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Fact or Fiction: Potential targets for Giants in free agency


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The Giants' biggest offensive target in free agency will be guard.

John Schmeelk: Fact – This is an easy one for me. Veterans Ben Bredeson and Justin Push, who ended the year as starting guards in 2023, are both free agents. Third-year players Josh Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan are still on the roster and still looking to establish themselves. Nothing impacts a quarterback more than pressure up the middle, which often originates from the guard position. Putting a veteran right guard between second-year starter John Michael Schmitz and third-year starter Evan Neal would only help both players.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Since his press conference at the bye week, Joe Schoen has been candid about the need to add a quarterback. The big question is whether that will be through the draft or free agency – or both. We got another update last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, where Schoen said Daniel Jones "should be ready" for the start of training camp.

"We've had good conversations, and [Jones] understands where we are," Schoen said in Indianapolis. "He understands that we're going to need to add a quarterback. He's coming off an injury. (Quarterback) Tommy DeVito is under contract and Daniel, so we'll bring in either a veteran quarterback through free agency -- (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) is in the mix there, too. We're going to talk to Tyrod's representatives … and Tyrod's a true pro. He has been really good for not only Daniel but Tommy DeVito and his progress throughout the year. He's a true pro. So, we'll address the position. Again, it can be through free agency, and it doesn't preclude us from doing it in the Draft as well."

Lance Medow: Fact – Adding more playmakers wouldn't hurt, but the Giants need to find answers on the interior of the line to support a young developing center in John Michael Schmitz.

Matt Citak: Fact – Joe Schoen has made it clear the Giants will be adding at least one new quarterback to the room, while wide receiver will also be a position of need this offseason. However, the Giants are currently in need of two starting guards. Luckily for the Giants, this year's crop of free agent guards is one of the deepest and most talented we've seen in a long time. Not only are there several talented free agent guards, but the top of the market also features numerous players in the 26-28 age range. I would not be surprised to see the Giants spend big on at least one guard this month.

The Giants' biggest defensive target in free agency will be cornerback.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – This is a close one. It's either going to be cornerback or edge player. I will lean toward edge player, only because Joe Schoen mentioned the importance of having impactful pass rushers in Shane Bowen's defensive scheme. With Kayvon Thibodeaux manning one side and Azeez Ojulari on the other, the Giants need another player than can stay on the field, win one-on-one consistently, and get after the quarterback. Cornerback is not far behind with the pending free agency of Adoree' Jackson. The Giants could target a nickel or outside cornerback (or both) with Cor'Dale Flott having the flexibility to play inside and outside. Youngster Tre Hawkins also showed promise last summer and is still in the building. Nickel cornerbacks often come cheaper than outside cornerbacks in free agency.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Bowen will also need defensive backs to cover long enough for those pass rushers to get home. Cornerback could be addressed in the draft, too, but it never hurts to bring in an established veteran to help guide the group.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Adoree' Jackson is a scheduled free agent. Outside of him, the Giants are young at that position, but I'd put pass rusher ahead of corner, especially if there's an opportunity to add a veteran who can be a solid complement to Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. Keep in mind, New York had 34 sacks last season and Thibodeaux was responsible for nearly a third of them (11.5) with Jihad Ward the next closest player at five. There's room to bring in more disruptors up front.

Matt Citak: Fiction – The Giants will certainly be looking for a cornerback to start opposite Deonte Banks, but the biggest defensive target in free agency this year is going to be an edge rusher. Kayvon Thibodeaux took a big step in 2023, finishing the year with 11.5 sacks. Pairing him with another strong pass rusher could do wonders for the Giants defense, especially in new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen's scheme. Last year, the Titans had Denico Autry and Harold Landry each register more than 10 sacks, and one would have to assume the Giants are hoping for similar results from their starting edge rushers this season. Similar to guard, the group of edge rusher free agents is quite deep, which should benefit the Giants.

View photos of's list of the top 101 free agents of 2024.

The best offensive free agent signing in Giants history is Kareem McKenzie.

John Schmeelk: Fact – Get onboard the Kareem McKenzie train. McKenzie signed a seven-year contract with the Giants in 2005 to be their starting right tackle and played out the full length of his contract before retiring with two Super Bowl rings. Even more impressive was that his contract was never touched over those seven years. In those seven years he missed only seven regular season games and was rock solid as the Giants' starting right tackle. We might never see a seven-year contract play out that way again in Giants history. Kerry Collins is a sleeper choice here, bringing them to Super Bowl that they lost to the Ravens.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The quintet of Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, and Chris Snee started 38 consecutive games together, the longest such run by an offensive line since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger. McKenzie manned right tackle for 116 games from 2005 to 2011, including 11 postseason games and victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. Originally a third-round draft choice by the Jets in 2001, McKenzie joined the Giants as an unrestricted free agent in 2005. That year, the Giants finished 11–5 and earned their first playoff berth since 2002 and their first NFC East championship since 2000.

Lance Medow: Fiction – If the most important position in the NFL is quarterback, then how do you choose anyone other than Kerry Collins. After a shaky ending to his tenure in Carolina in 1998, Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi took a chance on Collins, bringing in the veteran signal caller as Kent Graham's backup. He wound up claiming the starting job in Week 11 that season and never relinquished that role until following the 2003 season. For four-plus campaigns, Collins provided stability under center at a position that had been troubling the Giants since the Phil Simms era came to an end in the spring of 1994. In his first full season as the starter in 2000, Collins helped lead the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV, and in 2002, set a single-season franchise record by throwing for 4,073 yards, a mark that stood until 2011 (Eli Manning, 4,933). The best numbers in Collins' 17-year career were posted when he was wearing a Giants uniform and his success is a big reason the team reached the postseason twice in his four years as the full-time starter.

Matt Citak: Fact – In his first season with the Giants, McKenzie started 14 games and helped pave the way for Tiki Barber to rush for a franchise record 1,860 yards. Over the next six years, the right tackle had only one season in which he missed more than one game, including four seasons having played every single game. McKenzie played an integral role in the Giants' 2007 and 2011 championship teams, as he brought stability and veteran leadership to an otherwise relatively young O-line. Plaxico Burress received some consideration here as well, as his first three seasons with the Giants helped transform the offense.

The best defensive free agent signing in Giants history is Antonio Pierce.

John Schmeelk: Fact – Antonio Pierce played five years for the Giants from 2005 to 2009, was selected to one Pro Bowl and walked away with a Super Bowl ring. His stats do not tell the whole story. The moment he walked in the door, Pierce became the leader on the defense, even with the presence of an outsized personality like Michael Strahan. He brought a blue-collar work ethic and an edge to a unit that propelled the Giants to their Super Bowl XLII title. Without his tackle after fighting through three blockers on a screen pass to Brandon Jackson in the NFC title game (and making up for a missed assignment by rookie safety Michael Johnson), the Giants might not have made the Super Bowl that year. Antrel Rolle and Chris Canty are both honorable mentions here, and look out for Bobby Okereke, who had an excellent first season with the Giants after signing as a free agent in 2023.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Don Sperling is going to be mad at me for going "fiction" here until he continues reading and sees that I'm giving the slight edge to Antrel Rolle. Both became on-field generals and leaders in the locker room, despite being newcomers on a roster that already included franchise legends. But Rolle gets the tiebreaker for earning two Pro Bowl nods and never missing a game in his five seasons with the team.

Lance Medow: Fact – You can't go wrong with Antonio Pierce or Antrel Rolle because both players make strong cases. I'll lean toward Pierce because he helped the team win a Super Bowl first .and I think his leadership and how beneficial he was to the younger defensive players in the room is hard to measure and shouldn't go unnoticed, especially the growing pains that unit endured in the early stages of the 2007 campaign. Pierce solidified the middle linebacker position and was the art of consistency. Not only did he prove his durability but he also recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons with New York, highlighted by a career-high 139 in 2006 that helped him earn his only Pro Bowl nod. Pierce was well worth the six-year investment the team committed to in 2005.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This one was very close, but at the end of the day, Antrel Rolle got my vote. Both Pierce and Rolle spent five seasons with the Giants, and each one helped lead the defense to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. But Rolle did not miss a single game over his Giants career. Not only that, but Rolle was also a turnover machine. The safety recorded 14 interceptions as a Giant to go with five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He was twice named second-team All-Pro in addition to the Pro Bowl, compared to just one Pro Bowl appearance for Pierce. Both players quickly became the heart and soul of the Giants defense during their respective tenures with the organization, so picking one over the other is challenging. However, Rolle gets the slight edge over Pierce here. After his 2023 campaign, it would not surprise me to see Bobby Okereke in this discussion several years from now.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his updated ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.


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