Free Agents Giants Should Pursue After 2021 NFL Draft
The New York Giants attacked the 2021 NFL draft with a desire to add value. General manager Dave Gettleman traded down in each of the first two rounds but still acquired potential early contributors in wideout Kadarius Toney and edge-rusher Azeez Ojulari.
Now that the draft is over, though, finding value will be less important than filling holes. New York, after all, won six games in 2020 and came close to stealing the NFC East title. Making the playoffs should be a priority in 2021.
New York can look to continue filling holes during post-draft free agency, though it may have to create some cap space and/or focus primarily on budget options. According to Spotrac, the Giants only have an estimated $3.8 million in cap space with the top 51 player contracts considered.
With all of this in mind, let's examine three free agents the Giants should target following the draft.
G Trai Turner
The Giants should be in the market for interior offensive line help after parting with a solid starter in guard Kevin Zeitler this offseason. Gettleman didn't grab a single offensive lineman during the draft, so it would make sense to pursue that help in the free-agent market.
Guard Trai Turner remains available after being released by the Los Angeles Chargers in March. Los Angeles parted with Turner after only one season and nine games—his campaign was hampered by a groin injury. However, Turner is only 27 and was a five-time Pro Bowler with the Carolina Panthers before being dealt to L.A.
While Turner is a bit of a reclamation project and probably one of the more pricey options still available, he would be a logical addition if New York can make the dollars work.
G/C Joe Looney
While 30-year-old interior lineman Joe Looney would be more of a budget option, bringing him in would make a ton of sense for the Giants. Though a longtime backup, Looney started 32 games with the Dallas Cowboys over five seasons.
Looney has experience at both guard and center, plus a long history with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
According to Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com, New York was interested in signing Looney last year before he decided to return to Dallas.
Would Looney be a high-end replacement for Zeitler at guard? No, but he could be a valuable depth piece at a cap-friendly price. Line depth will be important with the NFL moving to a 17-game regular season, so Looney is definitely a player worth considering.
Edge Everson Griffen
Even though New York did draft Ojulari, it never hurts to have pass-rushing depth on the edge. This is especially true for the Giants, who saw 11.5 of their 40 sacks in 2020 come from defensive tackle Leonard Williams.
New York would be wise to complement Williams with more pressure off the edge, and Everson Griffen is a player who could provide it.
Though Griffen is 33, he showed he still has something in the proverbial tank last season—his first away from the Minnesota Vikings. In 14 games between the Cowboys and Detroit Lions, he amassed six sacks 33 total tackles and 23 quarterback pressures.
Griffen was a Pro Bowler as recently as the 2019 season.
Signing Griffen would likely be a short-term move for the Giants, but it could provide defensive coordinator Patrick Graham with another pass-rushing presence while he develops Ojulari as a more long-term solution.
Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.