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Cover 3: How the Giants are building the roster


Free agency is fully underway.

With the new league year beginning last week, the Giants signed eight new players while also re-signing a handful more and parting ways with a few veterans. It's a busy time in the roster-building season with the draft right around the corner, and the crew breaks it all down for you in this week's Cover 3:

John Schmeelk: What stood out about the first wave of free agency is how teams went about their business differently based on an understanding of where their franchise stand. Teams in the AFC West, plus the Rams, Browns, Bills, Bengals and Bucs each think they are ready to win a championship and were very aggressive in free agency, trading for stars and being creative/aggressive with the salary cap (moving money into future years) in an effort to win a title. The AFC West might have four of the top 10 most talented teams in the NFL right now.

The Giants, on the other hand, rightly took a different tact as they are going through a bit of a reset this off-season. The team was quiet in free agency while attacking the obvious needs on the roster, which were on the offensive line, tight end and backup quarterback. All of the contracts were modest by most standards.

The moves were also fairly obvious based on everything GM Joe Schoen has told us about how he wants to go about his business. He is not going to sacrifice the future for the sake of the present, but he also wants to field a competitive team this season. The free agent signings meant to stabilize the offensive line will make the team more competitive. The signings will also put the Giants in position to avoid drafting out of need in the NFL Draft rather than taking the best available player. It was exactly what everyone should have expected.

View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2022 offseason.

Dan Salomone: It's a copycat league, and who wouldn't want to replicate a Bills team that has made the postseason four out of five seasons after a 17-year drought? That's what GM Joe Schoen was able to accomplish under Brandon Beane in Buffalo, and Brian Daboll helped take the team to new heights when he arrived as offensive coordinator in 2018.

Fast-forwarding to their first free agency cycle in the big seats, the Giants have signed nine newcomers to help them, five of whom (RB Matt Breida, OL Jamil Douglas, QB Tyrod Taylor, OL Jon Feliciano, WR Robert Foster) had ties to those Bills teams. Meanwhile, the non-Buffalo contingent includes Jihad Ward, who said Wink Martindale got the best out of him in Baltimore, and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who knows OC Mike Kafka from their days in Kansas City. Offensive lineman Mark Glowinski also reunites with offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, who served as his assistant offensive line coach with the Colts in 2018.

Schoen has been transparent about the Giants' unhealthy cap situation since he took over as general manager. It led to some tough decisions in terms of parting ways with veterans, and while the additions haven't all been household names, it was clear that the new players saw the potential of the Giants' new era.

"I just fell in love with what they've got going on here," said Seals-Jones, "and I wanted to be a part of it."

Lance Medow: The Giants focused on two areas that needed to be bolstered during the first wave of free agency: the offensive line and quarterback depth chart. They added offensive linemen Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski and Jamil Douglas. Feliciano and Douglas were in Buffalo last season with GM Joe Schoen, head coach Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, so the familiarity factor certainly played a role and Glowinski comes over from Indianapolis, where he played the last five seasons and helped establish a strong run game. All three players have experience at guard, with Feliciano and Glowinski combining for 113 starts since they entered the league in 2015.

The most interesting development is the fact that Feliciano is moving to center for the first time in his career. With Nick Gates coming off a significant leg injury that cost him the majority of the 2021 campaign, the Giants need more than just an insurance policy at that position, especially since there's no definitive timetable for Gates' return. Will Hernandez became a free agent and Shane Lemieux (knee) missed all of last season, so New York needed other options on the interior of the line. Based on the moves that were made so far in free agency, Schoen and Daboll are clearly looking to add depth and competition up front.

However, the most significant signing was Tyrod Taylor. The backup quarterback position is always overlooked spot on a NFL roster mainly because you hope you never need to turn to that player; and Daniel Jones has missed at least two starts in each of his first three seasons in the league. Taylor is a polished veteran (53 starts over 11 seasons) and that fact that his skill set resembles Jones may be the most critical factor of all. If Jones were to be sidelined, Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka would still be able to run the same offense because Taylor is mobile and has the ability to run. It's a great luxury to not have to overhaul the scheme when you change quarterbacks – see Baltimore with Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley.


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