PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Giants could be major players in the 2022 NFL Draft. They own the fifth and seventh choices in the first round, the second of which they acquired last year in a trade with the Chicago Bears. That makes them prime candidates to be potential trade partners for teams who wish to acquire, perhaps out of desperation, a quarterback.
But general manager Joe Schoen is not waiting for his phone to ring.
"We haven't discussed that," Schoen told reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting here. "Really, honestly, right now, we're trying to find, 'Hey, who are seven players we like?' I mentioned this at the combine, if we find seven players that we like as players, as people, that'll be good for the organization, I'll sleep good at night and then we'll get into that, 'Maybe we need 10 guys, maybe we need 11, maybe we need 13,' if we decide to move back, depending on where we are.
"The roster continues to evolve. We signed a guy today in (offensive lineman) Max Garcia. We'll be open to listening, but again, it's got to make sense to us. If there's two players that we really like as people and as players, then again, I'm absolutely fine staying there, taking a guy that we like, and I'll sleep good at night."
The Giants have long been a franchise that prefers to select the highest-graded player on their draft board, regardless of position or need. But they have several positions that require an upgrade, including the offensive line, pass rusher and cornerback. Will that prompt Schoen to deviate from Giants orthodoxy?
"We have enough needs on the roster that I think you can go take the best player available," Schoen said.
The draft begins a month from today. Until then, Schoen will continue trying to upgrade the roster under the onerous salary cap restraints he faces. He knew when he took the job that cap creativity would be important.
"It's a daunting task when you start adding in the draft picks and then trying to add replacement cost in-season and then where we were when I got here, that's a daunting task," Schoen said. "It's hard to operate. Again, it's always tough to sit on your hands in free agency when you have holes on the team that you'd like to fill. I knew what I was getting into. John (Mara), Steve (Tisch), they understand what we're getting into, and Brian Daboll understood what he was getting into."
View photos of every move made by the Giants during the 2022 offseason.
Garcia is the fourth offensive lineman he has acquired, joining Mark Glowinski, Jon Feliciano and Jamil Douglas. The Giants have also added quarterback Tyrod Taylor, running back Matt Breida, wide receiver Robert Foster, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and outside linebacker Jihad Ward.
"Three of the things that were important to me were starting guard, so we've gotten Glowinski and Feliciano," Schoen said. "(Feliciano has) played center and guard in his career. I think his best position right now in his career is at center. Obviously, kind of having a quarterback of the offensive line and knows the system and familiarity with him. He's smart, tough and dependable and then I think the backup quarterback – again, not looking too deep into that. Daniel (Jones) has had, there have been some injuries over his career, so to protect the team if we're having a good season then someone who can go in there and win games for the organization. I thought that was important. We'll continue to build depth as you've seen with some of the VSB signings (one-year contracts that give the team a reduced salary cap hit) that we've done over the last couple of weeks. You've got guys that have started games and played meaningful football. The more depth and competition we can create with the resources that we have, I think that's important. I think we've been able to accomplish that."
Taylor, a 12-year veteran who has a 26-25-1 record as a regular-season starter and 59 career touchdown passes, will give the Giants a legitimate chance to win should something happen to Jones.
"It was a priority," said Schoen, who first worked with Taylor in Buffalo in 2017. "I go back to – I can't remember if it was my opening press conference or I said it at the combine to you guys, backup quarterback would always be a priority of mine. Where I was last year, we got a little bit lucky at the value that we were able to get at what we thought was a good player at that value. I go back to my time in Miami, Ryan Tannehill gets hurt, tears his ACL, Matt Moore came in, kept the season alive and we went to the playoffs. We lost to Pittsburgh, but again, I think that's an important position to have where someone can come in and steady the ship and win a few ballgames for you and it doesn't completely decimate your season.
"I like Tyrod a lot. I was in Buffalo with him that first year when we broke the 17-year drought in terms of the playoffs there. Morning workout guy, he was always the first one in. He's always in there. First one in, last one to leave. Smart, he's a leader. He's still athletic. He can run. Dabs and (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka, the stuff they want to do on offense that Daniel can also do, you don't have to change up your offense if he has to go in the game. Similar type skillsets and they can run the same offensive scheme and that was kind of some of the guys we targeted, it was guys that you don't have to totally change your scheme in order to run your offense, so that was important."
As Schoen works to construct the best possible team for the 2022 season, he will keep one eye on the future. Mara said yesterday the Giants will be in much better position regarding the cap next year.
"That's the goal," Schoen said. "We'd like to be in better salary cap health next year for sure versus having to move on from people or cut guys or do any type of restructures. I'd rather not be in that situation."