It’s the most wonderful time of the year…I might be singing Christmas songs in March, but not for holiday cheer. This time of year is one of my favorites, it gets very interesting when free agency starts, and the blue prints start to be created for all 32 teams in the NFL for the upcoming season. Free agency also gets everyone set for the draft, which is the next exciting stage on the list. For now, lets focus on free agency.
The free agency period officially begins March 18th at 4pm, which kicks off the start of the new league year. During this time, free agents may begin signing contracts with interested teams. There have been many players on the Giants radar this offseason. Let’s take a look at some potential additions.
Byron Jones: Cornerback
Byron Jones is coming off his fifth year with the Dallas Cowboys. Jones is one of the players to watch this offseason, as he has many suitors once the new league starts. In Jones career, he has 349 combined tackles, 44 passes defended, and two interceptions. The interceptions don’t jump off the charts, but he has been disruptive in pass defense. Jones made his only pro-bowl in 2018, and was ranked 97th in the NFL Top 100 players in 2019. No one will forget the record he set in the NFL combine, with recording a 12’3″ broad jump in 2015. Jones would bring a veteran presence with a cornerback group that had 3 players seeing their first NFL action this year.
Jadeveon Clowney: OLB
Clowney is coming off his sixth year in the NFL. He spent his first five years un Houston and joined the Seattle Seahawks last season. Clowney has 236 total combined tackles, 32.0 sacks, 14 passes defended, and one interception that was returned for a 27 yard touchdown. Clowney is a three-time pro-bowler, and appeared in the NFL top 100 players three times, the last three consecutive years. The one hesitation about Clowney is the injuries. He has had 9 different reported injuries in his career, both minor and major. His durability will be make or break in his future. When he is on the field, he is disruptive and a game-changer. There has been interest from the Giants and Clowney with some rumor reports, time will tell how it all settles.
Kyle Van Noy: MLB
Kyle Van Noy finished his sixth season of his NFL career. He started his career with the Detroit Lions until he joined the New England Patriots in 2016. Van Noy has 289 total combined tackles, 17.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended, and 5 forced fumbles. Van Noy is effective in the run game and pass rushing. He had a career high 6.5 sacks in 2019. Van Noy has also contributed well on special teams, where he has a connection with Giants new head coach Joe Judge. There could be a strong possibility he could make his way over to NY, especially with how much Judge likes him. After departing with Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin, the Giants will be looking for some quality linebackers to fill those voids.
Joe Schobert: MLB
Schobert is coming off of his fourth year with the Cleveland Browns. Schobert is a tackling machine, racking up 408 combined tackles in four years. He has 8.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 20 passes defended, and 7 forced fumbles. Schobert showed in 2019 he can do more than just make tackles, he posted a career high 4 interceptions. He is coming off one of his best statistical seasons thus far in his career. Expect him to engage great interest from teams. The Giants have shown some, and for good reason.
Blake Martinez: ILB
Martinez finished his fourth season with the Green Bay Packers. Martinez is another linebacker who racks up tackles. In his career, he has a total of 512 total combined tackles, 10.0 sacks, 17 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. Adding Martinez would bring in a young linebacker who has had a leadership role on a young defense before, and can help solidify the run defense. The Giants have shown interest in Martinez who is set to become a free agent.
Cory Littleton: ILB
Littleton is coming off his fourth season with the Los Angeles Rams. Littleton has a different skill set then many linebackers. He is not necessarily built like one, but he brings versatility and speed to a defense. He reminds me of a more improved Ray Ray Armstrong (former Giant comparison). Littleton did not start a full season until 2018. In four seasons, he has 315 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks, 26 passes defended, and 6 interceptions. Littleton can bring a quality cover line backer, something the Giants have been trying to find for some time.
Jack Conklin: OT
The offensive lineman most fans have talked about this offseason. Conklin is coming off and up and down year, but he is coming off of his second year playing since his ACL injury against the Patriots in 2018. He has shown he can stay healthy, it will be a test to see if he can go back to the form he had his rookie year. He was making $2.6 million in 2019, so it could be a cheaper option, unless he’s looking for a big pay day.
Connor McGovern: Center
McGovern is coming off his fourth season with the Denver Broncos. In 16 games, he had 0 penalties and 1 sack allowed. He has been efficient in pass blocking, something that could help the Giants offense. Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times and fumbled 18 times. Providing a quality center should help the pocket be more stable and comfortable for Jones, and take some pressure off.
Giants to Bring Back:
- Markus Golden
- Michael Thomas
- David Mayo
- Cody Core
- Corey Coleman
- Leonard Williams
- Antonio Hamilton
Markus Golden is a given, he’s the first Giants LB to have 10 or more sacks since Lawrence Taylor. If he comes at a good price, bring him back. So far there has been mutual interest between both Golden and the Giants, but he may also test free agency to see what his value is.
I would bring back Michael Thomas, Cody Core, and Antonio Hamilton for their special teams contributions. Hamilton and Core were great gunners for the Giants, and the special teams was one bright spot for the Giants in 2019. Thomas provides leadership on special teams and can also provide depth at safety.
Williams hasn’t put up the stats, but he has been disruptive when he’s been on the field. He helps plug up the lanes and holes on the line, and also takes on double team blocks. This creates an opportunity for a backer or another lineman to fill the gap and find a lane to plug up, and to make a play.
If Corey Coleman heals well, I’m all for giving him a shot. He provided a spark in the return game in 2018. He could be a valuable weapon for Jones on offense if given the opportunity. I would like to see a full season under his belt.
David Mayo was graded one of the best run-stopping linebackers in 2019 by PFF. He does not have great coverage skills, but is a valuable piece for the run game. He can also contribute to special teams as well.