The New York Giants have made just a few moves this offseason, but the acquisitions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Rhett Ellison, and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker are not to be understated. Here is why the Giants acquired them and how they will fit into the offense this coming season:
WR Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall has had an illustrious career prior to joining his newest New York team. The 6’4″ wide receiver caught more than 900 passes, for over 12,000 yards, and over 80 touchdowns in his career. However, coming off a lackluster season where he was plagued by poor quarterback play and a revolving door at the QB position in general, how will he perform? Well, he doesn’t necessarily need to perform. Marshall was brought in to take pressure off of star wide out Odell Beckham Jr. and second-year wide out Sterling Shepard, and to provide a mentor for both of them.
Marshall is probably not going to put up monster numbers. But if teams continue to blanket Beckham, he will certainly excel as the team’s second option. It’s a pick-your-poison situation for opposing teams: whether they want to be burnt by Marshall, Beckham, or Shepard. Marshall will be a great target in the red zone as well, something the Giants have been lacking. He was relatively cheap to boot, with a contract running only two years for $12 million, with just $5 million guaranteed. This is a great add to the Giants offense.
TE Rhett Ellison
Rhett Ellison is not the flashiest of acquisitions, but he definitely was a necessary one. New York lacked a legitimate blocking tight end like Ellison, so this should help out the offense more than one would think. Ellison also offers an option for the Giants to help out Ereck Flowers in pass protection, should he have trouble. Ellison doesn’t have a ton of production as a receiver, only catching 51 balls for 515 yards and three touchdowns in his five-year career. Then again, he never received that many opportunities in the Minnesota run-first offense. But he’s not going to be in a receiving role for the Giants either, as they probably plan to line him up as a fullback, H-back, and as a short-yardage in-line tight end.
Ellison is a gadget player and will be used in many different ways, including on special teams. New York may have overpaid him a little, giving him a four-year, $18 million contract worth $4.5 million per year. But he should have more value to this squad than his old one given the ways it will use him. This is a solid add for the Giants.
G/T D.J. Fluker
D.J. Fluker will not make a tremendous impact on the Giants’ offense in 2017, but his addition to a struggling offensive line can only help. Fluker is most known as a Chargers first-round draft bust, struggling through his rookie contract after being selected 11th overall by San Diego in 2013. He did show promise in his rookie year, but he has gone downhill from there. However, the 6’5″ 339 lb offensive lineman is only 26. It’s certainly not the end of the road for him after a failed rookie contract. Fluker will have the opportunity to compete against the newly re-signed John Jerry for the right guard job and third-year right tackle Bobby Hart. He certainly is not guaranteed a starting job, but he’ll have a shot at more than one.
Fluker came cheap too, signing for one year and $3 million, which is a bargain considering how the rest of the offensive line market shook out. This is a low-risk move for New York and adds depth to a struggling position group. At the very least, he will provide competition for the Giants’ current offensive linemen. This move probably won’t be the story of their 2017 season. It should help them build towards another playoff run, though.
The acquisitions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Rhett Ellison, and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker should undoubtedly improve a struggling Giants’ offense in 2017. These moves will also allow the team to focus on other positions in the draft, even though it may still draft a tight end and offensive lineman. All three moves were fairly cost effective, allowing further moves to follow. NY subsequently re-signed guard John Jerry, backup quarterback Josh Johnson, and provided a blockbuster contract to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
What’s next for Giants’ offense?
New York should pursue more offensive line depth as free agency wears on and through the draft. Tight end and running back will be addressed as well. The Giants can taste a Lombardi Trophy; they’re close. This could be one of the most crucial offseasons for them in a long time. Given that Eli Manning’s career window is closing, who they add now will determine if they’ll be hoisting a fifth Lombardi come February.