NY Giants: GM Jerry Reese has Free Agent Options at OG
By Michael Stewart
The 2016 Giants offense struggled and was less effective than in 2015 despite making the playoffs, thanks to a strong defense. One reason was the dismal running attack which saw the Giants rank near the bottom of the league in total rushing yards per game and yards per carry.
Although both of these stats improved a little once RB Paul Perkins took over as the starter over Rashad Jennings. The fact of the matter is the Giants need to address the personnel, starting with Offensive Guard. RG Justin Pugh had a solid season and is safe as the Giants starting RG. However; LG John Jerry is a different story as he is the weakest link at the OG position. GM Jerry Reese can look top FA as well as the draft to find an OG that would improve the Giants OL immediately. Below I have 4 possible FA OG that could be available:
OG-Kevin Zeitler (26) 6’3/320 (Cincinnati): Zeitler has been one of the most consistent OG since his arrival in 2012. Justin Pugh is the only reliable OG on the Giants OL, it would make sense for GM Jerry Reese to see what it would take for the Giants to lure Zeitler in Blue and White. The Giants running game was near the bottom in the league in both yards per game and yards per carry. Signing Zeitler gives you youth and ability.
OG-Larry Warford (25) 6’3/317 (Detroit): Warford graded out as the 21st best guard in 2016; which was his lowest grade over the past 4 seasons. Warford is a better run blocker than a pass defender, however; in the Giants west coast offense, getting a solid run blocker is more vital. Warford is not a glamorous signing like Zeitler would be, but he would certainly cost less and is better than OG John Jerry.
OG/OT-Oday Aboushi (25) 6’5/315 (Houston): Aboushi doesn’t have the fanfare that Zeitler, Warford or even Wagner has, however; if GM Jerry Reese is looking for an OG that excels in the running game and comes at a low cost, high reward. Aboushi would be an upgrade over current Giants OG John Jerry and would give the Giants a much-needed bolt to the running attack. Aboushi only made roughly $700K in 2016. His price tag should sway Reese from exploring the idea of signing him.
OG/OT-Ricky Wagner (27) 6’6/310 (Baltimore Ravens): Wagner has played both the OG & OT position in the NFL, but more recently he’s playing the OG position. Wagner is a punishing run blocker and adequate pass defender, who will most likely play OG moving forward. Reports have Wagner getting a multi-year contract (3-4 years for around $5M-$6M per). The Giants will certainly have enough in their cap space to entertain Wagner as their new OG in 2017.
GM Jerry Reese can go in many directions to find an OG for 2017 and beyond; as he will certainly have enough cap space to find one in free agency. A more conservative route would be through the draft as there are plenty of OG’s available In every round. I don’t see the Giants trading for one as there aren’t any available that’s worth investing in (base on reports). So look for Reese to use the draft and/or FA to find his RG.