By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Now that free agency, the 2020 NFL draft and the UDFA signing phase has ended, the New York Giants currently have 14 linebackers on the roster heading into training camp. This total could increase or decrease by the time they in 2020.
Another officially start training camp, however; it signifies the importance of the linebacker position by new Head Coach Joe Judge. During the old regime, former GM Jerry Reese neglected this position in the early rounds of the draft and never really made it a priority in free agency.
While only a total of eight to 9 linebackers usually make the final roster, the Giants could also place some on the practice squad factor to keep an eye on is that the Giants have recently placed the UFA tender on Markus Golden; which basically means that if another team signs him before July 22, the Giants will receive compensation for him. It also means that if Golden is still unsigned after July 22, the Giants can re-sign him for 110% above his 2019 salary; which translate to roughly $4.2M.
So Giant fans, there is a strong possibility that Markus Golden will be a New York Giant in 2020. Below is the list of ILB and OLB currently on the Giants roster:
NY Giants Roster:
ILB (7): Blake Martinez, David Mayo, Ryan Connelly, Tae Crowder, T.J Bronson, Josiah Tauaefa, Chris Peace.
OLB (7): Klyer Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Davante Downs, Carter Coughlin, Cameron Jones, Dana Levine.
So if we assume Golden will be back in the mix, the New York Giants will arguably have the best group of linebackers probably since their last two Super Bowl years.
The addition of talent at the linebacker position will not only help a defense that was strapping near the bottom of nearly every defensive category in 2019, it will also enhance the special teams as many of the 2020 draft picks, along with UDFA signings will have their best chance by making the roster through special teams.
New Head Coach Joe Judge was a special teams coach and he understands the importance of having a potential potent special team squad. At this time, it’s a little too early to project who the final picks will be to make the roster as I will leave that for a future article weeks before opening day.
GM Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Joe Judge will have to make some tough decisions when the time comes to make some cuts at the linebacker position. Keep in mind that the NFL rosters have been expanded from 53 to 55 for 2020 on game day with the addition of two practice squad players (per new collective bargaining agreement), as the same can be said for the practice squad; which will increase from 10 to 12 players.
The probability of all 14 (possibly 15 if Golden returns) making the rosters (final roster and practice squad) is extremely unlikely. Depending on the candidates for the practice squad, it’s likely that maybe two linebackers will be assigned there and nine will make the roster, leaving the possibility of three being cut/released. The million-dollar question is which three will it be? In the upcoming weeks, I will breakdown certain positions/players on the Giants roster leading up to training camp.