The New York Giants primary need on the offensive line heading into 2017 is at tackle, where we know that Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart were among the worst players in the league at their positions last season. Still, tackle might not be the only position on the line the Giants address this offseason.
Veteran right guard John Jerry, a starter in 40 of the Giants’ 48 regular-season games the past three seasons, can be a free agent. The Giants could bring the seven-year veteran, who will be 31, back next season. The Giants could let Jerry go and try to find a younger player to fill that spot. They could look internally at Hart, Flowers or Brett Jones as possibilities.
They could also look to free agency, where there are expected to be a handful of quality guards reaching the open market.
One of those is Ronald Leary of the Dallas Cowboys.
Leary, 27, is a five-year veteran who originally signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent. He has started 47 of the 48 regular-season games he has played in, but in reality lost his job at left guard to La’el Collins in 2015. Leary played only four games in 2015, but started 12 games in 2016 after Collins was lost to a toe injury.
Leary will be one of the more sought after free agents on the market and could command a contract that averages $8 million a year. That’s how well he has played and that’s a product of the money that will be available to teams looking to upgrade the interior of their lines. The Cowboys would like to keep him, but short of moving Collins to tackle, it won’t happen.
Spotrac’s Market Value Tool estimates Leary’s worth to be around $9.1 million annually, suggesting that it will take something in the neighborhood of a four-year, $35 million deal to sign him. The New York Jets recently signed left guard Brian Winters to a four-year, $29 million deal with $15 million guaranteed. The two were comparable in 2016, with Leary getting an 80.4 grade from Pro Football Focus and Winters a 77.4.
Leary was equally adept as a run blocker (82.5 grade) and pass blocker (78.7) in 2016. If there is one thing that might give the Giants pause in pursuing Leary it would be that he has always played on the left side, while the Giants’ opening is on the right. That might not be a deal-breaker, but it has to be a consideration.