Four years ago, the Giants were believed to be interested in D.J. Fluker, the massive tackle out of Alabama, but he didn’t fall to them in the draft. The Chargers selected him 11th overall and the Giants took Justin Pugh with the 19th pick.
As of Saturday, the Giants have both.
Pugh is entering his fifth year with the team and Fluker, who was released by the Chargers last week after four years with them, agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants as a free agent, according to sources. The contract is worth $3 million.
It’s a relatively small contract, given that the top offensive linemen in this year’s free agency have been pulling in contracts with $20 million or more in guarantees. Fluker gets no such payday. What he does get is a season to re-establish himself as a strong NFL player — a “prove-it” deal — while the Giants get to improve their depth and competition on their offensive line.
Two of the members from the Giants’ offensive line of last year became free agents. Right guard John Jerry still is available and eventually might re-sign with them. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse signed a two-year deal with the Raiders on Friday.
Fluker, listed at 6-5 and 339 pounds, is only 25 years old. He started 59 games in four years with the Chargers, can play both tackle and guard and is expected to compete at both this summer.
Ereck Flowers, the Giants’ 2015 first-round pick, has been the starting left tackle for the past two years, but the Giants have been exploring other positions for him after a second year of struggles.
The Giants’ salary-cap restrictions prevented them from competing for the top linemen in free agency last week. Those salaries were just too big for the team to absorb. But they clearly wanted to improve their overall blocking, not just their offensive line play. They signed tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison on the first day of free agency to help in that regard.