Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham got the guys he coached at Green Bay when the Giants agreed to terms on free-agency contracts with a pair of linebackers on Tuesday. On Wednesday, head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett got one for themselves.
Giants agreed to terms with veteran offensive tackle Cam Fleming, a source confirmed to Newsday after NFL Network first reported the contract pending a physical. Fleming played the first four years of his career with the Patriots (where Judge was a special teams coach) and the last two for the Cowboys (where Garrett was head coach). New Giants offensive line coach Marc Colombo was also on the Cowboys staff with Fleming.
The move will give the Giants a 6-5, 320-pound player who can compete for the starting job at right tackle, be it with returning lineman Nick Gates or with a player the Giants draft in April. The possibility also exists that the Giants draft an immediate starter at left tackle and move Nate Solder to the right side. Whichever side he plays, Solder is clearly in the Giants’ plans as they paid him a $3 million roster bonus on Wednesday for being with the team at the start of the league year.
Fleming, though, may best be suited as a backup since he has never been a full-time NFL starter. He has played in 75 career games but only started 26 of those.
Physicals for Giants signees put on hold
As the reports of all the Giants free agent deals made headlines over the last few days, they came with two caveats in the fine print. One, that they would not be official until the start of the league year. Two, they were all pending a physical.
Well, the league year arrived at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, as planned, but the physicals? For the Giants, those will likely have to wait.
The NFL and NFLPA have banned players from traveling to team facilities and also banned team medical staff from traveling to visit players in response to the spread of coronavirus. They have been working on protocols for players to take physicals with a neutral physician close to where they live and have the information forwarded to the teams for approval, but the exact logistics of that process have yet to be finalized. It also seems unwise to many in the league to impinge on a health care system that is bracing for and dealing with a pandemic.
At some point the teams may execute the physicals remotely. Or they may just wait for the all clear and do them in person . . . whenever that happens. The players and their money? Some may receive signing bonuses contingent on a future physical while others, again, will wait.
In the meantime, the additions of players such as James Bradberry and Blake Martinez by the Giants — and dozens of others around the league — remain in an state of suspension between unofficially acknowledged and officially completed.
Bethea set free
The Giants did not pick up the option for a second year on Antonie Bethea’s contract by the start of the league year so the 35-year-old veteran of 16 NFL seasons will be a free agent. The Giants will save close to $3 million on the salary cap by parting ways with Bethea. They’re likely to add another veteran safety this offseason but are also hopeful that Julian Love can develop into a full-time starter for them in his second season with the team. As a rookie, Love played well late in 2019 when he started five games after Jabril Peppers was injured.