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Mailbag: Next steps for Giants in free agency

MAILBAG-FREE-AGENCY

Ian in Pennsylvania: My question today is are the Giants going to sign players from the XFL since their league has been suspended for the rest of the season?

John Schmeelk: Whether the XFL season was suspended or not wouldn't have any impact on whether or not the Giants would have interest in signing players from that league. Although the XFL season was discontinued, those players remain under contract to the league. At some point, those players will be free to sign with NFL teams.  

Most of the players from the XFL have some sort of NFL experience, whether they were drafted players or undrafted free agents. All NFL teams have scouting reports based on what the players did when they were in college and the NFL. Their XFL experience supplements what NFL teams already know.

In other words, the Giants front office and pro personnel department are familiar with the players who played in the XFL. If they think any XFL player could help the team in 2020, they would show the requisite interest in them.

Martin in New York: Will the Giants make any trades in free agency to get offensive line or pass rush help?

John Schmeelk: The Giants have added some help in free agency at pass rusher, agreeing to terms of a contract (pending a physical) with Kyler Fackrell. While he is not a big name a lot of fans might recognize, he managed 10.5 sacks just two years ago in the 2018 season. His playing time and his production dropped in 2019 after the Packers brought in Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith to be their primary edge rushers.

With Markus Golden still unsigned, the Giants are currently depending on 2018 third round pick Lorenzo Carter and 2019 third round choice Oshane Ximines to provide outside pass rush help. The Giants probably need one more player at that position simply from a depth chart perspective, which they can add in free agency or the draft.

There are not many edge rusher free agents left on the market. Jadeveon Clowney, surprisingly, has not come to agreement with anyone. The agent of veteran pass rusher Everson Griffen, 32 years old, said he is not returning to Minnesota and remains without a team. There are also other players available who can be had at a lower cost.

At offensive tackle, to no one's surprise, the free agent market has been robust. There are not many players with starting experience left, spare 38-year old Jason Peters and 34-year old Demar Dotson. Unlike edge rusher, which is a fairly shallow position in the draft, offensive tackle is deep and a potential target for the Giants at the end of April.

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?

John Schmeelk: 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.

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

John Schmeelk: 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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