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Mailbag: Biggest free agency needs

Jimmy T in New Jersey: What do you think are the Giants' biggest needs heading into free agency?

Most are on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, however, the team can take a look at supplementing the offensive line and tight end positions. With Rhett Ellison heading into retirement, they could use another tight end who is an effective blocker behind Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Garrett Dickerson and C.J. Conrad.

On the offensive line, the Giants could take a look at a center since Jon Halapio is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered at the end of the season. Spencer Pulley, their 2018 starter, is still on the roster. There have been discussions in the past as to whether Nick Gates could play center.

Mike Remmers, who started at right tackle last season, is a free agent. Gates could be an option there as he started two games at that position in place of Remmers. The team could prefer a more veteran player or might just want to add more competition.

On defense, other than defensive tackle, the team can add help at nearly every position. With Markus Golden a free agent and Kareem Martin released a couple of weeks ago, the only edge rushers under contract are Lorenzo Carter and Oshame Ximines. The Giants don't have any inside linebackers with much experience under contract. Ryan Connelly is recovering from an ACL injury.

In the secondary, the team is bereft of experienced defensive backs. Julian Love showed late last year he has the potential to be a starting-caliber safety, but he only started five games. Michael Thomas is a free agent. Cornerback is full of young players like DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine and Grant Haley. The team might want to supplement the secondary with some veterans, especially ones that can cover slot receivers one on one.

Vincent Grupposo in New Jersey: What do you see the Giants doing at the linebacker position in the upcoming draft and free agency period?

As I mentioned in the previous answer, the Giants lack numbers at both the outside and inside linebacker positions. Depending on the defensive scheme the Giants run, they will need at least two starter-quality off-ball linebackers. Most teams play 70% or more of their snaps in a 4-2-5 alignment, which stresses the coverage ability of linebackers.

In the draft, Isaiah Simmons drew all the attention at the combine with his record-breaking performances in the 40-yard dash, jumping events and on-field drills. But there are other linebackers who could be selected early who could be Week One starters, like Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray and LSU's Patrick Queen. Ohio State's Malik Harrison could be an intriguing Day Two linebacker who could develop into an impact player in the middle.

In free agency, there are a number of linebackers not under contract, such as Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, Blake Martinez, Jamie Collins Sr. and the recently released Christian Kirksey.

Larry Malakian in North Carolina: Do state and local taxes hurt the Giants when trying to sign free agents?

Everyone who lives in New York and New Jersey understands the crunch of state and local taxes. They are real. Other states, such as Florida and Texas, have no state tax. There is little doubt that players and agents think about that when they decide where to sign. With those additional taxes, however, comes all the perks of living near New York City. Whether it is other live sporting events like the Knicks or Yankees, countless Broadway shows or easy access to any number of events in Manhattan, there is a tangible benefit to living in the area that other cities can't provide. For many players, that could be more important than having a lower tax burden.


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