The NFL’s free agency period begins March 18 and tons of eyes will be turned on the NFL’s off-season proceedings in these unprecedented times due to coronavirus. Additionally, the New York Giants now have $77.8 million in cap space. With Big Blue set to be big spenders this year, combined with the history that their most recent successes this century have come from big signings in free agency in 2007, 2011 and 2016, let’s take a look at some candidates who could be on the squad in 2020.
LB Cory Littleton
The Giants have rookie standout Ryan Connolly set to return from a 2019 ACL tear as well as Devante Downs, Josiah Tauaefa, Nate Harvey, Mark McLaurin and Chris Peace and the recently re-signed David Mayo. They’ve also released Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin. Additionally, the open market is rich with talented veteran linebackers such as Christian Kirksey and Kyle Van Noy. However, what separates Littleton from the pack is his outstanding coverage skills. He’s coming off his best 16 games in his career thus far with 134 tackles, 78 solo as well as 18 pass breakups, six interceptions and a 90.6 coverage grade from PFF, good for third best in the league. Whilst his value is at an enormous peak and he’ll be an expensive commodity Littleton will be well worth it. Last year for the Rams he played at least 30% of the snaps at inside linebacker, with an insane 93.8% snap share. If the Giants were to sign him, he can play in nickel and dime packages on third down, replace Ogletree on the outside and even make an impact on special teams. In all, Littleton has great athleticism, versatility, ability in pass coverage as well as ability to create turnovers. He’s not perfect but he’s close.
T Jack Conklin
How the free agency period unfolds will deem the draft for many teams, as it always. But it’s more so the case for the Giants this year. There is plenty of viable options at the tackle position in the draft but a big pay day for former Tennessee Titans’ tackle Jack Conklin could also be in the works as well. Logistically, the potential signing makes sense not only due to Mike Remmers’ pending free agency but also to Derrick Henry’s record breaking 2019 season. Logically, this may carry over to Giants workhorse Saquon Barkley. However, whilst the 2016 All-Pro has good size (6’6 308 lbs) and durability (3 out of 4 full seasons), he also lacks athleticism. So, it would be better to target the position at the top of the draft and pay one of the prolific defensive contenders, coming up next!
Byron Jones vs. Jadeveon Clowney
The Giants are gonna miss out on Chase Young. Additionally, it’s very rare game-changing talent becomes available at the edge rusher position but that is the case with Jadeveon Clowney. The impact defensive end came to the Seahawks in 2019 and showed flashes. The production was halted by a “core muscle injury” but athleticism and instincts were still on display. One statistic that stands out is 4 forced fumbles, so he can create turnovers and give the Giants offense time on the field. Clowney has fluid lateral movement and strength in run defense and he combines it with agility in pass rushing. I’m for bringing him in simply for the opportunity. As for Byron Jones, it’s smarter to go for depth at corner to help out to the young guns and spend big up front with Littleton and Clowney.
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