Kicker Aldrick Rosas, center Jon Halapio and fullback Elijhaa Penny will all return to the Giants in 2019 as the team tendered its exclusive rights free agents on Wednesday, a source confirmed. The moves, all for one-year non-guaranteed contracts, bring back a Pro Bowl kicker, a potential starting offensive lineman and key cog in the running game.
The Giants also extended a restricted free-agent tender to former first-round receiver Corey Coleman, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday night.
Rosas’ tendering may have been more automatic than he was in 2018 when he kicked 32 of 33 field goals including a franchise record 57-yarder. The second-year player overcame an inconsistent rookie year to become one of the NFL’s most accurate and dependable kickers.
“He’s got a ton of talent, he’s got a lot of upside,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said of Rosas at the end of the season.
Halapio began the 2018 season as the team’s starting center before fracturing his ankle in Week 2. Recovering from surgery, Halapio should compete for the starting job at that position again this summer.
“Don’t forget Pio,” cautioned general manager Dave Gettleman when asked about rebuilding the offensive line. “He went down, unfortunately, in the second game. He was playing the best of anybody. So, don’t forget about Pio.”
Penny joined the Giants in September from the Cardinals’ practice squad and developed into an important piece in the production of Saquon Barkley in the second half of the season.
“He’s awesome,” Saquon Barkley said of Penny in December. “He’s been a tremendous help. He was a running back in the past, so when he’s in there he sees things just like a running back and he played lights out. He plays very hard, he’s physical and he’s showed he can do a little something with the ball in his hands also too.”
Penny played in 14 games with three starts for the Giants. He was on the field for 11.9 percent of the offensive snaps in 2018 – he had seven carries for 25 yards and caught eight passes for 50 yards – and contributed on special teams as well. More importantly, he was useful in opening holes for Barkley when the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year had the ball in his hands.
“He’s been a big help for us in these last couple of games and I look to see his role expand even more and as he continues to get more comfortable and we get a feel for each other,” Barkley said. “We could have a great, great season in the run game.”
Coleman appeared in eight games for the Giants in 2018 after being traded from the Browns to the Bills during the preseason and spending time on the Patriots' practice squad. He had just five catches for 71 yards, but flashed on special teams, averaging 26 yards per kick return on 23 attempts.