3 Biggest Free-Agent Decisions for New Giants GM and Coach in 2022 Offseason

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2022

3 Biggest Free-Agent Decisions for New Giants GM and Coach in 2022 Offseason

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    The New York Giants will undergo a major face lift in their front office and on the sidelines for the 2022 season. 

    Not only are they looking for a head coach to replace Joe Judge, but the NFC East team will also be looking for a new voice at general manager after Dave Gettleman's retirement. 

    The new regime faces the task of taking over a franchise that hasn't seen a winning season in five years. Among the first questions they will have to figure out is who is worth retaining from the team's current crop of free agents. 

    Obviously, this isn't a roster teeming with talent, but there are a number of players who were contributors and are now set to depart. 

    The new head coach and GM will have to decide if any of the following three names should feature in the Giants' plans for 2022 and beyond. 

TE Evan Engram

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    Evan Engram never lived up to his billing as a first-round pick in his rookie deal with the Giants. His production peaked in his debut season when he had 64 catches for 722 yards and six touchdowns. 

    That's a frustrating career arc. The 27-year-old has shown flashes of being the athletic tight end the Giants thought they were getting in 2017, but they have been few and far between.

    Engram put forth his worst season yet in the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, with a career-low 5.6 yards per target and an average of just 27.2 yards per game. 

    Now, the new Giants regime will have to determine how much of his lack of production was due to the player and how much was down to the scheme and quarterback play of Daniel Jones. 

    In all likelihood, Engram is gone. His struggles predate both Joe Judge and Jones' arrival on the scene. Even though his market value is projected to be a reasonable $6.7 million per year, he's likely getting that somewhere other than New York. 

S Jabrill Peppers

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    Jabrill Peppers has a much better case to stay in a Giants uniform. For one, he's been a more consistently productive player when he's been on the field. 

    The 26-year-old joined the Giants in 2019 as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and was an immediate contributor on the defense. He forced three fumbles, racked up 76 tackles and even had a pick-six in 11 games. The following year he had 91 tackles, 11 passes defended and eight tackles for loss. 

    Peppers has also been a captain for the last two seasons, establishing a reputation for leadership. 

    The problem is that he is also establishing a reputation for being injury-prone. He only appeared in seven games this season due to a torn ACL after missing chunks of 2019 and 2020 with injury. 

    The Giants have other options at safety, too. Xavier McKinney will enter the third year of his rookie contract, and New York is already locked in to pay Logan Ryan $12.2 million in 2022. 

Edge Lorenzo Carter

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    Up until the final four games of the 2021 season, Lorenzo Carter's Giants career could best be described as disappointing.

    The 2018 third-round pick had 8.5 sacks over the first two seasons of his career. That was promising, but a torn Achilles ruined his third season in 2020. For the first 13 weeks of 2021 it appeared he was going to hit free agency with little upside. 

    Then Carter went on a tear over the final four weeks of the season and racked up five sacks during that spell with an interception to boot. 

    That leaves the 26-year-old as an interesting free agent moving forward. He showed he can be dominant in a limited stretch, but small sample sizes are one of the biggest dangers when it comes to free agency. 

    Typically, spending too much on such a short run of games is bad business, but Carter could be achieving the vast potential he had coming out of Georgia now that he's finally healthy.