If you’re a New York Giants fan, you’re definitely jumping for joy right now.
The New York Giants are cool again! GM Dave Gettleman finally made a big move in free agency! Daniel Jones finally has help! Because seriously, who in the world actually thought Brandon Marshall and the corpse of Golden Tate III were going to pan out as actual free agent weapons? Outside of the draft, the Giants haven’t really attempted to shore up their needs for actual playmakers on the offensive side of the football. What’s more, Gettleman (curse him) got rid of the Giants’ biggest star in Odell Beckham Jr., and somehow Evan ‘Stone Hands Engram’ still has a job!
But worry not, Giants fans. Help is on the way. Kenny Golladay, the biggest fish in this year’s free agency pond, chose to go to New York. The Giants now have a true number one option for their air attack, and as a specialist in contested catches, Golladay is perfect for the Giants’ young gunslinger, Daniel Jones. After him, New York also gave themselves a Stone Hands insurance policy with the aging but stable Kyle Rudolph.
The Giants also opted to capitalize on last year’s success on the defensive end by shoring up on all fronts. While losing Dalvin Tomlinson will sting, they were able to bring back Leonard Williams, and Adoree Jackson is going to be a star in the secondary.
They only need one thing after this flurry of signings. Unfortunately, it’s the same thing that fans have been demanding for years: help on the offensive line.
The Giants did themselves no favors in that regard, opting to lose the (relatively) rock solid Kevin Zeitler. Granted, he is 31 years old, and costs $10 million to keep, but Big Blue also didn’t replace him with any measurable talent, which definitely stings. Zeitler was one of the team’s few glimmers of hope on the offensive line after the sad saga of Ereck Flowers’ stunted development, and the Giants got only slightly better last year with him.
With any luck, last year’s fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas will show more than the mere flashes of brilliance we all saw during the second half of last year. With Zeitler gone, he and the rest of the line will have to grow quickly if they are to protect Daniel Jones, who spent much of last year injured. If the Giants are to get an accurate reading on how their young quarterback has grown in this critical third year as a pro, the offensive line simply has to step up.
Not many names remain on the board after the first two weeks of free agency. That’s fine. More than likely, the Giants will be looking towards this year’s raft to find their replacement for Zeitler. As a guard, Zeitler was in a lower-stakes position, as teams obviously put more pressure on the edge of the line. It stands to reason, then, that replacing his services with a versatile rookie will be a good way to get immediate growth and performance in that area.
The 2021 NFL draft is also deep with talent. Penei Sewell of Oregon is projected as the draft’s number one OL talent, but will most likely go much earlier than the twelfth pick. But if the Giants can snag USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, both of whom are seen as talented projects, they will do much in the way of shoring up the line in a very cost-effective way.
Danny Dimes has his sword. It’s time to finally give him the shield he so desperately needs with the Giants.