If you graphed the first week of free agency for the New York Giants, it would just like GameStop’s stock price did a couple months ago. It started small, but crescendoed to a dizzying height by week’s end. On Saturday, six days after the NFL’s legal tampering period opened, the Giants agreed to terms with Kenny Golladay, the unquestioned top wide receiver available, on a four-year, $72 million contract. Golladay is the eighth unrestricted free agent to sign with New York, and by far the biggest name. In order to gauge Big Blue’s free agency so far, let’s assign a letter grade to each one.
The Big Fish
WR Kenny Golladay
The average annual value for the former Detroit Lion’s new deal is $18 million, the second largest handed out by any team this free agency. Securing Golladay’s services came at no small cost, but snatching up the best available player to fill their most pressing need is an unequivocal win for the Giants. With a career average of 16.8 yards per catch, Golladay is the big-play, number-one target New York needed for young quarterback Daniel Jones.
The Medium-Sized Fish
TE Kyle Rudolph
On Thursday, the Giants agreed to terms with Rudolph, the long-time Minnesota Viking, on a two-year, $12 million deal. The 10-year veteran has already had a very good career, making the Pro Bowl twice and compiling 48 total touchdowns. His production noticeably dropped off the last couple seasons (he’s had fewer than 400 receiving yards the last two years respectively), which is why New York got him at a relatively cheap rate. At 6’6 and 265 pounds, he’s still a solid blocker and a dangerous redzone threat is the passing game. Whether he starts or backs up incumbent Evan Engram, he provides a multidimensionality that was lacking from Big Blue’s tight end room.
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The Small Fish
The Giants first move of free-agency was signing Booker to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. The former Las Vegas Raider and Denver Bronco will serve as Saquon Barkley‘s backup. Booker is coming off his best year since his rookie season, as he averaged 4.5 yards per carry with three touchdowns. The 28-year-old Utah alum is a good second back, but it was a bit odd for New York to give him up to $3 million per year, especially since Barkley is expected to get the lion’s share of snaps.
WR John Ross
New York then signed Ross, he of the record 4.22-second 40-yard-dash time at the combine, to a one-year, $2.25 million deal. The ninth-overall pick in 2017 battled injuries and inconsistency in his four years as a Cincinnati Bengal. It’s a high-upside, low-risk move for Big Blue. Ross will battle to be the fourth receiver on the roster, with the potential to make a few game-changing plays thanks to his blazing speed. Hard to complain with this one at that price.
This is definitely the Giants’ least sexy move of free agency. The terms of Gillaspia’s deal still aren’t known, but it stands to reason his salary will come in under $1 million. The former Houston Texan will compete with Elijhaa Penny to be the fullback and contribute on special teams. This move is about as low-impact, low-risk as you can get.
Big Blue inked Odenigbo to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. The 2017 seventh-round pick had 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. His 26 pressures last season would’ve finished second on the Giants, so he can provide pass-rushing in a rotational role. It was nice to steal a defensive lineman away from the Vikings since the Giants had already lost Dalvin Tomlinson to Minnesota.
QB Mike Glennon
There were questions about what the Giants were going to do at backup quarterback for next season. Big Blue gave their answer when they signed Glennon to a one-year, $1.35 million deal. That’s a bargain considering the North Carolina St. alum’s considerable experience, including five starts last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Glennon is a more capable quarterback than last season’s backup Colt McCoy, so New York got an upgrade at an important position on the cheap.
ILB Reggie Ragland
When the Giants’ fanbase was giddy in the midst of heavy Golladay speculation, the team signed Ragland to a one-year, $1.13 million deal. It’s another inexpensive, short-term contract, this time for an inside linebacker who should compete with Tae Crowder for the second starting spot next to Blake Martinez. The 2016 second-round pick is a passable run stuffer and pass defender, but doesn’t excel in any area. Ragland, who spent last year as a Detroit Lion after three years as a Kansas City Chief, is a proven NFL player. Unlike some of the Giants’ other one-year flyers, though, he doesn’t bring much upside.
Overall, it was a productive first week of free agency for the Giants. Losing Tomlinson stings, but extending Leonard Williams while signing a number-one receiver, along with a few low-risk, high-reward depth additions, was a great way to kick off New York’s 2021 offseason. Despite all ther activity and money spent, Big Blue might not be finished yet. Former Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is set to meet with the team on Sunday. The Giants could still be looking to make one more splash.