Pass rush was thought to be an area of focus for the Giants this offseason, and with that in mind, the club is expressing interest in two veterans who have spent their careers getting after opposing quarterbacks. According to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the Giants will meet with free agent defensive end Charles Johnson on Sunday, while the team has also contacted the agent for fellow defensive lineman Mario Williams, reports Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
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Johnson, 29, was released earlier this week after spending nine seasons with the Panthers, and his trip to New York will comprise his first reported free agent visit. Though he played in only nine games in 2015 and posted only a single sack, Johnson was also hampered by injury, so his performance can be somewhat excused. Johnson isn’t exactly washed up, either, as he’s still under 30 years old, and averaged 11 sacks per season from 2012-14.
The 31-year-old Williams, meanwhile, has already garnered interest from at least one other club, as he was in Miami today to meet with the Dolphins. Highly ineffective in the Bills’ 3-4 scheme last year, Williams posted his lowest full-season sack total (five) since his rookie season in 2006, and was thus released on Tuesday. Still, like Johnson, Williams was successful in the three years prior, having averaged 13 sacks per year from ’12-’14.
The Giants are armed with a great deal of cap space, as their $55MM+ in reserves currently ranks third in the league. Per Vacchiano, the team is expected to “spend big” on defensive reinforcements, with the defensive line being a particular area of need. New York would prefer to bring a younger pass rusher, but Johnson and Williams would represent fallback plans if the team isn’t able to lure more youthful talent.
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