Giants: Golladay and Jackson Highlight Big Free Agency for New York

The New York Giants had many holes to fill this offseason. They filled two of those holes with wideout Kenny Golladay and corner Adoree Jackson.

The New York Giants entered the 2020 offseason with many holes that needed to be addressed. They had some in-house free agents they needed to bring back, and also had to make sure Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham is here to stay.

New York added a lot of depth with signings like John Ross, Kyle Rudolph and Danny Shelton, among plenty of others. They also made two dynamic signings in wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree Jackson.

When looking back at the in-house names the Giants should bring back, the only one returning is Leonard Williams. He was the Giants top free agent, so it was good to see they were able to get a deal done.

Dalvin Tomlinson left for Minnesota, but Dave Gettleman replaced him with Shelton. They also brought in running back Devontae Booker, so a Wayne Gallman return seems doubtful.

The Giants all of a sudden look like a much better and deeper team heading into the NFL Draft in April. Offensive line is still a major need along with edge rushers and linebackers. There are plenty of those in the draft, so it is really exciting to explore the different paths the Giants can take come draft day.

However, Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge and company come out of free agency with an A grade. Golladay and Jackson were two of the last signings the Giants made, and they were the biggest.

Let’s take a look at the two new big names headed to Big Blue.

The Giants Got Daniel Jones His Plaxico

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When news first broke that Golladay was headed to New York, a certain memory triggered for fans. When Eli Manning was in his first full season as the Giants’ signal caller, they acquired 28-year-old wide receiver Plaxico Burress. The rest is history.

Burress was the 6’5 touchdown machine Manning needed to improve his game. And as everyone remembers, Burress wound up catching the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.

This is the same feeling fans back then are getting now with Golladay. Daniel Jones is heading into his third season, and hasn’t really had a plethora of weapons to work with. Saquon Barkley missed essentially all of last year, and the Giants haven’t had a true #1 wide receiver since they traded Odell Beckham Jr.

Well, here comes 6’4, 27-year-old Golladay.

Golladay was a third round pick by Detroit in 2017, and has shown he has what it takes to be a top wide receiver in the NFL when he is healthy. Golladay played 42 out of the first 48 games in his career, but only played five last season due to injury.

Nevertheless, Golladay finally gives the Giants a true #1 for Jones to work with.

Golladay’s two full, healthy years as a starter were in 2018 and 2019. In those years, he totaled 135 receptions for 2,253 yards and 16 touchdowns. That averages out to 68 receptions, 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns per season.

The Giants haven’t had those type of all-around numbers since Beckham Jr., so this will be quite the treat for Jones to have lined up out wide. It is also a stable floor to visualize for Golladay, with enormous upside for more once the chemistry with Jones and familiarity with the offense increase.

Contract Was Large, But Necessary

The Giants signed Golladay to a hefty $72 million over four years, with $40 million guaranteed. It may initially seem like a lot… but think about the positives:

Golladay is entering his prime at 27 years old. That contract locks him up in New York for essentially all of his prime years. It also gives continuity in that he gets to work with Jones, allowing the two to grow together as athletes and teammates.

When Golladay signed with New York, he said two big things drew him in. The culture Joe Judge has established, and the opportunity to work with Jones. For fans that are skeptical about Jones, this should be a little confidence boost.

The Giants finally have a stable coaching staff, locker room environment and overall identity. And now they just gave Daniel Jones the best weapon available on the market.

This offense has the potential to be scary going forward.

Adoree Jackson Joins Friend in the Secondary

For fans that were looking for someone to thank for the Giants signing cornerback Adoree Jackson… perhaps we owe the biggest thank you to safety Logan Ryan.

Ryan and Jackson were teammates on the Tennessee Titans. When news broke of Tennessee cutting Jackson, Ryan was the first person to call him. He immediately put on his own GM cap and made his best pitch for Jackson joining him in New York.

Well… it worked.

The Giants inked Jackson to a three year, $39 million deal. This places him as a rock-solid CB2 next to James Bradberry, making the already decent Giants secondary even better.

The Giants secondary now features the likes of James Bradberry, Adoree Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love and Xavier McKinney. Considering where the Giants were at secondary-wise in 2019… this is unbelievable.

Jackson is one of the faster corners in the league. He seems to just fly all over the field. He only played three games in 2020, but played 43 out of his first 48 career games. It is interesting how 2020 was a year cut short for both Golladay and Jackson.

Through Jackson’s first three seasons, he had 33 passes defended, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and 188 tackles. He added 12 tackles in just those three games last season.

If all goes well, this will wind up being one of the more underrated signings of the 2020 offseason. The already promising Giants secondary just got a whole lot better. A reminder… Big Blue finished the 2020 season as the NFL’s 9th best defense.

With Patrick Graham returning as defensive coordinator, the Giants should pick up right where they left off on the defensive side of the ball. And if the Jackson signing pans out… this could be a top five unit.

Bottom Line

The Giants still need to improve their offensive line and get a pure pass rusher in the draft. But in terms of handling free agency… they handled it swimmingly.

WR1 and CB2 were looking like holes to be addressed in the draft, but Gettleman went all-in signing Golladay and Jackson. Now, what was once two of the biggest holes are now two of the biggest strengths going forward.

I’m not calling the Giants a contender. However, the NFC East is as wide open as it has been in a while. The Giants were half a game away from the playoffs last year. With the moves they have already made, and Saquon Barkley coming back, plus the draft…

The Giants will be a team to keep an eye on heading into the 2021 season.