A year after their revamped defense carried the team to the playoffs, the Giants seem to be doing everything they can to keep the unit together.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson has agreed to terms to return to the Giants in 2017, the NFL Network reported on Monday night. While Robinson was not technically a starter, he had 83 tackles and played as the middle linebacker in sub packages. He visited the Bengals last week and the Bills on Monday before the Giants brought him back into the fold.
Robinson’s deal comes just days after the Giants agreed to a four-year deal with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (the cap space provided by JPP’s contract is a reason the Giants were so busy on Monday, signing three other players in quarterback Geno Smith, linebacker Mark Herzlich, and cornerback Valentino Blake). The Giants will have 10 of their 11 defensive starters from last season returning for 2017. The only one currently not on the roster is defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who remains a free agent. The Giants have an offer for Hankins on the table, but he is said to be exploring options for a more lucrative deal. He is reportedly is seeking $10 million per season, far above the Giants’ offer.
Last year the Giants’ defense went from last in the NFL to 10th and was a big reason for their 11-6 record and first playoff berth in five seasons. The Giants invested almost $200 million in that defense last offseason, most of it on the acquisitions of defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. They also spent on players such as Robinson, who signed a one-year deal with the Giants a year ago after an injury-plagued tenure with Washington. He wound up playing all 16 games in the regular season and became a key piece of the group’s identity.
Now, he and that group are hoping to keep their identity — and their success — going into next season.