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5 targets for Giants in 2022 NFL free agency

Fansided logo Fansided 2/24/2022 Scott Rogust
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The New York Giants do not have a ton of cap space to work with this offseason unless they make some drastic roster decisions. Here are five free agents they should target this offseason.

The 2021 season was disastrous for the New York Giants. Enough so where they allowed general manager Dave Gettleman to "retire" and fired head coach Joe Judge after the debacle that was the second-half of the season, summed up with back-to-back quarterback sneaks in New York's own territory.

For the first time since bringing in George Young in the 70's, the Giants hired a general manager from outside their organization in Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen. Shortly thereafter, New York hired Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to be the team's next head coach.

The Giants are not in enviable territory due to the cap hell Gettleman left the organization in, as they are $11 million over the salary cap threshold. In hindsight, it did not make much sense to have a lame duck general manager with three disastrous seasons on his resume spend big money in free agency. But we digress.

New York will not be shopping at the top of the free agency market this offseason, but they can look for more affordable options to sign to fill needs across their roster. Here are five free agents the Giants should target.

5. DeShon Elliott, S

The Giants watched as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham leave New York to take the same position with the Las Vegas Raiders. After, the Giants interviewed candidates and ultimately decided to hire Don "Wink" Martindale for their vacancy. It was a huge signing by the Giants, considering how good the Baltimore Ravens defense was under him.

With Martindale bringing in a new defensive scheme for the Giants, it would make sense for him to bring in some players who know how to implement it. One free agent they should target is safety DeShon Elliott.

The Ravens selected Elliott in the sixth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Elliott has had his fair share of injuries throughout his young career. In his one full season of work in 2020, Elliott recorded 80 total tackles, four defended passes, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. In coverage that year, he allowed 23 completions for 342 yards and three touchdowns on 39 targets, per Pro Football Reference.

This past season, Elliott played in six games due to tearing his biceps and pectoral muscle. He posted 23 total tackles and one interception.

The Giants are expected to lose Jabrill Peppers to free agency this offseason. They can bring in Elliott as depth behind Xavier McKinney and Logan Ryan.

4. Sammy Watkins, WR

When looking at New York's wide receiver depth chart, it looks pretty top heavy. But if this past season proved anything, it is that they need as much depth as possible at the position.

Kenny Golladay was New York's largest free agent signing this past season. Yet, due to bad quarterback play, lack of offensive creativity under Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens and injuries, Golladay scored a grand total of zero touchdowns.

First-round selection Kadarius Toney showed promise of being a true game-changing starting wide receiver, but he has shown in one year that he is incredibly injury prone. Then, there is Sterling Shepard, who has picked up major injuries throughout his career, including a torn Achilles late last season.

The Giants need depth badly. With a new offensive coordinator in Mike Kafka, it would make sense to bring in a player he's familiar with. When looking at the affordable options available, Sammy Watkins makes sense.

Watkins spent three years with the Kansas City Chiefs, Watkins caught 129-of-200 targets for 1,613 yards and eight touchdowns. Watkins showed out in the playoffs for Kansas City, catching 25-of-35 targets for 477 yards and a touchdown.

This past season with the Ravens, Watkins caught 27 passes for 394 yards and one touchdown on 49 targets.

Yes, Watkins does have his fair share of injuries as well. But the Giants need quality, affordable depth in 2022. The veteran wideout presents just that.

3. O.J. Howard, TE

The Giants need to find a way to figure out their tight end issue.

New York used their 2017 first-round pick on Evan Engram, and it never really panned out, between injuries and drop problems. Engram did present himself as a bright spot in New York's dismal passing attack in his final year under contract, but it is probably best for the two sides to move on this offseason.

As of this writing, Kyle Rudolph is the top tight end option in the offense, which is not a good thing considering his age. The Giants need to find a quality backup that can eventually transition into a starting role. Given the team's cap situation, they can choose to take a flier on O.J. Howard.

A part of the 2017 draft class, Howard was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Howard had dealt with his fair share of injuries over the years, but he was not heavily implemented in Bruce Arian's offense. His playing time did take a hit once the team brought Rob Gronkowski out of retirement.

In his five years with Tampa Bay, Howard recorded 119 receptions for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns.

If the Giants want to bank on a player's upside for cheap, then Howard would be a solid option for them.

2. Trai Turner, G

Back in 2017, Gettleman promised that fixing the offensive line was his top priority. Over four years later, the line is still in terrible shape. The only player that he did hit on was Andrew Thomas, who has progressed tremendously in his second season to be New York's starting left tackle for the foreseeable future.

While the other tackle position will be an area of need, the interior offensive line needs an overhaul. They traded away guard Kevin Zeitler for cap space, and it came back to haunt them. Will Hernandez has shown that he is not the answer as a starter. An injury to Shane Lemieux had the Giants plugging in anyone they could at guard, and it worked as well as you expected it to.

New York has two first-round picks year, which will likely be used on either a tackle or even Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. But adding a veteran starter in free agency should be on Schoen's to-do list. He could look no further to Trai Turner.

Turner signed a one-year deal with the Steelers and started in all 17 games. He played a total of 1,082 snaps, where he surrendered seven sacks and was penalized six times, per Pro Football Focus.

The Giants need to pick up a veteran who can help open things up in the running game, especially if they plan on keeping Saquon Barkley around, who had zero help with the lines he has had over the years. Look no further than what Steelers rookie Najee Harris did in his rookie year, rushing for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns.

New York can not afford Brandon Scherff. Turner would be a good target for them.

1. Mitchell Trubisky, QB

Perhaps no one had a worse quarterback situation in 2021 than the Giants. Daniel Jones has shown promise in his first three years of the league, but fans have witnessed him picking up a slew of different injuries over that span. It is pivotal for the team to have a quality backup to fill in in case Jones were to miss time.

Mike Glennon was horrendous with the Giants, as evidenced by his 24-yard performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 17. Behind him was former Georgia Bulldogs starter Jake Fromm, and he was no better.

The quarterback options this offseason are far from enticing, but with a new offensive scheme under head coach Brian Daboll, it would make sense for them to bring in someone who knows the playbook. Mitchell Trubisky is the guy the Giants should target. It may not be popular, but it makes the most sense.

Trubisky's run as starting quarterback for the Bears did not pan out. Besides a good 2018 season where he threw for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns, he was never the guy to take the Bears to that next level. Hence why Chicago did not pick up his fifth-year option.

After his tenure with the Bears, Trubisky signed on with the Bills to serve as Josh Allen's backup.

Daboll is credited for helping Allen progress into a superstar in the NFL. It is unknown if Jones will be able to reach Allen's heights. Either way, bringing in Trubisky as a backup who can start when needed and knows the playbook makes sense for the Giants.


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