In his first season as the team’s head coach, Joe Judge oversaw a significant improvement in the New York Giants’ ability to contain opposing offenses. As a former New England Patriots assistant coach, Judge brought in players like Logan Ryan and Jabaal Sheard. They knew what it took to play defense successfully in the NFL, and the team as a whole responded to Judge’s coaching in 2020.
Still, the Giants were in the middle of the pack when it came to sacks and putting pressure on the quarterback. Defensive tackle Leonard Williams led the team in sacks by a wide margin with 11 takedowns. The next highest individual totals were posted by defensive end Dexter Lawrence and linebacker Kyler Fackrell, with 4 sacks each.
While Williams has certainly come into his own as a player, the Giants will hope to generate some more pressure in 2021. They'll aim to add a few more threats to augment the disruption Williams caused. Which players are New York likely to target
The New York Giants could target Everson Griffen
New York is currently projected to be slightly over the cap when free agency begins. But because they are only over by about $1 million, they might have to free up space by waiving players or restructuring deals. It's unlikely that they will be able to invest a significant sum of money in free agency this year, but they could possibly bring in some useful players.
Everson Griffen has been a menacing presence on the outside for the better part of a decade. The Giants could land him for a reasonable price.
In four out of his last seven seasons, Griffen has notched up least eight sacks. That figure would be more than serviceable for New York. In his heyday with the Vikings, he recorded double-digit sack totals in three seasons.
Naturally, the Giants would be delighted if they received anything remotely close to that production.
The New York Giants could target J.J. Watt
At this stage of his career, it seems like J.J. Watt couldn’t care less about money, fame, or credit. He spent ten seasons with the Houston Texans and never even played in a conference championship game. For this reason, Watt seems to be prioritizing winning over anything else.
That’s good news for teams like the Giants, who wouldn’t really be able to back up the Brinks truck for the five-time All Pro player anyway. New York may not be viewed as a Super Bowl contender in the same way other teams are, but they play in arguably the easiest division in football. That fact could be enticing to Watt.
The Giants' road back to playoffs might not be as challenging as that for some other teams. Watt could be drawn by that easy road to the postseason. If he’s able to remain healthy, he would provide a huge upgrade to the team’s pass rush.
Watt would also add a lot of star power to the Giants' defense, and he could thrive in the spotlight in New York.
The New York Giants could aim for Morgan Fox
Morgan Fox doesn’t come close to having the track record of the two players named above. But he could provide the Giants with an alternative as a player who might not have hit his peak yet. Fox has gotten a little lost among the Los Angeles Rams' elite defense the past few years, but he has still been a solid contributor.
Last season, the fourth-year pro notched a career-high six sacks and registered his highest career tackle total to date. Fox undoubtedly benefitted from playing alongside all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald. But he could get a similar boost playing next to Leonard Williams. If he continues to improve, the Giants could manage to land a cornerstone defensive end.
The three players named here could all be appealing options for the Giants, and they each bring something different to the table.