Giants To Re-Sign DE Jihad Ward

The Giants have made some notable outside additions so far in free agency, but a targeted incumbent player is staying in the fold. New York has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with defensive end Jihad Ward, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (Twitter link).

The 28-year-old bounced around to four different teams before landing in the Big Apple last offseason. His decision to head to New York proved to be a wise one, as he earned a starting role for the second time in his career (and first since his rookie season) in 2022.

Ward saw a 58% snap share in his debut Giants season, one in which he reunited with defensive coordinator Don Martindale. The pair worked together with the Ravens in 2019 and ’20, and Ward’s familiarity with the latter’s scheme allowed him to enjoy a productive campaign. The former second-round pick matched his career high in sacks with three, and set new personal marks in tackles (43), QB hits (13) and pressures (15). Retaining him was thus one of the Giants’ top priorities this offseason.

New York has invested in their pass rush in recent years, a process which included the selection of Kayvon Thibodeaux in the first round of last year’s draft. Like the latter, Ward has the ability to play both on the edge and inside, a degree of versatility which has helped earn him earn numerous opportunities despite never putting up eye-popping statistics. He is now in line for an extended look in his latest home, one which has been the site for plenty of activity so far this offseason.

The Giants will have both quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley in place for next season, and their offense has been augmented with the trade acquisition of tight end Darren Waller. Defensively, the signing of linebacker Bobby Okereke will help the unit’s second level. By re-upping Ward, though, they will maintain continuity up front as they look to repeat the surprising success of 2022.

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