NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2021 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The new league year began March 17, meaning free-agent signings could be made official after that. The first round of the 2021 NFL draft begins April 29 on ESPN.
The New York Giants entered free agency this year in the midst of rebuild with plenty of needs, despite some positive signs last season. One of those needs was a No. 1 wide receiver. Check that one off. They also made a run at Leonard Floyd, but he returned to the Rams, so a dominant edge rusher will have to wait. But a backup quarterback, depth at running back and another tight end were among the positions addressed during the first week of free agency. And the Giants added to their cornerback depth by signing Adoree' Jackson on Monday.
Game plan: Finding a backup for Barkley is a must, especially with him coming off a torn ACL. Gallman will likely be welcomed back at the right price after showing well in Barkley's absence. If Gallman lands elsewhere, perhaps free agent James White makes sense with his connection to the coaching staff and ability to contribute in the passing game.
Game plan: Tate won't be returning at $8.5 million. He could be a cost-cutting casualty. C.J. Board might return as a restricted free agent. Regardless, the Giants need to find a No. 1 wide receiver. They will be monitoring the top of the market at the position closely.
Signing Williams and Tomlinson to long-term to deals that keep their salary-cap numbers respectable in 2021 is the only way it would work in this year's financial environment.
Williams, 26, is coming off the best season of his career (11.5 sacks), and the Giants already made a substantial commitment to acquire him. They traded multiple draft picks to the New York Jets during the 2019 season and used the franchise tag to keep him last season at $16.1 million when he was coming off a half-sack campaign.
Franchising him again at $19.4 million would hardly be cost effective, but multiple league sources believe Williams will get paid in the range of $19 million per season if he reaches free agency. Tomlinson is a "$10 million a year player," according to the executive. That would make for an expensive defensive line on a unit that is still in need of a high-end edge rusher, another traditionally pricey position.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The real work for the New York Giants begins now, six weeks after they played their final game. And there is a lot of work to be done.
The holes on the roster that translated to a six-win season (and fourth straight losing year) aren't going to fill themselves. And it won't be possible to make all the repairs in NFL free agency, or even with the help of this year's NFL draft.
The Giants are in the infantile stages of a multiyear rebuild, even if they aren't likely to admit as much publicly. Call it Year 2, maybe even 2 1/2. If the final few weeks of the 2020 season told us anything -- when they were blown out by the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens -- it's that they're not anywhere near Super Bowl contention.