2. Jack Conklin – Right tackle
Last year, NY Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones put up impressive numbers despite having atrocious play from the offensive line. Jones was criticized by many for his propensity to fumble the ball, but given that he was sacked 38 times and took countless hits, that can be expected.
When Jones was able to be kept in the upright position, the rookie phenom was able to put on a clinic. The Giants must be cognizant of the long-term health of their franchise quarterback and shore up the offensive line immediately.
Giants fans witnessed what happens when a quarterback is constantly running for his life, as that was the story of the second half of Eli Manning’s career. Regardless of how talented a team’s quarterback is, they are not likely to succeed if they do not have a solid offensive line.
With that in mind, the Giants should make another significant investment in their line by signing free agent right tackle Jack Conklin. Conklin is arguably the best tackle available on the market and is coming off his rookie deal with the Tennessee Titans.
At 26-years old, Conklin represents a young option at tackle, who is coming into his prime. The former first-round pick was graded as the 14th best tackle in the league by PFF last year. After the Titans inexplicably declined his fifth-year option, Conklin is likely to become an unrestricted free agent and test the open market.
If he does, the NY Giants should be first in line with cash in hand. Young franchise tackles are difficult to come by. The Giants may need two tackles heading into next season, as Nate Solder is likely to be a cap casualty due to his significant underperformance and the aging Mike Remmers is set to become a free agent.
Signing Conklin would allow the Giants to shore up one side of their line immediately while providing them with a large amount of flexibility heading into the draft. The Giants could conceivably head into next season with a line that consisted of Conklin, Will Hernandez, Connor McGovern, Kevin Zeitler, and Nick Gates. It would be a significant upgrade over this year’s line.
Proposed contract: 6-year $96 million ($16M/year)