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Mailbag: Free agency frenzy begins

MAILBAG

Nathan in Pennsylvania: Is there any possibility that the Giants could recoup a compensatory pick in 2021 if they aren't able to re-sign Leonard Williams?

The Giants put a non-exclusive franchise tag on Leonard Williams, making it unlikely he will sign with another team due to the two first round picks that would have to be sent to the Giants in compensation. If he does, however, the Giants could potentially receive a comp pick for him as long as they do not sign a similar player to a contract close to the one that Williams signs with his new team. If they do, those two contracts could cancel themselves out in the league's complicated compensatory pick formula and the Giants might not receive a comp pick.

Alex Carrillo in Georgia: What edge rushers should the Giants target in free agency?

There are not many edge rushers left on the open market. Yannick Ngakoue, Shaquil Barrett, Bud Dupree and Matthew Judon were franchise tagged. Arik Armstead was reported to return to the 49ers, while Shaq Lawson is reported to be on his way to the Dolphins. There are, however, still players available.

Robert Quinn, Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley, Everson Griffen and Jordan Jenkins are still available free agents. Jadaveon Clowney is also an available free agent, but he is considered by most analysts to be at the top of the market and would require a lot of money to acquire.

Bruce in Missouri: What should the Giants do at linebacker this offseason? Should they go after Joe Schobert, Blake Martinez or Cory Littleton. You can put Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in that question also. Or do they hope they can get an inside linebacker like Malik Harrison in the draft?

You mentioned four very capable linebackers in your question that are unlikely to be tagged and have different skills that can help a football team. It will come down to price point and whether the Giants believe that their cost as free agents will match their production. Kwiatkoski is an interesting name but he is reported to have agreed to terms with the Raiders.

There are several excellent linebackers in the draft. Isaiah Simmons is an option at fourth overall. Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen are also probably going to be first round picks. Harrison, who you mentioned, would probably have to be selected with the Giants second round pick, since they do not select until 99th overall.

Ian in Pennsylvania: Do you think calling for more veteran assistance in the secondary is premature given the young players are highly touted with a lot of room to quickly improve, especially with a new coaching staff?

This is a delicate balance to manage. While you want to give the young players room to improve and earn playing time, you also don't want to hand them starting jobs without competition or a safety net if they do not meet expectations. It may be prudent to add veterans in free agency to provide some stability and provide a more assured high-floor of performance. It is a delicate balance Dave Gettleman will have to manage.

Larry 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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