Giants CB Cor’Dale Flott On Track To Start

Adoree’ Jackson remains available in free agency. In addition to work with the Giants, Jackson overlapped with new DC Shane Bowen during his Titans stay. But the Giants are moving in a different direction.

Not expected to re-sign the three-year starter, the Giants will first see if one of their younger cornerbacks can win the starting job opposite first-rounder Deonte Banks. Cor’Dale Flott would be the starter if the season opened today, Giants secondary coach Jerome Henderson said (via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy).

A report earlier this month suggested Flott, primarily a slot defender through two seasons, had a good chance at the boundary job opposite Banks. This would be a transition for the former third-round pick, who was drafted to man a slot post in New York. But the team’s plans have changed at that spot, too. Another third-round corner, Dru Phillips, may be the lead candidate — with Darnay Holmes as insurance — to work inside.

Pro Football Focus did not grade Flott (13 career starts in the slot) well in 2023, ranking him 101st at the position. The 6-foot-2 cover man did drop his completion percentage-allowed (as the closest defender) number from his 2022 rookie year, lowering it from 63% in 2022 to 59.6%. Veteran Nick McCloud and 2023 sixth-rounder Tre Hawkins stand to represent training camp competition here, as camp work will be more relevant to Big Blue’s lineup decisions compared to OTAs.

Hawkins emerged at last year’s training camp but was benched early in the season, moving Jackson — temporarily relocated to the slot over Flott — back to his usual boundary position. But Henderson and Brian Daboll‘s early endorsements of Flott point to a clear favorite going into camp this year. McCloud is also working in the slot at OTAs, per’s Jordan Raanan. Given Flott and Holmes’ slot experience, the Giants have some fallback options if their early plan does not pan out.

The Giants going with Flott would mark a transition. The team has carried veteran cornerback contracts on its payroll for a while. Jackson signed a three-year, $39MM deal in 2021. That contract overlapped with the three-year, $45MM pact James Bradberry signed in 2020. The Giants, who released Bradberry following the 2022 draft, steadily moving on from vets at corner makes sense due to the rising costs elsewhere on their roster. In addition to Daniel Jones no longer being on a rookie contract, the team has extended Dexter Lawrence and Andrew Thomas. The trade for Brian Burns produced an extension (five years, $141MM) that doubles as the NFL’s third-most lucrative pact for an edge rusher.

Costs are low across the Giants’ secondary, with the team not matching the Packers’ Xavier McKinney offer a year after failing to re-sign Julian Love. The team has Jason Pinnock and second-rounder Tyler Nubin positioned to start at safety, though Raanan adds Dane Belton worked alongside Nubin with the starters at OTAs. Versatile veteran Jalen Mills potentially factoring in. Experience questions will certainly apply here, but Banks’ $3.1MM cap number currently tops the list of Giants CB expenses for 2024.

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