Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has always maintained that the period of free agency should be used to set up the team for the draft. This year, that’s exactly what has happened.
The Giants will have the fourth overall selection when the draft takes place in less than a month. But it isn’t necessarily their moves in the past two weeks that have improved their positioning.
Sure, the Giants signed some good players. They seem to have upgraded at a few positions, added depth at a few others. And they structured the new contracts in a smart way to ease the future financial burdens of the deals and provide themselves flexibility as they — in theory — climb the ladder from chumps to competitors to contenders.
But those acquisitions have not dramatically filled the glaring needs that the Giants had when the 2019 season ended, nor have they altered the slate of options that the Giants will have when they are on the clock in late April.
What has changed, though, is the rest of the league. As the dust settles from a furious few weeks of top-tier movement that has included legacy-blurring uniform changes by players and dramatic course recalibrations by franchises, the landscape in which the Giants will operate in the very immediate future has shifted.
That’s especially true at a position that the Giants addressed in last year’s draft and then spent the following season sorting through, with at times awkward but ultimately promising results: Quarterback.
The Giants think they have a good one in Daniel Jones. But there are plenty of teams that now hope to select the handful of players available in the draft who can become starting signal-callers.Two of them happen to be selecting right behind the Giants.
The Dolphins (fifth overall pick) and Chargers (sixth) certainly might be looking to stay ahead of each other for a chance to select, say, Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. If either comes calling, the Giants easily could drop back a few spots, probably still select one of the players they’re likely targeting at four and pick up another selection along the way.
There are other teams that need quarterbacks, too.
The Bucs just signed Tom Brady as a win-now quarterback, but he’s not a long-term solution. They may want to take a quarterback now to be groomed for the time when Brady is finished. Perhaps they want Tagovailoa, for whom health seems to be the biggest question, to spend a year healing and being groomed by the greatest quarterback of all time. Trading up from 14 to four would be a way to secure that.
The Patriots? They seem to be in need of a quarterback-of-the-future. If they want to jump from 23 to four, Bill Belichick likely still has Joe Judge’s phone number.
As unpleasant as the image may be, trading back will turn into Gettleman doing the Limbo. How low will he go? The further he descends in the draft, the bigger the potential spoils in terms of the haul he gets back. But that also comes with the risk of missing out on some very talented players by dropping too far.
There also is the possibility that a quarterback-needy team will leapfrog the Giants and strike a deal with the Redskins (two) or Lions (three). That would mean no additional assets for the Giants, but it would increase the size of the pool of non-quarterback players available at four. Chase Young, anyone?
The Giants’ shopping list for this offseason was extensive. It still is, and it isn’t going to change much between now and the draft. Their three big priorities are, in no particular order, an impact difference-maker who can play in space on defense, an edge rusher and a future anchor to their offensive line at tackle.
They have not directly addressed any of those spots in free agency, but that doesn’t mean free agency as a whole hasn’t impacted exactly how they will go about filling some of those gaps in the draft.
Tomlinson returns. The Giants agreed to terms with tight end Eric Tomlinson, who has played 36 of his 44 career games for the Jets and has spent time with five other teams, including a three-week stint with the Giants in 2019. The Giants said him off waivers just before the start of last season but released him in late September. He then spent time with the Patriots and Raiders before becoming a free agent this offseason. Tomlinson, 6-6 and 215 pounds, has caught 17 passes for 194 yards (16 and 193 with the Jets) and one touchdown.
Hello, goodbye, Hello again
Recapping the Giants in free agency:
Player Pos. Age Old team
James Bradberry CB 27 Panthers
Blake Martinez LB 26 Packers
Kyler Fackrell LB 26 Packers
Levine Toilolo TE 29 49ers
Cameron Fleming OT 27 Cowboys
Nate Ebner S 30 Patriots
Colt McCoy QB 33 Redskins
Austin Johnson DT 26 Titans
Dion Lewis RB 29 Titans
Dravon Askew-Henry S 24 *-Guardians
Player Pos. Age New team
Mike Remmers G 31 Chiefs
Antonio Hamilton CB 27 Chiefs
Cody Latimer WR 27 Redskins
THEY’RE STILL HERE
Player Pos. Age
**-Leonard Williams DT 25
Corey Coleman WR 25
Cody Core WR 25
David Mayo LB 26
Eli Perry FB 26
**Nonexclusive franchise tagged