Free-Agent Contracts Giants Must Consider Before Training Camp

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2022

Free-Agent Contracts Giants Must Consider Before Training Camp

0 of 3

    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    It's never too late in the offseason for an NFL team to improve its roster. While the free-agent market may not be loaded with big names in July, some quality players typically remain unsigned. Teams can also explore summer trades, as the Carolina Panthers just did with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

    The New York Giants are among the teams that should still be adding pieces ahead of training camp. While this is largely going to be a rebuilding season for the Giants, evaluating young talent will be part of the process.

    Strengthening a few key positions could aid New York's quest to find out what it has at other spots.

    Unfortunately, the Giants are limited financially, holding just $8.4 million in available cap space. This means that adding one of the few remaining stars is extremely unlikely. Here, we'll examine three budget alternatives New York should at least consider before the start of camp on July 26.

TE Jared Cook

1 of 3

    Steve Marcus/Getty Images

    While the Giants have several young players to evaluate this season, the biggest goal of new head coach Brian Daboll is to see what he has in quarterback Daniel Jones. Having a reliable and proven pass-catching tight end would help aid him in that task tremendously.

    Having a capable and reliable outlet option can work wonders for a young signal-caller. Right now, though, New York has only a pair of serviceable veterans in Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins plus rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger at the top of the depth chart.

    Enter 35-year-old vet Jared Cook, who we last saw helping develop Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers. While Cook is undoubtedly nearing the back end of his career, he was a potent weapon for Herbert in 2021—he finished with 48 receptions, 564 yards and four touchdowns.

    Akins and Seals-Jones combined for 485 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. Neither player has topped 500 receiving yards in a season.

    Given his age, Cook should be a budget-friendly option too. He played on a one-year, $4.5 million deal last season and would likely consider something similar to extend his career for another season.

    Signing Cook to a one-year deal would help give Daboll a fairer evaluation of his 25-year-old quarterback.

S Tashaun Gipson

2 of 3

    Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Giants would love to get an accurate evaluation of rookie first-round pick and pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Oregon product has loads of athletic upside but is still refining his technique.

    "It may take a year or two for Thibodeaux's technique and pass-rushing plan to catch up to his talent," Derrick Klassen of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote.

    It may be difficult, though, for New York to gauge Thibodeaux's effectiveness as a pass-rusher if opponents can consistently get easy completions over the middle. That's a real possibility after the departure of safety Jabrill Peppers.

    Xavier McKinney is a solid starter, but his projected running mate, Julian Love, carries questions. The 2019 fourth-round pick has only 16 starts on his resume and allowed an opposing passer rating of 97.5 in coverage last season.

    Rookie fourth-round pick Dane Belton is entirely unproven.

    New York should take a long look at Tashaun Gipson, who spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. Gipson started all 12 games in which he appeared last season and allowed an opposing passer rating of just 76.0.

    Like Cook, Gipson should be an option who fits into New York's budget. He played on a one-year, $2.6 million deal last season. He's another candidate for a one-year deal and could help give New York a little stability on the back end of its defense.

CB Joe Haden

3 of 3

    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Convincing cornerback Joe Haden to join the Giants may take a little more financial work. The three-time Pro Bowler last played on a two-year, $22.4 million deal and is unlikely to sign on a bargain-basement contract.

    However, if the Giants can creatively structure an offer or free up some cap space, the former Cleveland Brown and Pittsburgh Steeler would make a ton of sense.

    The Giants could use cornerback help after releasing top pass-defender James Bradberry this offseason. New York was respectable against the pass in 2021, ranking 15th in yards allowed and 11th in yards per attempt surrendered, but losing Bradberry hurts.

    New York is expected to rely heavily on young corners like second-year man Aaron Robinson and rookie third-round pick Cordale Flott. Having a seasoned vet like Haden in a leadership role would aid their development.

    Haden can still be a reliable starter as well. He had his fair share of ups and downs with the Steelers last season but was also dealing with a foot injury for much of the year. In 2020, Haden allowed an opposing passer rating of only 75.9 in coverage.

    Even at 33 years old, Haden should have enough left in the proverbial tank to warrant a two- or three-year contract in New York.

    Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.