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Giants 2022 free agency: DE Jihad Ward signs with New York

Wink Martindale gets a defensive lineman he is familiar with

Wild Card Round - Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans
Jihad Ward with the Ravens.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Wink Martindale and the New York Giants defense are finally on the 2022 NFL free agency scoreboard. The Giants on Monday signed well-traveled defensive end Jihad Ward.

Ward is the first defensive free agent signed by the Giants, other than bringing back defensive back Jarren Williams. The Giants have signed offensive linemen Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, Jamil Douglas and Matt Gono, running back Matt Breida, wide receiver Robert Foster, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones since free agency began.

Ward was a second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2016. He has also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ward played 21 games for the Ravens, with Martindale as his defensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021. He had four sacks and 12 quarterback hits during that time.

Ward, 6-foot-5, 287 pounds, has 10 sacks in 68 career games. He called Martindale “a great coach” who “did a helluva job” with him in Baltimore. He added that that Martindale will help him “be the best that I could be.”

The Giants lost defensive lineman Austin Johnson to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams and 2021 undrafted free agent Raymond Johnson III were the only experienced defensive linemen on the roster before the signing of Ward.

The signings of Breida and Ward on Monday helps explain the necessity of the Giants re-structuring the contract of placekicker Graham Gano to create some space.