One of a few teams to express early interest in Jadeveon Clowney, the Giants may have a leg up on the competition. If they’re willing to use it.
The free agent edge defender is interested in signing with the Giants, with SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano reporting the six-year veteran has Big Blue on his “wish list” for what would be a third NFL destination. The Giants feature a major need at the edge rusher position, and unlike last year, their top-six pick does not fall in range to select one.
Clowney, however, will come with a high price tag. The Giants are unlikely to go into the $22-$23MM-AAV range for Clowney, Vacchiano adds. Big Blue stands to enter free agency with more than $70MM in cap space.
Dave Gettleman dismantled predecessor Jerry Reese‘s previous edge tandem of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon over the past two offseasons, and the Giants’ third-year GM then bypassed Josh Allen with last year’s No. 6 overall pick to select Daniel Jones. Although the Giants did well on their Markus Golden flier, the former Cardinals draftee is expected to hit free agency. Golden is interested in re-signing with the Giants but will come with a higher price tag this offseason, after having registered a Giants-most 10 sacks in 2019.
If the Giants bow out of the Clowney sweepstakes, there may be a steep drop to the second tier of this market’s edge defender class. Shaquil Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue, Bud Dupree and Matt Judon are set to be franchise-tagged. Tag-and-trade scenarios will exist, but the Giants’ next set of options will include Dante Fowler, Robert Quinn, Mario Addison and Shaq Lawson. Arik Armstead may not be tagged, but he profiles as more of a pure defensive lineman than an edge player.
The Giants’ No. 4 overall pick will likely arrive after decorated Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young goes off the board, and this year’s pass rusher class is not as strong as 2019’s. This could put the Giants to a decision when the legal tampering period begins March 16. The Colts and Titans may be ready to pay Clowney a top-market deal.
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