After being released by the New York Giants earlier in the offseason, Geoff Schwartz has signed with the Detroit Lions, the team announced. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the veteran offensive guard signed a one-year deal.
Schwartz commented on the deal via his Twitter account:
Excited to be the newest member of the @Lions! It's a great opportunity! Healthy and ready to roll! Can't wait to get started— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) March 30, 2016
In one of several cost-cutting moves that saved the team a combined $12 million, the Giants cut Schwartz in February after he spent two years with the team. As the Record's Art Stapleton noted, his time in the Big Apple felt like a disappointment:
The signing of Geoff Schwartz by the Giants was lauded two years ago. He was incredibly unlucky + the transaction failed to stabilize OL.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) February 10, 2016
Expectations only served to drag Schwartz down with the Giants. He was supposed to play a key role on their offensive line, but he couldn't stay healthy long enough to do so. New York also wasn't getting a ton of value from the nearly $17 million it planned on giving him.
Still, given his experience and production last year—which resulted in a team-best 80.5 grade on Pro Football Focus in 2015—it was only a matter of time before Schwartz found a new employer.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report believes Schwartz can be a valuable addition for the Lions if he can stay healthy:
Really good signing by the #Lions. Geoff Schwartz can be a top 10 starter at RG when healthy.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 30, 2016
Schwartz's injury history would be the only potential red flag for any suitors weighing whether or not to sign him. Between 2014 and 2015, he played in 13 games. A toe injury and ankle problem limited his playing time two years ago, and a leg fracture sent him to injured reserve this past December.
In a February interview with Jordan Raanan of NJ Advance Media, Schwartz discussed how breaking his ankle in 2014 lingered well beyond the end of the season:
Was my ankle healthy? Yeah, the joint itself was fine but I spent my whole offseason rehabbing, got to 80 percent and it goes downhill when you start playing. I was never able to train fully in the offseason [...] Then I had some issues with the nerves in my foot where I didn't feel my foot for three games. It's hard to play in those situations, and I did. I played through it.
Following his release from the Giants, Schwartz attempted to allay any fears he'd experience similar issues going into next year:
I'm healthy now, training, and I'll be ready to play for my next team. No doubt I can still ball, and play well.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) February 10, 2016
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo shared a photo he received from the veteran offensive lineman:
Checking on FAs, I asked if former NYG G Geoff Schwartz's leg was OK. I got this back. I'll say that's a yes. pic.twitter.com/qzMohkOjgl— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 4, 2016
In March, Schwartz shared a video from one of his training sessions:
"Insert cliche about being healthy" video from today. 👍🏻💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/3DAWYRgbCR— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) March 15, 2016
Despite how the last two years have unfolded, it might be unfair to call Schwartz injury-prone. He missed three total games in his first four years in the league. Plus, the three injuries that recently felled him don't point to a chronic issue.
This could end up being a nice bargain for the Lions since his value is relatively low after the last two years. If Schwartz can become an anchor of Detroit's offensive line, much like he was with the Kansas City Chiefs, then this will be one of the shrewder additions of the offseason.