By Alexander George. Ben McAdoo’s first year as head coach for the New York Giants was a success. For the first time in five seasons, the Giants made it to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Although they lost in the wildcard game to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 38-13, the Giants organization is back on track to winning again.
The New York Giants, however, regressed in several offensive categories from the 2015 season to the 2016 season. In 2016, the offense was ranked 29th in rushing yards per game (88.2) and 17th in passing yards per game (242.4) for a grand total of 330.6 yards per game, seventh worst in the NFL. As a result, General Manager Jerry Reese and the Giants acquired key personnel this offseason to insure that the team does better in the upcoming 2017 season.
The Giants’ best free agent acquisition was wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall has agreed to a 2 year deal worth $12 million dollars. At 33 years old, Marshall has never been in the playoffs despite a ten year career with the Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, and Jets. His experience and pathos for the game are qualities needed at the wide receiver position. The Giants need a veteran receiver to compliment Odell Beckham and Marshall definitely fits into that category with outstanding career numbers of 941 receptions for 12,061 yards and 82 TDs.
To fill the open fullback position from last season, the New York Giants signed Rhett Ellison, formerly on the Vikings, to a 4 year, $18 million dollar contract. His ability to absorb contact at the line of scrimmage will provide Giants running backs the opportunity to rush for more yards this upcoming season. Ellison can also play tight end. With Larry Donnell no longer with the team, Will Tye, who signed his one year tender for $615,000, should be the starting tight end for the Giants.
The Giants also signed running back Shaun Draughn, formerly of the 49ers, to a one year, $1 million dollar contract with a base salary of $775,000.00. Draughn is an all-purpose running back who can play on special teams. Running back Orleans Darkwa has also been resigned for an additional year. Darkwa will serve as back-up to presumptive starting running back Paul Perkins. Look for the Giants to commit to the running game a little bit more this season despite still being a running back by committee team.
D. J. Fluker, formerly of the Chargers, was signed by the Giants once former right tackle Marshall Newhouse signed with the Raiders. Fluker is on a prove-it deal having signed for just one season. Although the team resigned guard John Jerry and Ereck Flowerswill man the left tackle position, expect the Giants to strengthen the offensive line through the draft.
The final offensive position the Giants felt they needed to address was the back-up quarterback position. The organization signed former New York Jet quarterback Geno Smith to a 1 year, $2 million dollar deal with bonuses and incentives based on performance. Also resigned was Josh Johnson to a 2 year contract. One of these two players will likely be the primary back-up to Eli Manning.
The New York Giants defense did well in several categories last season. From second in the league in average points allowed per game (17.8) to third in the league in average rushing yards allowed per game (88.6) to tenth in average yards allowed per game (339.7), the Giants are viewed as potentially top ten defense. To maintain this level of performance next season, a key player needed to be resigned.
In what is the most important signing of the off-season for the New York Giants organization, Jason Pierre-Paul signed a 4 year contract worth $66 million dollars with $40 million guaranteed. Pierre-Paul had the second most sacks on the team with seven along with 35 tackles last season. And with defensive end Oliver Vernon (8 1/2 sacks and 44 tackles) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison, who had the most tackles on the defensive line with 55, signed until 2020, three-fourth of the Giants front defensive line is set to continue to provide the team with satisfying results next season.
The only other notable defensive signing was middle linebacker Keenan Robinson who will compete for the position with second year player B.J. Goodson. Robinson re-signed for 1 year at $3 million dollars,
The Giants have restructured contracts, including pay cuts from running back Shane Vereen and wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris and released former Giants Victor Cruz (WR) and Rashad Jennings (RB) to clear up cap space so the team can acquire the aforementioned players. With only slightly more than $10.5 million dollars left in cap space money, including an additional $1.2 million from former defensive end Owa Odighizuwa who has indicated he is stepping away from the game, the New York Giants are probably done signing any more players in the immediate future. Defensive tackle Jonathon Hankins, a free agent, is interested in returning to the Giants, but at $10 million dollars his asking price is too high. The Giants are only willing to sign him at $4 million dollars for next season.
Although there is a need for the New York Giants to fill several positions including defensive tackle, place kicker, guard/tackle, and defensive end, it seems likely that the Giants will resort to the draft at the end of this month to fill these wanted positions.