Early Free-Agent Contracts the Giants Must Consider
The 2020 NFL season didn't quite go as the New York Giants might have hoped, though the franchise did show promise. The Giants managed just a 6-10 record and fell short of the postseason, but head coach Joe Judge seems to have his squad on the right track.
With a few more key additions on the roster, New York could become a force in the wide-open NFC East. The first chance to build on the roster will come in free agency, which is scheduled to kick off March 17. New York will have to free up some cap space—the team is projected to be more than $13 million over the cap—but it should have its eye on a few top targets.
Here we'll examine three players the Giants should be considering adding in free agency. Both internal and external options will be considered here, along with factors like cap space, team needs, player production and team fit.
DL Leonard Williams
If there's one player the Giants should be eager to re-sign this offseason, it's defensive lineman Leonard Williams—and not just because general manager Dave Gettleman has invested heavily in him.
Simply put, Williams proved to be a game-wrecker this season. He appeared in all 16 games and finished with 57 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Additionally, Williams fits the coaching staff and the roster.
"We love him in the building, he's a great teammate, he's fun to coach," Judge said, per Steve Serby of the New York Post. "He makes your job a lot easier in terms of coming to work and enjoying your job, but then also making plays on the field, 'cause really, players make coaches good or not."
The Giants will have a tough decision to make between Williams and fellow defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, as retaining both probably isn't going to happen. Williams has been the more disruptive of the two, so he should be the priority.
Re-signing Williams won't be easy. His projected market value is $11.2 million per season. Still, it would be wise to get a deal done before the start of free agency.
LB Matt Milano
Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham forged an impressive defensive unit in 2020, and with a few additional pieces, it could be championship-caliber. Adding a rangy, run-stuffing linebacker like Matt Milano of the Buffalo Bills could help take the defense where it wants to be.
Milano was limited to 10 games in 2020, but when healthy in 2019, he shone. He played 15 games and finished with 101 tackles, nine passes defended and 1.5 sacks.
As a second-level defender, Milano could augment New York's stout defensive front. He could also be an asset in pass defense, as he allowed an opposing passer rating of just 70.9 this past season.
Signing the 26-year-old could be difficult given New York's cap situation. He's projected to have a market value of a little under $14 million annually. However, signing Milano isn't going to break the bank like bringing in an elite edge-rusher or cornerback might, and it would be worth freeing up the cap space to get a deal done.
WR Curtis Samuel
If the Giants are looking to get the most out of quarterback Daniel Jones—and they should be—then they need to improve the weapons around him. Running back-receiver hybrid Curtis Samuel of the Carolina Panthers could be a fine addition for this purpose.
The 24-year-old amassed an impressive 200 rushing yards, 851 receiving yards and five total touchdowns in 2020. But again, Samuel won't be a full-on budget option, which could be an issue with New York's cap space. He is projected to have a market value of $12.4 million annually.
However, Samuel isn't going to command the free-agency dollars of a player like Allen Robinson II or Kenny Golladay and could be viewed as a relatively cheap alternative. If the Giants can figure out how to add him, they could boost both their running and passing games in the process.
Contract and cap information via Spotrac.