The New York Giants enter the 2023 NFL offseason with a misleading amount of salary cap space. Right now, the team has $44 million in cap space, fifth-most in the league. However, that’s without quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley on the books. Once the team signs free agents from the Giants, salary-cap space dries up quickly. Still, this Giants offseason, the team will have some room to sign some crafty free agents, including veteran linebacker Lavonte David.
L.B. Lavonte David
This Giants offseason, if the team is going to splurge for a big-name veteran, it should be a linebacker. The Giants’ linebacking corps of Jarrad Davis, Landon Collins, Jaylon Smith, Micah McFadden and Tae Crowder was one of the worst in the league last season.
To lead the defense, New York needs a skilled LB with leadership skills and cache. That player is LB Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The All-Pro turned 33 in January, but he still has some juice left.
If David becomes a Giants free agent by signing this NFL offseason, he will be able to cement the position for now while also helping any young LBs developing the Giants draft. It will also be a win-win situation if the team can land David on a short-term deal.
WR Jamison Crowder
The Giants are in desperate need of a No. 1 wide receiver after tying the 2022 season together with Darius Slayton, Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins. The problem is, there isn’t a WR1 on the free agent market this NFL offseason.
That means that when it comes to signing players, all the Giants can do is work on the edges. One way to do that is to bring in a player who knows the Brian Daboll-style system from his time with the Buffalo Bills this year, Jamison Crowder.
Crowder broke his ankle in Week 4, ending his season. However, he’s still only 29 years old (although he feels like he’s been around forever).
With Sterling Shepard, Slayton and Kenny Golladay likely gone, adding a veteran presence to a young WR room that will likely also include a highly selected wide receiver is a smart move, and Crowder fits the bill.
OG Roger Saffold and OG Dalton Risner
Andrew Thomas and rookie Evan Neal should be the Giants’ bookend tackles for the next decade if all goes to plan. At center, Daboll brought Jon Feliciano with him from Buffalo and will likely re-sign the Giants free agent to (at a minimum) guide a center the team drafts in 2023.
That leaves both guard posts open. Starting guards Mark Glowinski and Nick Gates are players the team should look to upgrade this Giants offseason. Signing two free agents from the Giants at the inside line position is a quick fix to this problem.
Rodger Saffold had a Pro Bowl season for the Bills this year and can provide a solid veteran presence in the middle for the G Men. He never played for Daboll in Buffalo, but the system under Ken Dorsey wasn’t that different from what the Giants coach does.
Bringing in the 34-year-old Saffold is a short-term play, so with second guard Tea should look for a longer-term solution. They can do it with 27-year-old Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner.
Risner is one of the best young shooting guards on the market, and if the Giants can secure him to a long-term deal, he’ll be able to grow and solidify the line with Thomas and Neal.
T. E. Irv Smith Jr.
The last of the Giants’ sneaky free agents this NFL offseason should be Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. Currently, New York only has 2022 fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger and undrafted rookie Dre Miller, who hasn’t played in the NFL.
There are no stellar TEs on the market this offseason, so the Giants’ best course of action is to let Bellinger try to become a top-tier pass catcher. However, the team needs more depth at the position, so signing a veteran is ideal.
Irv Smith Jr. is just 24 years old and has all the tools to become the best tight end in the league. However, the former Alabama pass catcher has dealt with injuries in his first three seasons and hasn’t developed into the star some saw as a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Smith shouldn’t cost the Giants much, and it’s a low-risk, high-reward play that could eventually become a TE1 in the league. For that reason, he should be among the Giants’ sneaky free agent targets this NFL offseason.