ZMI ALPHA:3 free agents to target at start of free agency

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ZMI ALPHA:3 free agents to target at start of free agency

The New York Giants will enter free agency with minimal financial flexibility, despite making several cuts on Wednesday. With free agency opening up on March 17, we should expect the Giants to have around $20 million available, but they will likely restructure existing contracts to create even more space.

The team released wide receiver Golden Tate and linebacker David Mayo, opening up a tad more than $8 million to work with the moment FA starts. The expectation is that they will allocate immediate resources toward the retention of interior defender Leonard Williams, but they will also have to find a way to retain Dalvin Tomlinson if they see fit.

The reality is, the Giants are going to have to get creative with how they maneuver this free agency, and they may have to settle on bargain deals to fit a few weakened positions.

Three free agents the New York Giants should target at the start of free agency:

1.) Kyle Van Noy

The Miami Dolphins released Kyle Van Noy just one year into a four-year deal worth $51 million. After spending the first 2.5 seasons in Detroit, he took his talents to New England, where he became a productive player that made a significant impact.

As an outside linebacker, he would fit perfectly with the Giants, and his connection with head coach Joe Judge makes the possibility of him signing on with Big Blue even more likely. The problem, he might be out of the Giants’ price range, as he was expected to earn over $10 million in 2021 and had an average AAV of $12.5 million per season.

However, there’s always a possibility they back-load the contract, or he’s willing to settle for less money, and that if that is the case, the Giants should offer him a multi-year deal that keeps his cap hit lower in the short term.

2.) William Jackson

One underrated cornerback is former Cincinnati defender William Jackson. At 28 years old, Jackson is coming off a productive year with the Bengals, playing in 14 games and totaling 11 passes defended and 45 combined tackles. He allowed a 51.4% completion rate and four touchdowns, which might be a bit problematic, but under the right circumstances and coaching, he could become an above-average CB.

One thing to like about Jackson, he is young and a former first-round pick, indicating he has the talent to be a solid player in the NFL. According to PFS, Jackson finished the 2020 campaign with a 72.4 overall coverage grade and allowed 537 yards. He enjoyed five performances over 14 games with 30 yards allowed or less.

I believe he might be one of the cheaper CBs on the market with upside, and the Giants might consider signing him to compete at CB2 alongside James Bradberry.

3.) Jordan Jenkins

One solid scheme fit for the Giants would be former Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins Jenkins, who signed a one-year, $3.75 deal with the Jets last year, and as you might expect, his production fell off.

Considering the Jets had one of the worst defenses in football and a simply inept offense, Jenkins wasn’t able to play to his full potential. In 2019, he recorded 8.0 sacks and 13 QB hits. Considering his down year, the Giants might be able to scoop him up on an extremely affordable contract to replace Kyler Fackrell.

Adding competition to the OLB position is essential, especially with Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines returning from season-ending injuries. I do expect the Giants to allocate a draft selection toward the position, but you can never have enough talent at a spot that suffered injuries in 2020 and doesn’t have an established starter.

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