Looking to Help on the Offensive Line
By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman should already be hard at work evaluating how to fill the many needs currently on the roster. One way will be through free agency; which officially begins March 13th and as many Giant fans already know; Gettleman will need to choose wisely as he will have roughly $38M (before any cuts/releases/trades). Therefore; I will focus on offensive linemen or hog mollies; which is the term used by Dave Gettleman when describing offensive and defensive linemen.
This list will not include current Giants on the roster, but only free agents outside the organization that I believe would be the Giants top choices in terms of talent, budget and fit. Aside from the minor free agent signings, we’ll see this off-season; this article will only focus on players who I believe will be a starter and expected to play a major role in 2019 and/or beyond. So you won’t see the names of free agents such as right tackle Bobby Massie (Chicago), right guard Roger Saffold and center Ryan Kalil as they would be too expensive in my opinion for the Giants.
- Daryl Williams (RT) Carolina Panthers: Williams has emerged as the Giants top free agent target despite missing a majority of the season with a knee injury. Dave Gettleman drafted Williams when he was the GM of the Panthers and just like last season when he tried to sign Andrew Norwell, Gettleman will look to bring Williams on board and fill the right tackle position that has been a problem for several years. Williams was injured in the first game of the season but had a solid 2017 season with PFF rating of 78.0; which ranked third behind Ryan Ramczyk and Lane Johnson. Williams only made a little over $709k, but expect that amount to increase and likely be around $8M per.
- Ja’Wuan James (RT) Miami Dolphins: If Gettleman fails in this attempt to land Daryl Williams, there’s always plan B and that would be the pursuit of right tackle Ja’Wuan James. James like Williams would be a major upgrade from current starter Chad Wheeler and would help solidify the Giants offensive line problems. James only made $2.1M in 2018, but expect an increase this off season for James as well. Gettleman will increase the cap space after cuts/releases. James was solid in both run blocking and pass protection and if the Giants are looking for a long term option at right tackle, James could be the answer. However; the price will probably be around $10M per year.
- Matt Paradis (OC) Denver Broncos: Before the injury to Jon Halapio, the Giants were content having him as their center, however; this could change if Matt Paradis price tag is within the Giants budget. Paradis had a 79.0 PFF rating in 2018; which was lights year higher than any other Giants center in 2018. In my opinion, having a solid and dependable center is equally important as having a productive right tackle. It’s not a reach to believe that if the price is right, Gettleman could sign Paradis and move Halapio to either right guard (played there in 2017 for six games) if Jamon Brown isn’t re-signed. Or if Brown is re-signed, Halapio would serve as a backup for both the center the guard position. Paradis would more than likely cost any team interested in signing him at least $6M per year.
- Mitch Morse (OC) Kansas City Chiefs: If Paradise is out of play, then Gettleman could move on to plan B and see if he could sign center Mitch Morse, who is younger, should cost less than Paradis and does come with a compensation tag. Morse PFF rating was 69.5 in 2018; which was still higher than any Giants center in 2018. Morse would provide stability anchoring the Giants offensive line and give them more talent along the offensive line. It’s a risk the Giants might want to take considering the upside the 26-year-old Morse has and the fact that Spencer Pulley could provide a decent insurance policy behind him if the Giants choose to re-sign him. Morse would probably come a little cheaper than Paradis as many project his price tag to be roughly $4.5M per year.
- Ben Garland (OG) Atlanta Falcons: Garland made $2.9M in 2018 for the falcons and had a PFF rating of 69.3; which graded higher than any other offensive guard on the Giants current roster. Garland is efficient as a pass protector and equally as a run blocker. Garland blocks well in open space (screens and sweeps); and has a blue collar mentality. Signing Garland would be a last option for the Giants if they fail to re-sign Jamon Brown or feel that there’s no other option at right guard already on the current roster. The Giants could ink the 32 year old free agent to a two year deal roughly at $5M per year.
Final Thoughts: I believe the Giants will be targeting offensive linemen despite the offensive line showing improvement in the second half of the season. Right tackle and center are clearly the weakest links for the Giants, however; if Jon Halapio makes a full recovery, the Giants liked what they saw in him to possibly not pursue any top centers in free agency. I expect the Giants to sign a right tackle from the names mentioned above as their first priority.
Also, I do see the Giants drafting an offensive tackle in the draft as well; along with possibly two more linemen. It’s still uncertain how much cap space Gettleman can add to the projected $42M already available before free agency begins as his biggest cap savings on many of the players projected to be cuts/releases would be after June 1st. Lastly, if I had to pick one player from the above list who I would like to see the Giants sign without factoring in the price tag; it would be Daryl Williams.