The 2020-21 NFL season has come to a close, but the new league year is set to begin next month. With that, comes the start of free agency, a frenzy that includes tons of rumors and speculation. The New York Giants will definitely try to bolster their roster by signing players that hit the market. Last off-season looks to be a success, with the signings of James Bradberry and Blake Martinez paying off well. The Giants have quite the list of their own impending free agents, and they need to make a decision on them soon. Here are who New York should re-sign and let walk this off-season:
Decisions on New York Giants Free Agents: Who Should Stay, Who Should Walk
The Two Biggest Decisions
The Giants have one of the best defensive lines in football. Their trio of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams combined with great depth pieces in B.J. Hill and Austin Johnson, make for a tough wall for offenses to break through. Two players from that list will be the biggest decisions that the Giants will have to make in the next couple of weeks.
Potential Contract: $18-$20 million per year
Leonard Williams received lots of heat from fans last off-season after a disappointing outing with the Giants. Williams was dealt from the New York Jets to the Giants in early November of 2019, which was questionable at the time considering the team was 1-7 and should have been looking to sell assets rather than trade them away. Nonetheless, general manager Dave Gettleman took a risk on the young defensive lineman and it worked in 2020.
Williams went on an absolute tear in his first full season with Big Blue. He totaled 11.5 sacks, 30 quarterback hits and 14 tackles for loss, all of those being career highs. A lot of criticism about Williams prior to 2020 was his inability to sack the quarterback. While his pressures were still relatively high in only eight games with the Giants in 2019, he only totaled 0.5 sacks. Fast forward one year later, and Williams racked up *three* sacks against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17.
There is no denying that Leonard Williams will receive the desired contract that he deserves. His stellar play in 2020 makes him one of the top free agents heading into this off-season. Hopefully, he and the Giants can come to an agreement so he can stay in East Rutherford for a long time.
Verdict: Re-sign (only at the right price)
Potential Contract: $10-$12 million per year
Dalvin Tomlinson is what seems like a rare homegrown player. Drafted back in 2017, Tomlinson has been a consistent nose tackle his entire career so far. In 2020, Tomlinson totaled 49 tackles, 3.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits and four passes defensed. What Tomlinson does so well is stop the run while having the ability to rush the passer when needed. His 3.5 sacks in 2020 tied his career high, which was in 2019. Tomlinson consistently garners double teams, opposing offenses know he is a force to be reckoned with, especially in the run game.
Logan Ryan, one of the leaders for this growing Giants team had good words to say about Tomlinson during the season.
“I think Dalvin is having as good of a year as anybody on our defense,” Ryan said to Newsday. “He’s the nose guard getting double-teamed every play, but he’s taking up two blocks, causing disruption, getting interior push . . . Leonard’s having a great year statistically, but [Tomlinson] is having a better year for our team and what we ask him to do.”
Dalvin Tomlinson is an elite run stopper, and provides so much more than traditional run stuffers in years past. The Giants do have a history of letting defensive tackles walk in free agency, such as Jonathan Hankins and Linval Joseph. Hankins never amounted to anything, but Joseph has been a consistent run stopper since he left.
The Giants would like to bring back both Williams *and* Tomlinson. Tomlinson, especially, has expressed his desire to stay with the Giants for the rest of his career, and that is what they intend to do. However, the cap situation is tight this year. Yes, the team can make moves to clear space, but signing two defensive linemen in a year where some of that money needs to be allocated to positions of need, such as the offense, could be risky.
Tomlinson could be a franchise tag candidate, at around $13 million for the 2021 season. It is likely that the Giants can not bring back both players, but if they do, fans should be excited and relieved.
Other Impending Free Agents
Wayne Gallman: Re-Sign (At the right price)
Wayne Gallman finally got his chance after both Saquon Barkley and Devonta Freeman went down with injuries. Gallman rushed for 682 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry in 2020. He likely played himself into a new contract, as his status before 2020 was in question.
However, the Giants will likely be paying Saquon Barkley soon, and he will not come cheap. If the Giants can keep Gallman as the backup to Barkley and incorporate a one-two punch in the backfield, that would be beneficial to both players and the offense overall. Gallman likely will draw interest on the market after a good year. If New York can retain him at the right price, they definitely should keep him.
Kyler Fackrell: Let Walk
Fackrell was brought in on a one-year deal, hoping to provide pass-rush experience to a young group. Fackrell had an okay year in 2020, totaling four sacks and seven tackles for loss in 12 games. Fackrell was not bad by any means, he even had an exciting pick-six against the Cowboys in Week 5.
However, the Giants are trying to find better edge-rusher talent, and it is certainly out there. If they can retain Fackrell on another team-friendly deal, then he should come back. If not, there are other options available.
Cameron Fleming: Let Walk
Cameron Fleming was absolutely horrible in 2020. He is certainly not even close to the answer at right tackle, and going into a year where you absolutely need your young quarterback to succeed, having Fleming as one of his protectors is a mistake.
Colt McCoy: Re-sign
Colt McCoy stepped in for Daniel Jones when he was injured a few times in 2020. While he is not the *best* backup quarterback on the market, he did his part and provided guidance to Jones along the way.
The Giants should definitely not roll into 2021 with McCoy as the second quarterback on the roster, but keeping him around as a veteran presence could prove beneficial for Jones in a prove it year.
Nate Ebner: Let Walk
Ebner was brought in mainly for his special teams presence and his connection to Joe Judge. Ebner is getting older, and was honestly not a real factor in 2020. The Giants could find better special teamers on the market, such as familiar face Michael Thomas, who is scheduled to be a free agent in March.
Dion Lewis: Let Walk
Same as Fleming, Dion Lewis at times was horrible. Fans held their breath every time he went to receive a kick. Lewis was also a non-factor in the run game, even when Saquon Barkley went down. The Giants could easily find a younger, better backup running back.
Austin Johnson: Re-Sign
Johnson proved to be a nice depth piece on this emerging defensive line. He only played in 21% of defensive snaps, but when rotated in for guys like Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson, Johnson held his own. He also should not garner a ton of money either. Keeping the chemistry of the defensive line is key, even with the depth.
Jabaal Sheard: Re-Sign
Like Johnson, Sheard was another nice depth piece on the defensive line, he was just signed later on in the season. Sheard appeared in nine games for the Giants, his signature moment being the game-winning sack and forced fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals to keep the Giants winning streak alive. Sheard also should not cost much, so bringing him back would be good for team chemistry.
Alfrid Morris: Let Walk
Casey Kreiter: Re-Sign
Adrian Colbert: Let Walk
Ryan Lewis: Re-Sign
Madre Harper: Let Walk
Austin Mack: Re-Sign
C.J. Board: Re-Sign
David Sills: Re-Sign
Last Word on Giants Free Agents
The Giants will have plenty decisions to make prior and during free agency. They have lots of areas to improve in, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Most importantly, retaining some of their own free agents will be key if they want to build off of their developmental 2020 season.
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