New York Giants free-agency overview: Adding a top WR or edge rusher a must – NFL Nation

The New York Giants enter 2021 NFL free agency coming off a 6-10 season in 2020 and have 14 unrestricted free agents.

Figuring out what to do with their defensive line is at the forefront of this offseason. A decision has to be made on whether the Giants can afford to keep their best pass-rusher, Leonard Williams, and top run-stuffer, Dalvin Tomlinson. Then it’s imperative to address wide receiver and edge rusher, adding a top-of-the-market option to at least one of those positions. There remains a lot of work to do.

Here’s what to expect from the Giants when the NFL offseason hits high gear with the start of free agency on March 17:

QUARTERBACK

Under contract: Daniel Jones, Clayton Thorson, Joe Webb

UFA: Colt McCoy

Game plan: The Giants are riding with Jones. They need a veteran backup. There’s a good chance McCoy returns. He’s an affordable backup who already knows the offense and fits into the culture. The Giants went 1-1 in his two starts, both against playoff teams. That’s kind of what you want from your backup QB.

RUNNING BACK

Under contract: Saquon Barkley, Eli Penny, Jordan Chunn

UFA: Wayne Gallman, Dion Lewis, Alfred Morris

Game plan: Finding a backup for Barkley is a must, especially with him coming off a torn ACL. Gallman will likely be welcomed back at the right price after showing well in Barkley’s absence. If Gallman lands elsewhere, perhaps free agent James White makes sense with his connection to the coaching staff and ability to contribute in the passing game.

WIDE RECEIVER

Under contract: Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Cody Core, Dante Pettis, Austin Mack, Alex Bachman, Derrick Dillon, David Sills, Taquan Mizzell

UFA: None

Game plan: Tate won’t be returning at $8.5 million. He could be a cost-cutting casualty. C.J. Board might return as a restricted free agent. Regardless, the Giants need to find a No. 1 wide receiver. They will be monitoring the top of the market at the position closely.

TIGHT END

Under contract: Evan Engram, Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith, Rysen John, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Nate Wieting

UFA: None

Game plan: Engram is set to cost slightly more than $6 million on his fifth-year option. Toilolo could be a cap casualty. The Giants aren’t going to be big players at tight end in free agency. The draft? That could be a different story depending on how it plays out.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Under contract: Nate Solder, Matt Peart, Andrew Thomas, Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Jonotthan Harrison, Kyle Murphy, Jackson Barton, Chad Slade, Kenny Wiggins

UFA: Cam Fleming, Spencer Pulley

Game plan: Some big decisions to make here. Solder and Zeitler have big salaries, and the Giants could create some cap space by moving on or requesting a pay cut. Getting rid of either would create holes. The Giants are going to need to add a veteran tackle if Solder leaves. Don’t expect a big name. Think more of a swing tackle option … like Fleming.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Under contract: Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, RJ McIntosh, Niko Lalos, Breeland Speaks

UFA: Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, Austin Johnson

Game plan: Williams is the Giants’ top priority this offseason. He led the team in sacks by a mile with 11.5 and had triple the quarterback hits of anybody else. He should come in at close to $20 million per season, but a deal should get done. Tomlinson is a bit more up in the air. That’s more dependent on the current financial climate of this offseason.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Under contract: Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, Trent Harris

UFA: Kyler Fackrell, Jabaal Sheard

Game plan: Add pieces this offseason, in free agency and the draft. It’s possible Fackrell comes back at the right price, but expect the Giants to also aim higher with a veteran. Maybe even somebody who is on a roster but will shake free due to the shrinking salary cap.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Under contract: Blake Martinez, David Mayo, Tae Crowder, TJ Brunson

UFA: None

Game plan: Devante Downs, who started eight games this past season, is a restricted free agent. It’s possible he returns, but the Giants are going to lean on their younger players beginning with Crowder to find someone to play alongside Martinez. They will likely add to this position, but not with a significant signing.

CORNERBACK

Under contract: James Bradberry, Darnay Holmes, Madre Harper, Isaac Yiadom, Jarren Williams, Quincy Wilson, Ryan Lewis, Sam Beal

UFA: None

Game plan: The Giants need a veteran capable of starting outside across from Bradberry in the worst way. They will be searching for the right value in free agency. They don’t want the revolving door that existed this past season when five different players started at right cornerback.

SAFETY

Under contract: Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love

UFA: Nate Ebner, Adrian Colbert

Game plan: The Giants already made a move at this spot when they signed Ryan to an extension late in the season. It’s now among their strongest positions. Ebner might return, but he’s primarily a special-teamer.

SPECIALIST

Under contract: K Graham Gano, P Riley Dixon, LS Carson Tinker, K/P Ryan Santoso

UFA: LS Casey Kreiter

Game plan: The kicking operation worked smoothly and efficiently this past season with Kreiter as the long-snapper. Don’t expect that to change, especially with coach Joe Judge so heavily invested in special teams as a former coordinator.

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