Giants' Top Trade Targets Entering 2021 NFL Offseason
The New York Giants are bringing a bit of continuity into the 2021 offseason, as both head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman will be back. The challenge now will be to improve upon this year's 6-10 campaign that left the Giants just short of an NFC East title.
Naturally, New York will look to free agency and the draft to improve its roster. However, the trade market must also be considered. The Giants' window in the division is just beginning to open, and a few bold offseason moves could put them back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.
Here, we'll examine three potential trade targets for the Giants to consider. Factors like team fit, team need and player potential will be considered. However, we'll be operating in the realm of the hypothetical to some degree, as they will likely require a hefty amount of work on the salary cap to get done.
The Giants are projected to be more than $13 million over the cap this offseason, and they have quality players like Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson slated to hit the market. These are issues we'll leave up to the front office to sort out.
The Giants seem content to give quarterback Daniel Jones another season to prove himself. That's fine, as Jones may indeed emerge as a quality signal-caller. However, when an All-Pro-caliber talent like Deshaun Watson potentially becomes available, the Giants would be wise to consider it.
Watson wants away from the Houston Texans. While Houston may not be eager to deal an elite passer, it has considered it enough to put together an asking price.
"They'll want 2 ones, 2 twos and 2 young defensive starters, at the least," John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweeted.
This is a steep price, to be sure, but this is a deal that could set the Giants up for dominance in the NFC East for the foreseeable future. Watson is one of the few truly elite signal-callers in the NFL, and at just 25 years old, he's likely to remain so for the next decade-plus.
While Jones has shown flashes of promise, he's proved nothing on the level that Watson has. And while turning back to the draft could land New York a true franchise quarterback, the draft is always a gamble.
Watson is a sure thing.
While most of the focus in Houston has been centered on Watson's situation, future Hall of Fame pass-rusher J.J. Watt could also wind up on the trading block. Like the Giants, the Texans are facing a tough cap situation—they're projected to be more than $17 million over the cap—and they could save $17.5 million by dumping the final year of Watt's contract.
This is a potential move that would make the most sense if New York is unable to re-sign emerging pass-rusher Williams. However, bringing back Williams wouldn't negate the need for an improved pass rush.
Williams was responsible for more than one-fourth (11.5) of New York's 40 sacks in 2020.
The Giants featured the league's ninth-ranked scoring defense this season. Adding a prolific pass-rusher to the equation is at least worth consideration, even if it would take some serious financial finagling to get a deal done.
While defensive tackle Danny Shelton isn't as spicy of a trade target as either Watson or Watt, he's a much more realistic option. He's set to carry a cap hit of just over $5 million in 2021. That's not a huge number, but the Detroit Lions could still save $4 million by parting with him.
Trading for Shelton could provide New York with insurance along the defensive line. There's a good chance that the Giants cannot keep both Williams and Tomlinson, and Williams may be the team's priority. Shelton could step in and help bolster the run defense in Tomlinson's absence. The 27-year-old former first-round pick amassed 37 tackles and a sack in 12 games last season and had a whopping 61 tackles the previous year.
Shelton might not create many headlines in New York, but he's a capable space-eater who could potentially help the Giants defense for years to come.
*Contract and cap information via Spotrac