New York Giants: Top 5 punter replacements for Brad Wing
By Henry Buggy
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is making changes in all three phases.
Big Blue fans were expecting a change at kicker this offseason, but punter Brad Wing was the first player to get Gettleman’s axe ahead of free agency.
The New York Giants cut both Wing and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the weekend. Wing spent the past three seasons with Big Blue.
The Giants acquired the Australian punter through a trade with the Steelers in 2015. After a career-year in 2016, Wing struggled to replicate his success this past season.
Wing’s 36.7-yard net average ranked last among eligible punters in 2017. He also had two punts blocked and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line just 19 times.
To be fair, all of New York’s special teams were horrendous last season. Most Giants fans were expecting Wing and Aldrick Rosas to be gone before the new league year.
The Giants do have punter Austin Rehkow under contract, but he averaged just 41.6 yards per punt in his senior year at Idaho. Rehkow will likely have a shot to earn the full-time role, but the Giants would be foolish to just hand him the job.
Gettleman’s top priority this offseason is rebuilding the offensive line, but he’s also clearly making changes on defense and special teams. The Giants have a new special teams coordinator in Thomas McGaughey.
Effort was a big question for New York’s special teams last season. That shouldn’t be the case under McGaughey. But at the same time, effort can only take a special teams unit so far. The Giants need talent at the punter and kicker positions.
There’s a reason Johnny Hekker and Shane Lechler have earned a combined 10 first-team All-Pro honors. The Giants are unlikely to sign a punter of Hekker’s caliber this offseason, but there are some options both in free agency and coming out of college.