The new league year is right around the corner.
The NFL calendar officially flips to 2021 on March 17, when all 2020 player contracts expire and thus free agency begins. The league has finally set the salary cap at $182.5 million, down from $198.2 million in 2020 as the league deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the placement of the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, the Giants now have 15 players set to become free agents next week.
In anticipation of what has already been a wild offseason for player movement, NFL.com ranked the top 101 free agents of 2021. A few players' names have been crossed off the list, as several free agents have already agreed to deals with new teams. However, other big names remain.
While we wait to see what the team does, Giants.com broke down the roster as it currently stands in the "2021 Free Agency Position Preview" series. Here you will find the Giants' current depth, the team's pending free agents, and the top players available from across the league at each position with analysis from NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
The other free agency previews can be found here: offensive playmakers at wide receiver and tight end, edge rushers, quarterbacks and running backs, defensive tackles and linebackers, and defensive backs.
Finally, let's take a look at the offensive linemen.
Current depth at OT: Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Nate Solder, Jackson Barton, Kyle Murphy
Pending free agents: Cameron Fleming
Andrew Thomas was selected with the fourth overall pick in last year's draft and served as the team's starting left tackle as a rookie. Matt Peart was drafted in the third round of last year's draft and played in 11 games during his rookie campaign with one start. Nate Solder signed with the team in 2018 and started all 32 games at left tackle before opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jackson Barton was claimed off waivers prior to the start of last season but did not play. Kyle Murphy was signed as an undrafted free agent last year and spent most of the season on the practice squad. Cameron Fleming was signed last offseason and went on to start all 16 games at right tackle. Fleming is set to become a free agent.
Current depth at G: Hernandez, Shane Lemieux, Chad Slade (reserve/future deal), Kenny Wiggins (reserve/future deal)
Pending free agents: None
Will Hernandez was a second-round pick of the Giants in 2018 and has started 39 games over the last three seasons, including seven games in 2020. Shane Lemieux played in 12 games with nine starts after being taken in the fifth round of last year's draft. Chad Slade was signed in 2019 and has spent most of the last two seasons on the practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster for three games in 2020 and was once again signed to a reserve/future deal after the season. Kenny Wiggins spent the second half of the season on the practice squad and was signed to a reserve/future deal at the conclusion of the season. Veteran Kevin Zeitler was released earlier this week after two seasons with the Giants.
Current depth at C: Nick Gates, Jonotthan Harrison
Pending free agents: Spencer Pulley
Nick Gates signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He started several games at different positions along the o-line in 2019 before becoming the full-time center in 2020, where he started all 16 games. Jonotthan Harrison was recently signed to a contract to serve as Gates' backup and provide depth across the o-line. Spencer Pulley was claimed off waivers prior to the start of the 2018 season and has played in 17 games with 10 starts since. Pulley is set to become a free agent.
View the team's current depth on the roster along the offensive line
Top offensive linemen available according to NFL.com (comments from NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal):
OT Trent Williams (No. 1), San Francisco 49ers: "A Hall of Fame-caliber player like Williams performing near his peak at a premium position will do incredibly well in the open market. (And Williams will get there because the 49ers agreed not to tag him.) Great tackles often play well into their late 30s, which is why I fully expect Williams to become the highest paid player at his position."
G Joe Thuney (No. 8), New England Patriots: "Above-average starting guards who never miss a snap get paid so much in free agency that Bill Belichick may just use the franchise tag on Thuney for the second year in a row."
C Corey Linsley (No. 10), Green Bay Packers: "The Packers are probably going to disappoint Aaron Rodgers by allowing Linsley or Aaron Jones to leave. Linsley figures to cost more after seven rock-solid seasons in Green Bay."
OT Mitchell Schwartz (No. 26), Kansas City Chiefs: "Schwartz made first- or second-team All-Pro in four consecutive seasons before missing most of 2020 with a back injury that required surgery in February. He is almost impossible to rank without better medical info. He would be a top-five free agent if healthy, but the Chiefs' release of him and retirement whispers make it difficult to guess whether he can return to previous form."
C David Andrews (No. 36), New England Patriots: "After missing the 2019 season due to career-threatening blood clots, Andrews came back to anchor the Patriots' line in 2020. He's a quick fix for any team with a center problem."
OT Eric Fisher (No. 41), Kansas City Chiefs: "The Chiefs needed to save cap space, and Fisher blew out his Achilles tendon in January. The injury came toward the end of one of Fisher's better seasons, so some team may sign him to a multi-year deal with 2022 and '23 in mind."
C Austin Reiter (No. 65), Kansas City Chiefs: "The Chiefs have a lot of tricky decisions to make on the offensive line, including whether to bring back their starting center Reiter after two capable years protecting Patrick Mahomes."
OT Riley Reiff (No. 69), Minnesota Vikings: "The Vikings were seemingly always looking to upgrade from Reiff, but he's started 119 of a possible 128 games over the last eight seasons (including 58 of 64 in Minnesota), mostly at left tackle. He'll find a starting job."
OT Alejandro Villaueva (No. 72), Pittsburgh Steelers: "It looks like the Steelers are ready to move on from Villanueva, which is a red flag because the Steelers are nothing if not loyal."
OT Kelvin Beachum (No. 78), Arizona Cardinals: "Cheap, serviceable snaps from a tackle are hard to find in free agency. Beachum got the job done for the Cardinals last year."
G Kyle Long (No. 83), Chicago Bears: "Long was only healthy enough to start 12 games combined in 2018 and '19 before injuries and self-evaluation led to him retiring before the 2020 season. Intending to make a comeback, the veteran is still worth a flier in case his body has healed enough to recover his Pro Bowl form."
View NFL.com's updated rankings of the top 101 free agents of 2021 ahead of the new league year, which begins March 17.