackles, 35 STOPS, six pressures, two sacks, and three passes defended. He allowed 24 catches on 32 targets for 226 yards. Bynes is an adequate all-around defender who could start. He’s a 6-foot-1, 235-pound 32-year-old who’s a cheap familiar option for the coaching staff.
Fort is also a 32-year-old defender, but he spent the last two seasons in Martindale’s system. He will be a quality rotational linebacker if he proves healthy after tearing his ACL late in training camp last season.
Chris Board is only 26 years old, and he played 337 snaps last season. He’s more raw than the two veterans but could be a solid, cheap option in the linebacker rotation.
Donte Jackson, CB
The former Carolina Panthers cornerback had an up-and-down first contract with the team. He was a second-round selection by Carolina in 2018, and has flashed in his young career. Still, 26 years old, there’s upside with Jackson.
He was always athletic and fluid enough to play man coverage. He’s shown really good man coverage reps throughout his career. The price for Jackson could be too much, but if he’s interested in a one-year prove-it deal, the Giants will improve their scheme with him as a third or fourth cornerback.
Jayron Kearse, S
Kearse is still available in free agency, and the Giants’ need for safety increased with the release of veteran Logan Ryan. Kearse is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and would be excellent in Big-Nickel and Dime packages as a coverage specialist on tight ends.
Like most free agents, the Giants could struggle to afford him; PFF projects around a $5-million a year salary which could price the Giants out. Either way, Kearse would be a fun addition, and an imposing presence, to Martindale’s scheme.
DeShon Elliott, S
Reuniting Martindale with Elliott could benefit both parties. Elliott is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and was a late-round selection by the Ravens in 2018. He was versatile for Baltimore, aligning all over the field.
He tore his biceps and pec against the Vikings last season, and the injury drove his value down. He could be an inexpensive, familiar way to replace Ryan. He’s not the same player, but he’s still maturing as a professional at only 24 years old.