Giants likely to prioritize own free agents over outside options


If possible, it is better to find help from within. 

This is not some self-improvement talking point but rather the way the Giants want to go about the business of building their team.

They are the opposite of a grass-is-greener operation.

The new members of the front office believe in this: If they like what they have and can afford what they have, they generally want to retain what they have. 

There is familiarity with their own players.

There is also security in knowing the health of their own players.

It is prudent to keep this in mind as the Giants move into NFL free agency this week, starting with Monday, when they can begin negotiating with players outside their roster. 

“I think when you’re signing people outside the building, you’ve got to make sure you’re right on the character, the medical,’’ general manager Joe Schoen said. “It’s not like the draft where we can go to the combine, and we can do physicals on these guys and see where they may have previous injuries and what those look like. You don’t get to interview them and go to their schools and all that stuff. So, we’ve got to be diligent with our research on the players.’’ 

Joe Schoen
Joe Schoen is set to enter his second free agency as Giants GM.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

There is no research needed on safety Julian Love, an impending unrestricted free agent and Schoen does not have to do a deep dive on two of his interior offensive linemen, Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano.

Schoen wants to upgrade the wide receiver position and must decide if Darius Slayton or Richie James are worth returning invitations.

Schoen has already made up his mind on Sterling Shepard, re-signing him Sunday to a one-year deal. 

There is a chance punter Jamie Gillan is around in 2023.

Is there a compelling reason not to bring back long snapper Casey Kreiter?

There is not much depth at cornerback.

Is a steady, workmanlike corner such as Fabian Moreau worth another year, this time as a depth piece? 

“We had Feliciano in Buffalo with us, and it’s not just on the field with some of these guys,’’ Schoen said. “Leadership in the locker room and within their position group that you really gotta make sure you don’t let a lot of leadership walk out of the building, and that’s gonna be a concerted effort for some of these guys — backups, starters, whatever it may be, we want to retain some of our leadership.’’ 

Julian Love
Julian Love is set to be an unrestricted free agent.
Getty Images

Schoen last year signed defensive end Jihad Ward to a one-year contract after defensive coordinator Wink Martindale offered his support for a player he worked with the Ravens.

He filled a role on the field and as a veteran presence for rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to learn from.

Ward is set to become a free agent. 

“You guys know Jihad Ward, he’s a unique personality and I love him, but he provided some leadership for those guys, and I think that was important for Kayvon’s growth as well,’’ Schoen said. 

In his first offseason in charge, Schoen did not have much money to spend and he often stuck closely to players he knew.

He signed several free agents he was familiar with from his previous five years in Buffalo, including Feliciano and quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Schoen midway through the 2022 season claimed receiver Isaiah Hodgins from the Bills and re-signed him last month. 

Jihad Ward
Jihad Ward emerged as an important leader in the Giants locker room last year.
Bill Kostroun for the New York Post

“There’s a comfort level when you’re paying certain money for players if you have some background on them,’’ Schoen said. “That’s not just Buffalo. Last year [guard] Mark Glowinski we signed from Indianapolis where [offensive line coach] Bobby Johnson had coached him. There’s familiarity. You’re not putting a lot of money in an unknown commodity when character and football character is as important as it is to our organization.’’ 

If Schoen believes one of his own players can fill the same role as a player from another team and the cost difference is negligible he is likely to opt for continuity.

He liked the way coach Brian Daboll’s locker room coalesced in year No. 1. 

“There may be some players we don’t get back because of financial reasons or we couldn’t agree on something,’’ Schoen said, “but that definitely doesn’t change the way we think about ’em or the love and respect we have for those guys.’’


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