The list only consists of 22 names. The Giants must shed cap to afford many of the free agents on the list. Joe Schoen’s plan to discard $40 million commenced a few days ago when the Giants released tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker.
More moves are coming for the new Giants regime. There are many holes on the roster, and the draft will address some of the issues, but the Giants may attempt to replenish some of these holes in free agency. If that is the course of action, here are some names (on the ESPN list) that could be of interest if the Giants can financially swing it.
Players to consider
Calais Campbell, DL
The talented veteran will be 36 years old at the start of the season. He’s coming off a 31-pressure, one-sack season with 24 STOPS. The pressures were up from the previous year, but the sacks were down; however, the pressures were significantly less than in 2019 when Campbell was a member of the Jaguars.
Campbell makes sense. He’s getting older and shouldn’t command a huge contract. He has two years of experience in Wink Martindale’s system, and he is a consummate professional with elite intangibles. Campbell could be a “role player” behind Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.
The defensive line could use a player like Campbell at a lower cost. Not just from a leadership/experience standpoint, but also because the Giants could be losing Austin Johnson and Danny Shelton - the former had a good role with the team, whereas the latter was a disappointment.
Bradley Bozeman, IOL
Another Baltimore Raven makes the list. Bozeman has played significant snaps at the center and left guard position through his NFL career, with 26 snaps at right guard. ESPN listed him as the overrated player with a preface that he’s the least overrated on the list.
The underrated interior offensive linemen was Dallas’ Connor Williams. I’ve seen enough of Williams losing badly to Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence over the years to be skeptical of that addition.
However, Bozeman was a solid interior offensive lineman for the Ravens. He’s not the most athletic, but he’s an intelligent player who is a solid overall pass protector. He allowed 21 pressures and three sacks in 2021.
New York may not be in a position to add Bozeman if they can’t contractually make it work, but everyone can agree that the Giants desperately need help on their offensive line. I wouldn’t overpay - because the Giants can’t afford it - but adding a player like Bozeman at the right price isn’t a terrible move.
Marcus Mariota, QB
A byproduct to Daniel Jones’ unfortunate propensity to get injured must be the Giants’ serious investment at the backup quarterback position. Alas, we witnessed the 2021 season post Jones’ neck injury.
The team fell apart, and it was the most unwatchable offensive football I’ve seen. Schoen comes from Buffalo, a team that invested a cheap contract in Mitchell Trubisky last off-season. Trubisky was the “overrated” free agent in the ESPN article, and Mariota is the “underrated.”
I would undoubtedly consider Trubisky a backup to Jones, but rumors are circulating about a possible “big pay-day.” New York may not be able to invest large sums of money into the position, albeit Schoen seems to understand the extreme value in a solid backup quarterback.
Mariota will be 28 years old. He has a similar athletic profile to Daniel Jones, and he’s good enough to competently start if anything were to happen to Jones. If New York could figure out how to reasonably land Mariota, then they should pursue him.
Players to avoid
Connor Williams, OG
The Dallas guard will hit free agency at a young age - he’ll be 25 years old when the season starts. Williams isn’t a terrible player, but he does struggle with power, and he’s undisciplined with his hands - he led the league with 17 penalties in 2021.
The Giants need to find offensive line help. Williams is the underrated interior offensive lineman in the article, but spending up on a player with deficiencies may not be a luxury that New York can afford. It always comes down to price, but Williams could still be out-priced for what he’s shown through his first contract.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is returning to Green Bay, and, I would imagine, star wide receiver Davante Adams will follow suit in some capacity. Valdes-Scantling could be the odd man out of Green Bay.
Valdes-Scantling will only be 27 years old. He is a size/speed receiver who is a home run waiting to happen; however, he’s also injured too often and suffers from frustrating drops.
New York quietly could use help at wide receiver, but not by investing money in free agency - they spent enough last year. Valdes-Scantling is a solid role player who can have success in the league. If the Giants decide to invest in wide receiver, they should look to the draft, for it’s one of the more deep draft classes at the position.