The New York Giants Dodged a Bullet With 1 Free-Agent Investment but Might Be in Trouble With Another

The last few years have been bad for the New York Giants. They’ve been so bleak that their 6-10 finish in 2020 was their best season since 2016, the last time they reached the postseason.

Following a fourth straight losing campaign, New York went all-in with an action-packed offseason. As a result, the aggressive moves give the Giants a case to win their first NFC East title since 2011.

Unfortunately for Big Blue, the early returns from training camp haven’t been promising. The offensive line is continuing to struggle, running back Saquon Barkley might not be ready for Week 1, and a team-wide fight ended one practice early.

In addition, two of New York’s biggest offseason acquisitions are dealing with injuries. While one of them looks to be OK, the other has Giants fans worried.

The New York Giants had another aggressive offseason, particularly with free agency

General manager Dave Gettleman is no stranger to the free-agent market. While some of his signings have fallen short, others, like linebacker Blake Martinez, cornerback James Bradberry, and safety Logan Ryan, have worked out.

So it wasn’t surprising to see Gettleman go after more free agents in 2021.

The biggest fish he landed was former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay. The 27-year-old left Motown and signed a four-year, $72 million deal to be the top target for quarterback Daniel Jones.

The Giants also inked cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million contract after he was released by the Tennessee Titans. New York then added several role players, including tight end Kyle Rudolph, running back Devontae Booker, and edge rusher Ifeadi Odenigbo. Not to mention, Gettleman managed to retain defensive end Leonard Williams with a three-year pact worth $63 million.

Those six players netted contracts worth a combined $194 million, $117 million of which is guaranteed.

Adoree’ Jackson’s injury might be minor, but Kenny Golladay’s continued absence is concerning

Giants fans held their breath when Jackson was carted off the practice field this week. However, the worst-case scenario appears to have been avoided.

Jackson was diagnosed with a low-ankle sprain, signaling a good chance to play in New York’s season opener against the Denver Broncos. The former Titan is slotted as the second starting cornerback on the depth chart.

But while Jackson is on track to recover, Golladay has battled a lingering injury for most of training camp.

Golladay hurt his hamstring in early August, which while minor, has kept him from fully practicing since. The Grade 1 sprain carried a two-to-three-week timeline, but New York’s top wide receiver remains out.

Hamstrings have been an issue for Golladay before. A hamstring strain his rookie year forced him to miss five games, while another strain made him miss two games last year. He also missed eight weeks in 2020 due to a hip strain.

Golladay and Jones need time to build chemistry

The Giants’ offense in 2020 was, in a word, dreadful. New York ranked next-to-last in the NFL with 17.5 points and 299.6 total yards per game. While the injury to Barkley in Week 2 played a big role, so did the underwhelming play of Jones.

The sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft threw for a little over 2,900 yards with just 11 touchdowns in his second season. But the former Duke Blue Devil also threw 10 interceptions and recorded eight fumbles.

New York has lacked a true No. 1 receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. It’s imperative Golladay lives up to his contract and becomes the elite target Jones needs to develop into a quality quarterback.

But that chemistry can’t take shape until Golladay is back on the field. The longer he remains out, the longer it’ll be until he and Jones can form a partnership that elevates the Giants’ offense to the next level.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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