NY Giants still need insurance in this oft-forgotten area of roster
By Adam Weinrib
The NY Giants enter 2022 as a team on the rise with more stable leadership, and their end of season record is unlikely to factor in to the way fans ultimately assess them. That said, the more permanent solutions that can be found this season, the better.
So far, that soul-searching has involved GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll poaching plenty of talent off the margins of the Buffalo Bills, the AFC East juggernaut they helped create and recently departed from. If you’re a player they were willing to take a look at in Buffalo who doesn’t fit under the Bills’ current regime, odds are they’ll be your champion in New York, too.
Such is the case with punter Jamie Gillan, better known as the Scottish Hammer during his time with the Cleveland Browns. After the beefy Gillan was released in 2021, the Bills picked him up and put him on their practice squad pre-Christmas.
And when Schoen and Daboll took over the NY Giants and jettisoned punter Riley Dixon, saving the team $3.12 million against the cap, adding Gillan (alongside QB Davis Mills) was in the cards on Feb. 7.
Unfortunately, to date, he’s the only punter the pair has added, leaving a key special teams position near totally barren. This is antithetical to the way most of the league is currently operating.
Giants desperately need Jamie Gillan punter insurance on 53-man roster
Now, must this be addressed immediately? No; as Dan Duggan very helpfully laid out, there will be 14 roster competitions throughout the league that Daboll and Schoen will be watching like two hawks. If they don’t have interest in moving immediately on Bradley Pinion (and they shouldn’t, just to maintain an informed opinion of all options), that’s alright. They just can’t make it all the way to the opener without importing competition for Gillan or securing the services of someone they prefer.
And, to any Giants fan currently complaining about how unimportant punting is, don’t you have a Matt to Dodge? We’re barely a decade away from a shanked punt deciding an NFC East race. Though it may seem trivial to be preoccupied with the issue over two months from Week 1, rest assured the league’s most careful teams will have the margins sorted long before the deadline.
Schoen and Daboll have months to finalize things, but they should already have a plan in place.
Gillan, for all his viral Instagram workouts and intriguing tendencies, is theoretically a step back from even Dixon, jettisoned at the end of 2021 to save cash and turn the page on a weak spot. If he’s the sole NY Giants punting option by the end of the summer, that’s a mistake.
Dixon was an obvious cap casualty this winter; he was both expensive and not particularly effective, a vestige of an old regime that didn’t work.
Perhaps Gillan rebounds and cements himself as someone who can hold down the position moving forward.
But if you can Matt Dodge a wrench (or a Scottish Hammer), you can Matt Dodge a ball. The NY Giants will need to look deeper here before summer’s over.