NFL News & Analysis

2017 Free Agency Preview: New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Johnathan Hankins #95 of the New York Giants in action against the Dallas Cowboys on December 11, 2016 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

[Editor's note: This preview was originally published on Feb. 23, 2017, and updated on March 6 to reflect changes in the market do to franchise tags, re-signings, cuts, etc.]

What you need to know

An under-pressure Jerry Reese decided to go aggressive last offseason, overhauling the Giants defensive personnel with a number of high-priced free agents. The additions of Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins were an unmitigated success. Reese could plausibly attempt to repeat that feat, or he could return to his more cautionary approach. The Giants’ strategy this offseason will be particularly intriguing.

Salary cap room

$14,097,520 (27th in NFL; as of 3/6/17)

Biggest needs

  • Defensive end
  • Offensive tackle
  • Wide receiver
  • Linebacker

Notable free agents

  • Victor Cruz, WR, 53.9
  • Keenan Robinson, LB, 43.4
  • Rashad Jennings, RB, 58.0
  • John Jerry, G, 77.0
  • Johnathan Hankins, DT, 47.1

Must re-sign

Jason Pierre-Paul, Edge, 86.2 overall grade in 2016 (franchise tagged)

The Giants’ resurgence under Steve Spagnuolo owed a great deal to their bookend pass-rushing pair of Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. It is a long-standing Giants tradition, the duo following in the footsteps of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. JPP was hampered by his hand injury, but still managed 54 combined pressures and seven batted passes in 2016. Lowering his cap hit from the franchise tag value of $16.9 million is a priority.

Dream splash

Andrew Whitworth, LT, Cincinnati Bengals, 91.3

The Ereck Flowers experiment continues to falter on the left side. On the right, the Giants were forced to turn back to Marshall Newhouse late in the year. Tackle is a desperate need for New York. What better solution could there be than the league’s best blindside protector over the past decade?

Top 2017 free agency prospects

Pierre Garçon, WR, Washington Redskins, 85.8

Releasing Victor Cruz opens a starting spot opposite Odell Beckham Jr., with Sterling Shepard manning the slot. Garçon’s possession-based style would be the perfect complement to OBJ’s explosive playmaking skills.

Jabaal Sheard, Edge, New England Patriots, 79.6

Should Pierre-Paul receive a game-changing offer — a possibility in this market — the Giants could look at Sheard as an alternative. He is a consistent pass-rusher and won’t require a huge contract, freeing up resources to be used elsewhere.

Zach Brown, LB, Buffalo Bills, 84.1

Brown’s signature would be a first for a Jerry Reese front office. The franchise has frankly refused to invest in the linebacker position in recent memory. Brown would inject an athletic presence into the corps, capable of matching up with the modern specimens at tight end and running.

2017 Free Agency Rankings
Top 50 free agents
Every 2017 free agent ranked by 2016 overall grade
10 free agents who can make an immediate impact
10 veteran free agents worth a one-year contract
10 sleeper free agents who could bring surprise upside
10 splash free-agent signings we’d like to see
Quarterback rankings
Running back rankings
Wide receiver rankings
Tight end rankings
Offensive linemen rankings
Edge defender rankings
Interior defender rankings
Cornerback rankings
Safety rankings
Linebacker rankings
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