The Giants signed Davis off of the Detroit Lions' practice squad last season in late December. The 28-year-old played 165 snaps for the Giants in his three games with New York, two of which were playoff games.
The Giants resigned Davis in March to a one-year, $1.18 million contract, which proved meaningful in the subsequent month when New York did not select a linebacker in the 2023 NFL Draft. Davis was expected to compete for a starting role at off-ball linebacker.
GM Joe Schoen signed former Indianapolis Colts’ linebacker Bobby Okereke during free agency to be the Giants’ top linebacker. However, Jaylon Smith was not retained but remains a free agent. Davis had a realistic shot to start opposite Okereke in Wink Martindale’s base and nickel defensive packages.
There’s a dearth of proven talent in the Giants' linebacker room. Second-year players Micah McFadden, who was benched twice last season - the second was a consequence of the Davis’ signing - and Darrian Beavers, who tore his ACL in the preseason, are now the two frontrunners competing to start next to Okereke.
This situation bodes well for Beavers’ and McFadden’s starting opportunity. The former seemed to have the inside track last season before suffering his injury, while the latter has generated some buzz in OTAs and minicamps.
Special teams players Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown are both listed as linebackers on the depth chart but played less than 10 snaps between them on defense last year. Then there are two undrafted rookies: Troy Brown of Ole Miss (formerly of Central Michigan) and Dyontae Johnson of Toledo.
Davis’ injury could be an opportunity for Brown and Johnson. The Giants may look at some of their safeties and think they could occupy a box role like Landon Collins did last season, or maybe even some of their cornerbacks like Tre Hawkins III or Aaron Robinson, who handled that role at UCF in certain packages.
New York could also look to the free agent wire to add a veteran at a cost-effective rate. The Giants hosted former Falcons’ linebacker Deion Jones in April, and he remains available.
Either way, I’m sure Director of Pro Scouting Chris Rossetti has a plan to bolster the linebacker room; but even so, the injury to Davis - a player competing for a starting spot - isn’t a great situation as the Giants head into training camp at the end of July.