The NY Giants need to fix their offensive line once and for all.
After years and years of former NY Giants GM Jerry Reese’s inability to fix or improve the line, it’s gone all downhill in the Giants’ trenches since 2012. The team has had little-to-no continuity upfront and there have been few difference-makers or steady starters that have stayed around for an extended period of time.
The Giants have at least made a better effort under Dave Gettleman’s time as GM to make a change with the unit and be aggressive to fix the problem. While Gettleman has been relatively aggressive in his pursuit of linemen, he has failed to address the issues with the correct solutions.
Gettleman went out and signed Nate Solder to a massive deal, he drafted Will Hernandez in the 2nd round in 2018, he traded for Kevin Zeitler, and he drafted two offensive tackles with his first three picks last year.
Since then, Solder opted out of 2020 and he wants to play in 2021 but his status is very unclear. Hernandez hasn’t improved since his 2018 rookie season and lost his job over the 2nd half of 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19. Zeitler has been solid, not spectacular on the line, and hasn’t fully lived up to his expensive contract terms with the Giants. He hasn’t made enough of an impact or change upfront to shore up the right side to justify his current cap hit.
Andrew Thomas settled in as his rookie season went on, but it appears that Tristan Wirfs may end up the much better player down the line. Matt Peart had an enigmatic first season and his long-term status with the team is unknown and he should get every chance to start at right tackle but will definitely see competition.
With all of this context, it shows how much work remains to be done to truly fix and establish an offensive line for the short-term and long-term outlooks for the New York Giants.
The team will keep adding and attacking the line through draft and free agency.
Here, we look at two veteran free agents and how they could on the Giants’ offensive line.
Free Agent Target #1: Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington Football Team
Brandon Scherff would be a terrific, high-end addition to the NY Giants offensive line.
Scherff is a six-year NFL vet who was Washington’s 1st round pick at #5 overall back in 2015. It was widely believed then the Giants had much interest in Scherff if he fell to #9 where the Giants picked. Obviously, that never happened and the Giants ended up with Ereck Flowers instead, and we all know how that ended up.
Scherff is a tough-nosed, gritty guard who has a workman’s approach and attitude. Scherff is coming off one of the best seasons of his career with his first 1st Team All-Pro honors in 2020.
Brandon is a four-time All-Pro guard, he is one of the premier players at his position in the entire NFL. Very few guards have his unmatched ability to make such a huge impact both in the run game and with his pass protection.
Scherff is 29 years old and will turn 30 next December. He is fully in the prime of his career right now. Scherff enters free agency in 2021 coming off a season playing on the WFT’s franchise tag. Scherff isn’t going to be tagged two years in a row due to cost, value, and the team’s needs at different positions all over the roster.
Scherff will enter 2021 as a free agent for the first time. He has already played six years and is now looking to cash in on his big second NFL contract. the NY Giants would be smart to consider adding Scherff to their line.
Scherff is as sound a guard that football offers. The only real issue here would be Scherff’s fit on the line. He has played right guard almost exclusively his entire career. The issue arising with that is Kevin Zeitler would be the unquestioned starter at right guard if he stays on the team. However, Zeitler is on the wrong side of 30, he has a cap hit of $14.5 million, one of the highest on the team, and his play hasn’t justified his contract status through two seasons in New York.
The NY Giants should seriously look into adding Scherff and moving on from Zeitler.
At this point, Scherff can likely be had for less money, he’s younger, he has a higher pedigree with Pro Bowls and All-Pros, and he’s a better player at right guard. Going from Zeitler at $14.5 million to Scherff at let’s say $10-12 million, is a good idea worth pursuing. The Giants would add cap relief, they would fill the right guard spot with a well-proven player, and they would go younger at the one position of older age on their offensive line.