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Giants 2020 offseason tracker: Free agency scorecard, key dates, NFL draft news, latest updates and more

For the third straight year, we’re staring down the barrel of what will be a very active offseason for the New York Giants franchise. Although the Giants were already expected to have a projected sixth-most salary cap space (per OverTheCap), the number has since grown with the recent releases of veteran linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin. More moves are likely to come and the Giants will position themselves to be among the most active spenders in free agency, via the draft, and potentially via the trade market where current general manager Dave Gettleman has proved to be very active. None of this should be surprising considering the Giants’ struggles in recent seasons and considerin the fact that they got their offseason started a lot sooner than most teams with their decision to move on from former head coach Pat Shurmur shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. 

First-year head coach Joe Judge will make the jump from New England Patriots special teams coordinator to Giants head coach, but to the surprise of many, he will do it under the watch of general manager Dave Gettleman. This development came as a surprise to some because Gettleman was hired at the same time as Shurmur. However, if you dig back through ownership’s original plan after hiring Gettleman, and the complete roster turnover the team has undergone in the first two years (Giants should have approximately $85 million in 2020 cap space after early offseason cuts), it’s easier to understand why the oft-criticized general manager will get another chance.

However, the transformation of the Giants’ roster for the 2020 season (and beyond) hasn’t gotten started just yet. Between the upcoming 2020 NFL Combine, the free agency period soon after, and the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants roster will look a lot different than it does now. As we move through the entire offseason, this hub — offseason central — will aim to serve as a landing point for all things related to the Giants offseason. We will have all the key upcoming dates, free agency scorecards, draft content, the latest rumors, reports, news and more. Let’s kick things off by looking at the key upcoming dates on the Giants’ offseason schedule.

Key upcoming dates

  • February 25 through March 2: The NFL Combine takes place. The Giants plan to send their entire staff and will maximize their allotted individual interviews (30) with 2020 draft prospects.
  • March 10: Deadline for NFL teams to designate a franchise or transition tag player. This is important for the Giants because they would be wise to use the transition tag on Leonard Williams after trading for him during the 2019 regular season prior to the trade deadline. Williams is reported to be seeking top dollar (at his position) on a long-term deal. The transition tag is a way for the Giants to make Williams prove his worth as a fit in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s system.
  • March 16: The NFL’s tampering period begins. Although free agency and the new league year isn’t official for another couple of days at this point, NFL teams are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents.
  • March 18: The new league year begins and NFL free agency is officially underway at 4 p.m. ET. Free agent signings around the NFL will be reported prior to this, but they won’t become official until 4 p.m. ET on March 18.
  • March 29 through April 1: The NFL’s Annual League Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida takes place. This will likely provide an opportunity for fans to hear from their new head coach and potentially also Gettleman as well.
  • April 6: Clubs that have hired a new head coach may begin their offseason workout programs (one week earlier than those teams with a returning coach). Based on Judge’s introductory press conference, you can be sure the Giants will take advantage of this.
  • Mid-April: The NFL will release the 2020 regular season schedule.
  • April 23 through April 25: The NFL draft takes place. The Giants are missing their third-round pick as part of the Williams trade, but they are projected to receive a compensatory draft pick in the third-round range as a result of former New York safety Landon Collins signing a lucrative long-term contract with the Washington Redskins last offseason.
  • May 1 through May 4: Teams may elect to hold their three-day rookie minicamp and the Giants are expected to host it during this time frame.

*The Giants will also hold OTAs and one mandatory minicamp during several weeks in June followed by a roughly six-week break in the action before the start of training camp in late July. Final dates to be determined.

Free Agent Scorecard

Restricted free agents: 

Jon Halapio, offensive center

Aldrick Rosas, kicker

Eli Penny, fullback

The Giants have an interesting group of restricted free agents this offseason. Halapio was the Giants’ Week 1 starter at center and played the vast majority of snaps at the position during the 2019 season. Halapio was overwhelmed at the point of attack and his play strength is concerning — especially as the team moves from Pat Shurmur’s zone-heavy blocking to a blocking scheme under first-year offensive coordinator Jason Garrett that is expected to feature more power and gap blocking. Rosas was a First Team All-Pro in 2018 and arguably one of the NFL’s least reliable kickers in 2019. You can try to make sense of it, but making sense of the kicker position is not an easy thing to do. Penny served as the team’s starting fullback but was not often utilized. 

*Restricted free agents will have to be tendered by the Giants in order for them to be on the roster in 2020. The Giants can assign a number of different tenders on their restricted free agents (original round tender, second-round tender, first-round tender, etc). Each tender comes with a higher 2020 salary. Those numbers have not yet been determined by the NFL.

Unrestricted in-house free agents

Leonard Williams, defensive lineman

Markus Golden, outside linebacker/defensive end

Mike Remmers, offensive tackle

David Mayo, inside linebacker

Michael Thomas, safety

Cody Latimer, wide receiver

Cody Core, wide receiver

Corey Coleman, wide receiver

Antonio Hamilton, defensive back

The key name for the Giants among their unrestricted free agents is Williams. After sending their 2020 third-round draft pick — a top 70 pick overall — in an already lost season — for a contract-year defensive lineman — all eyes will be on the next step for New York. Will Gettleman re-sign Williams to a long-term contract as one of the highest-paid defensive linemen in the NFL? Will the Giants assign Williams the transition tag (or franchise tag) and make him prove it in a new defensive system? Will they let him walk for nothing in free agency? We expect them to re-sign him long term, but the most prudent option would be to assign Williams the transition tag for the 2020 season. 

Next up after Williams, the Giants must decide what to do with Golden. If you just look at the box score — and specifically the sack statistic — Golden had a breakout 2019 season and should be paid like one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Unfortunately, a deeper dive into the All-22 game film shows a player whose sacks came from play design, hustle, and against weaker offensive linemen more times than not. Golden bet on himself when he signed a one-year prove it deal with the Giants last offseason and he will now leverage his high 2019 sack count on an open market desperate for pass rushers.

Unrestricted free agent signings from other teams

TBD

Free agents signings for players cut by other teams

TBD

*It’s important to differentiate between the players signed as unrestricted free agents and those signed after being cut by another team. This is true because players who are signed after being released by another team do not count in the compensatory draft pick formula for the team who signs them.

2020 NFL Draft picks:

  • Round 1: N.Y. Giants
  • Round 2: N.Y. Giants
  • Round 3: None
  • Round 4: N.Y. Giants
  • Round 5: N.Y. Giants
  • Round 6: N.Y. Giants
  • Round 7: N.Y. Giants, New Orleans

*The Giants are projected to receive a third-round compensatory draft pick (for losing Collins in free agency 2019). That has not been announced yet.

Rumors, reports, and updates

Giants could be interested in Clowney

Thursday, February 27: As the combine continues to roll in, the buzz (rumors, reports, etc) grows bigger with such a wide variety of NFL executives and coaches gathered in one location. Earlier this offseason, Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed Seattle would not place the franchise tag on top free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Clowney would like to re-sign with the Seahawks, but if that can’t happen, he could draw interest from the Giants and Colts in free agency. Jeff Kerr has more on this report.

Ogletree, Martin become the first cap casualties

Wednesday, February 26: The Giants were already slated to enter the 2020 offseason with the seventh-most salary cap space (nearly $62 million) and that number just got bigger. On Wednesday, the Giants decided to release inside linebacker (and former team captain) Alec Ogletree and outside linebacker Kareem Martin. After cutting Ogletree and Martin, the Giants have created roughly another $13 million in 2020 salary cap space. As it stands today after these moves, the Giants have the sixth-most cap space of all 32 teams. Neither of these moves is very surprising. Ogletree has struggled in one-on-one coverage where he is a liability in the passing game, in addition to when the ball is run right at him. Where he has helped the Giants since coming over from the Rams via trade is in his leadership (he was the captain of the defense and called the plays) and in his ability to clean up plays sideline to sideline. The latter trait dropped off in an injury-plagued 2019 season. As for Martin, an injury derailed his 2019 season, but he was, for the most part, a free agent bust. Martin’s best trait was his ability to set the edge in the run game, but the Giants never got much from his as a pass rusher. Now that James Bettcher is out as defensive coordinator, Martin’s release was a matter of when and not if.

Judge refuses to talk up any players, including Daniel Jones

Tuesday, February 25: At the combine, Giants head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman spoke to the media. After refusing to name-drop second-year quarterback Daniel Jones during his introductory presser earlier this offseason, Judge once again declined to provide the Giants beat reporters a fluffy quote they could turn into a headline — this later led to a “will the Giants trade Daniel Jones” headline or two — and speculation that Judge could be interested in a changing of guard at the position. We can end that speculation now. As Tyler Sullivan broke down, the key takeaway from what Judge said is that every Giants player will enter 2020 with a clean slate — there is no value in leaning on anything that happened during the 2019 season or before that. Instead of talking up several players for the next several months, Judge has opted to stay quiet, in hopes that he can provide a true even playing field for the 2020 roster when offseason workouts begin later this offseason. The Giants brought back Gettleman — the same general manager who fell in “full bloom love” with Jones before turning the keys over to the quarterback in Week 3 of his rookie season. Jones went on to nearly eclipse the rookie single-season touchdowns record despite missing multiple games with a high-ankle sprain. That’s all you need to know.

Could Witten reunite with Garrett on the Giants?

Tuesday, February 18: Although some expected future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten to retire this offseason, it doesn’t appear that he’s ready to hang up his cleats just yet. As Bryan DeArdo recently broke down, Witten realizes that his time with the Cowboys might be over, but that doesn’t mean the end of his career. The next question people might ask is where Witten might play and we can’t think of an easier transition for him than to reunite with his champion — the man partially responsible for talking him out of retirement — Jason Garrett. In 2020, Garrett will serve as the Giants’ offensive coordinator. The team has been searching (and failing; see: Rhett Ellison) to find an inline tight end to compliment move tight end Evan Engram for a while now. Witten could be a short-term solution.

Leonard Williams reaches out to Richard Seymour

Tuesday, February 18: Williams and NFL legend Richard Seymour have in common the fact that they are both interior defensive linemen who were tasked by their respective teams with more pass-rushing responsibilities than your normal interior defensive lineman. The difference? Seymour did an excellent job of actually getting to the quarterback and converting pressure (hits, hurries) into sacks during his career and Williams has struggled in that regard. Williams has since reached out to Seymour this offseason to help him alter the trajectory of his career. Williams is still just 25 years old.

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