GIANTS FREE AGENCY WEEK RECAP: NOT ALL IS LOST

However, not all is lost. Let’s break down the bigger picture by position from the week of free agency for Big Blue.

                                                                                         Running Back 

Despite losing two of its captains, the Giants were able to save cap space and use it to address more significant needs for the team while finding a suitable replacement for Saquon. Barkley’s contract is worth almost $16 million per year with the Eagles, while the Giants signed former Texans running back Devin Singletary for $16.5 million over three years. Regarding production, the Giants are mostly the same between Barkley and Singletary. Last season, on 247 attempts, Barkley accounted for just under 1,000 yards rushing, six rushing touchdowns, and 3.9 yards per carry. On 216 attempts, Singletary accounted for 898 yards, four rushing touchdowns, and 4.2 yards per carry. Did the Giants lose the best running back in the league, a fan favorite, or their leader on offense? Perhaps. But they also gained a dependable running back, with similar production, and at a low price in the grand scheme.

                                                                                      Offensive Line

According to Statmuse, in 2023, the Giants gave up the most sacks by any team in the NFL with 85. Another sticking point is that the state of the offensive line for this team is good, but it could be better. Last week, we saw several moves by Joe Schoen to beef up the trenches on offense and defense. On offense, the team signed four new offensive linemen. At tackle, the Giants have found their new starter in Jermaine Elumenor (68.5 PFF) on a 2-year deal worth $14 million; he comes over from the Raiders, where his coach was Carmen Bricillo line, now the Giants’s The upgrade at the position and chemistry between Carmen and Jermaine should bode well for what’s been the weakest side of the line the past few seasons. The Giants also added former Packers Guard Jon Runyon (54.7 PFF) on a 3-year deal, former Bucs Guard Aaron Stinnie (56.6 PFF) on a 1-year contract, and former Vikings Guard Aaron Schlottmann (62.6 PFF) on a 2-year deal.

                                                                                   Defensive Line 

On paper, after last week, the Giants’ defensive line looks terrifying for opposing teams. The team already had a strong front on the defensive interior with Dexter Lawrence, who is one if not the best interior defensive lineman in football right now with Aaron Donald’s retirement, and Kayvon Thibodeaux, who had 11.5 sacks last season and continues to live up to being a top pick in the 2022 draft. However, with the trade for former Panthers Edge Brian Burns, this defensive line for the Giants may be in for a historic year in 2024. The Giants traded for Burns and signed him to a 5-year, 150 million contract. 2023 Burns had eight sacks and a 21.6% pass-rush win rate. The Giants may have paid a little too much for Burns; however, consistent elite play in the trenches needs to be improved in the team, especially regarding the pass rush. In 2023, the Giants had just a 20.9 percent pressure rate, 18th in the NFL. With the addition of Burns, opposing quarterbacks should feel more heat when going against this reinforced big blue wall.

                                                                                    Quarterback 

Last but certainly not least is the quarterback position. Scrutiny, hostility, and hope have surrounded the quarterback position for the Giants for the past year or so. Last March, Daniel Jones and the Giants agreed to a 4-year $140 million contract. Jones was coming off the best season of his career and a playoff win. But when September rolled around, things went differently than planned. The Giants opened up with a goose egg on Sunday Night Football in a 40-0 loss to the Cowboys, and the downward spiral continued from there, especially for Jones. He sustained a neck injury in a week five loss to the Dolphins and, upon returning weeks later against the Raiders, tore his ACL and was done for the season. Jones posted two passing touchdowns and six interceptions in 6 games in 2023. That gave way to Tyrod Taylor and Tommy Devito, who had some success in 2023, combining for 11 touchdown passes and six interceptions. But still, the quarterback position remains up in the air for the Giants heading into 2024 based on Daniel Jones. When he is back from injury, and more importantly, is he the long-term solution for the team at quarterback? Joe Schoen has said the team would address the position in free agency, and the expectation is that Joe Schoen will address it in next month’s draft as well. Last week, the Giants signed former Seahawk quarterback Drew Lock on a 1-year, 5-million-dollar contract. He had three passing touchdowns and three interceptions for Seattle last year. Will he be competing with Daniel Jones for the starting spot next season? Or will there also be a rookie in the mix? One thing is sure: the future of the quarterback position for the Giants is flexible for 2024 and beyond.

PFF gave the Giants an overall grade of an A- for their free agency moves. Overall, seeing critical additions for the trenches and depth for other positions was great. Here is the complete list of Big Blue’s free agent moves and resigning:

Brian Burns, Outside Linebacker
Jon Runyan Jr., Guard
Jermaine Eluemunor, Tackle
Devin Singletary, Running Back
Jalen Mills, Corner Back
Drew Lock, Quarterback
Isaiah McKenzie, Wide Receiver
Aaron Stinnie, Guard
Austin Schlottmann, Guard
Jack Stoll, Tight End
Chris Manhertz, Tight End

Resigned
Nick McCloud, Cornerback
Casey Kreiter, Long Snapper
Gunner Olszewski, Punt Returner
Carter Coughlin, Line Backer