When assessing the future of the offensive line for the 2019 season, general manager Dave Gettleman said, “Don’t forget about Pio!” That’s center Jon Halapio, by the way, who is coming off a serious ankle injury in Week 2 of the season that required surgery. True to his word, Gettleman did not forget about Halapio and signed him as a pending exclusive rights free agent last week. The Giants thought he was their best offensive lineman in the beginning of the 2018 campaign.
But remembering Halapio and counting on him to return from the injury to play 16 games as the starting center for the Giants are two different things. Which is why the Giants on Monday agreed to a three-year contract with Spencer Pulley, the player who took over the job at center for the second half of the season. That, by the way, was the half of the season when the offense functioned.
Pulley, who was poised to become a restricted free agent, will sign the three-year deal with the Giants worth $9.6 million, according to sources. He is guaranteed $2.325 million.
Pulley will compete with Halapio for the starting job this summer; if Halapio wins it, Pulley will serve as the interior backup able to play either center or guard.
Most of the moves by the Giants so far this offseason have been about securing the middle of the blocking front. The Giants traded Olivier Vernon last week to bring in guard Kevin Zeitler. They also tendered another exclusive rights free agent who can help in that role, fullback Eli Penny.
The one remaining vacancy on the offensive side of the ball would seem to be right tackle, where Chad Wheeler spent most of last season. Free agency begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m., and the Giants could be looking to upgrade that spot with an established veteran. They could also find a player in the draft who could step in and be a day one starter for them. It is more likely their attention in free agency will be focused on rebuilding a defense that struggled late in games last season and will be without two key playmakers in Vernon and free-agent-to-be Landon Collins.