With the legal tampering period opening at noon on Monday, NFL free agency officially got under way. Unsurprisingly, there was chaos instantly, with free agents flying off the board and key pieces being named as potential trade targets.
In the Giants’ realm, the first domino to fall saw them strike out on a player thought to be one of their top targets in former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards, who signed with the Chicago Bears:
While they missed out on Edwards, Big Blue may have received an opportunity to land another key defensive piece by virtue of a cost-cutting move. After spending three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Defensive lineman Calais Campbell finds himself on the open market as the team released him in order to save $7 million in cap space. Campbell’s next destination could be MetLife Stadium, where his former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale patrols the sidelines:
Calais Campbell will be 37 this season and was just released by the Ravens.— Anthony Rivardo (@Anthony_Rivardo) March 13, 2023
He has a clear connection to Giants DC Wink Martindale. NYG is looking to add talent to their front seven.
Campbell could be a solid addition on a one-year deal to reunite with Martindale. #NYG pic.twitter.com/QbC5zEdb6W
Despite Campbell’s release, though, there is still a potential window for him to return to Baltimore. Hours after announcing his release, the team shared that it would still leave the possibility of a return open, albeit almost certainly on a cheaper deal:
"We have not closed the door on the possibility of Calais returning to our team in the future." pic.twitter.com/4LmNF0upzq— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) March 13, 2023
On the offensive side of the football, it’s no secret that Joe Schoen and company are looking to add a wide receiver. With a relatively weak free agency class, though, the best route to upgrade the position outside of the draft may be on the trade market. As luck would have it, the Denver Broncos appear to be open to trading one of their top wideouts. After previously checking in on fourth-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy at the trade deadline this past season, the Giants could very well find themselves back in the mix for the former Alabama pass-catcher, who would instantly slot in as Daniel Jones’ WR1:
The Giants aggressively tried for Jerry Jeudy at the trade deadline, but didn’t want to meet Denver’s asking price.— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) March 13, 2023
Curious to see if the Giants would re-engage again for Jeudy. https://t.co/LmrXruEO67
Offensive line will also continue to be a major focus for the Giants, with offensive lineman Nick Gates signing a three-year deal with the division rival Washington Commanders:
Good story here: Former #Giants OL Nick Gates, who broke his left fibula and tibia in a game against Washington in 2021 and battled his way back from seven surgeries, is headed to … Washington.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 13, 2023
Gates has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the #Commanders, source says. pic.twitter.com/TPHfUcu62i
The Giants also saw one of their biggest foes lose another key piece, as former Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave agreed to a four-year, $84 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers. The first major defensive tackle off the board, it will be interesting to see how Hargrave’s contract ultimately compares to that of Giants’ defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, who is in line for a massive pay day himself after receiving both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors:
Later in the afternoon, another key linebacker came off the board as Germaine Pratt re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on a three-year deal worth $21 million.
In addition to Pratt, another top linebacker earned himself big money as Tremaine Edmunds agreed to terms with the Bears, where he will join the aforementioned Edwards. Edmunds was seen as a top target for Big Blue, but ultimately his four-year, $72 million price tag ultimately proved to be too steep:
Bears are giving former Bills’ LB Tremaine Edmunds a 4-yr, $72M that includes $50M guaranteed, per source. It is the largest 4-year contract for an inside linebacker in the NFL.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023
The linebacker market continued to run rampant as the day turned to night, but once again the player in question was not one who would be joining the Giants. David Long, Jr. agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract to join the Miami Dolphins, taking another promising linebacker off the board\:
Dolphins are giving former Titans’ LB David Long Jr. a two-year, $11 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023