By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
This is part two of trade options that GM Dave Gettleman could consider before the 2021 NFL draft. Offensive Guard Kevin Zeitler has the most experience and a more establish resume among the current Giants offensive linemen. Zeitler also has the highest salary as well with a $14.5M tag for 2021. The Giants can also consider extending Zeitler another year; which would lower his cap to $8.75M for the next two seasons. Despite being on the other side of 30 years old, Zeitler still has some value and with other pressing needs; the Giants could look to see if any teams would have interest. Let’s take a look at the Top 3 teams that could be willing to make a deal with the Giants.
Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers invested in quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020 and he responded in a solid rookie season despite playing behind an under achieving offensive line. Adding a Kevin Zeitler would certainly upgrade one of their guard positions with Forrest Lamp anchoring the other spot. Having an experience guard to help protect him could go a long way to Herbert’s development.
Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders could be an interested partner to swing a deal for Zeitler as they have had issues with their offensive line; especially at the guard position where veteran Gabe Jackson is showing some rust and rookie John Simpson could still use a little more time to develop. Adding Zeitler for 2021 or possibly 2022 (extension) would give the Raiders more stability along the offensive line.
Minnesola Vikings: The Vikings also have some issues at the guard position with Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia providing marginal production. Kevin Zeitler would definitely be an upgrade over either player and help the Vikings get a step closer to the Packers.
By trading Zeitler, the Giants would add a big chunk to their cap space with $12M with only $2.5M in dead money. When you add in Evan Engram’s $6M cap space (no dead money), that’s $18M of additional cap space to play with. The Giants still have Will Hernandez who can pair up with Shane Lemieux to give the Giants a young duo and they could also look to draft an offensive guard on either Days 2 or 3. With only 6 picks in the draft, if the Giants can make deals for Evan Engram and Kevin Zeitler for additional pick/picks; they could utilize them in the draft that is being projected as the deepest since 2010.