By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Gettleman’s Hog Mollies wish list: Defensive Line
Introduction: Continuing with possible free agents GM Dave Gettleman could explore this off season, we shift gears and move to the defensive side; particularly the linebackers and defensive linemen. The Giants defensively in 2018 was not very good as they surrendered the lead in 5 of the 11 losses; especially 3 in the 4th quarter alone.
You’re not going to see players like defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys) or Ezekiel Ansah (Lions), linebackers Dee Ford (Chiefs), Jadeveon Clowney (Texans), Clay Matthews (Packers), K.J Wright (Seahawks), Dante Flowers (Rams) or Anthony Barr (Vikings) and Defensive tackles Grady Jarrett (Falcons), Ndamukong Suh (Rams) and Sheldon Richardson (Jets) as they will would more than likely be too expensive for the Giants.
- Za’Darius Smith (OLB) Baltimore Ravens: Smith was a bargain in 2018 as he only made roughly $691M, while producing 9 sacks at the linebacker position. The Ravens would definitely make re-signing Smith a priority this offseason, but if the Giants are set on trying to sign him, they may need to overpay a little to do so and that is something I’m sure Gettleman would consider if the price was right. Regardless; Smith would bring not only more talent to the linebacker position for the Giants, but also a lot of energy. It’s hard to gauge what Smith’s price tag would be, but considering his age (26) and his production in 2018, a safe guess would be a 4-year deal at roughly $8-$10M per year.
- Frank Clark (DE) Seattle Seahawks: Clark had a breakout season in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks with 14 sacks at a bargain price of $933K. The projection for Clark in free agency is roughly $10-12M and at 26 years old; I’m expecting it would take a 4-year deal at $40-49M to sign; which should be within the Giants budget. Clark would instantly upgrade the Giants pass rush and give them a needed jolt in the sack department. However; expect the Seahawk to be very aggressive in retaining him.
- Trey Flowers (DE) New England Patriots: Flowers also had a solid season for the Patriots in 2018 and expect him to get a lot of attention once free agency begins. The Patriots have been known to not shell out bring contracts to some of their free agents in the past. If so, Flowers will be one of the top free agents on the defensive side that will garner a lot of interest. Flowers had a solid season against the run and provided production against the pass as well with 8 sacks. At 26, Flowers should ink at least a 4 year or possibly a 5-year deal at roughly $12-14M per.
- Bruce Irvin (DE) Atlanta Falcons: Irvin could be a short term move for the Giants as he did show production for the Raiders and Falcons in 2018 with 7 sacks. Irvin’s price tag in 2018 was only $1.5M and at age 32, would probably see another one year deal on the table for his services. Irvin would bring experience and leadership qualities to a much needed Giants defense that seemed to lack both in 2018
- Danny Shelton (DT) New England Patriots: Shelton had a solid season for the Patriots and it’s expected that the Patriots may not attempt to re-sign him. Shelton provided the Patriots with solid run-stuffing ability that the Giants desperate need since trading Damon Harrison. Shelton salary in 2018 was $2.9M, so expect him to receive interest from a lot of teams and at 26 years old; a 2-3 year deal at roughly $5-7M per would more than likely make him sign on the dotted line. Shelton is a one-dimensional defensive tackle who will excel against the run and fit perfectly in the Giants 3-4 scheme.
Final Thoughts: What are the odds of the Giants signing one of the players mentioned above this offseason? If I had to bet, I would have to think the odds would be 4 to 1 chance that they will sign one of the 5 free agents from the list above.
Who that player is at this point is unknown as Gettleman will need to see how much cap space he can add to the pot to improve his chances of landing a top quality defender. If I had to pick just one from the list above and not factor in the price tag, I would like to see the Giants sign Za’Darius Smith.