A week into NFL free agency, the New York Giants are running out of money to spend. There is an assumption that a few releases or contract restructurings are coming to free up salary cap space. Even if that happens, New York has to pinch pennies with its remaining signings. The team also has to set aside money for its rookie class. Things will be tight.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t any players for the team to target. On the contrary, after the rush of free agency opening, now and deeper into the spring is the time to find value. All remaining players have flaws. Some are more pronounced than others. A team has to know what it’s looking for. Here are 10 players the Giants should continue to pursue.
Defensive Tackles Johnathan Hankins, Frostee Rucker
Bringing back Hankins to complete last year’s prolific front foursome is still the Giants’ goal. It was easy to assume the team would be priced out of the Hankins sweepstakes. But the longer he remains unsigned, the less that appears to be true. If he still ends up costing around the same as Brandon Williams, New York will have to look elsewhere. Veteran options remain, such as Rucker. The team doesn’t need a star in this second tackle spot; just a contributing player who knows what he is doing down to down.
Offensive tackles King Dunlap, Byron Bell
Once again, there is a Plan A and a Plan B with offensive tackle. Plan A is surely to find a legitimate starting left tackle and to move Ereck Flowers to the right side. All the best tackles on the market were scooped up, though. Dunlap is an interesting piece but would appear to have a lower ceiling than Flowers. That may be nothing more than a sideways move. The other option is to bring in a true right tackle like Bell, whose value is low after injuries cost him his 2016. He would solidify four fifths of the line, making Flowers the lone issue.
Linebackers Erik Walden, Sio Moore
New York has an acceptable starting trio of linebackers but nothing in terms of depth. And even those starters would seem to possess relatively low ceilings. Keenan Robinson is someone whose role needs to be replaced as well. Walden and Moore are not huge names, like a Dont’a Hightower, but as stated, the Giants are priced out of the elite group at each position.
Running backs Brandon Oliver, Tim Hightower
I had mentioned Hightower earlier in the offseason as a good target for this organization. Though he isn’t an every-down back, he provides the presence and backup to Paul Perkins that NY should be searching for. Oliver could play a similar role. Both backs have the ability to start and carry the ball 20 times in a pinch. They can also take a back seat to Perkins if he figures it all out in year two.
Quarterbacks Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel
The Giants have no backup quarterback on the roster right now. They may be waiting for the draft to fill this spot with a high-upside rookie. However, there are a pair of relatively young QB’s still available in free agency that would feel like a better use of resources. Smith and Manuel both tried and failed to be starters. This would give either one an attempt to learn behind Eli Manning and perhaps salvage their careers.