The Giants were one of the surprise stories of the NFL during the early portion of the season, but the team has become increasingly hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball lately. New York will soon be receiving reinforcements, however, as the team has designated three players for return from IR.
Left guard Ben Bredesonis among the trio, something which will soon give the Giants another starting option up front. The former fourth-rounder was not projected to be a first-teamer to begin the campaign, but an injury to Shane Lemieuxchanged those plans. Bredeson played in a rotation with rookie Joshua Ezeuduthrough the first two games of the season, but then operated as a full-time starter before landing on IR last month. His return may not need to be rushed, given the fact that Lemieux has since been activated.
Edge rusher Azeez Ojularicould provide the Giants with depth at the position if he is able to remain healthy. The 2021 second-rounder impressed as a rookie with a team-leading eight sacks, but has hardly played this year. Ojulari spent time on the NFI list in the summer due to a calf injury, but was not placed on IR right away with the team hoping he could suit up at some point in September. That was the case, as the Georgia product played in Weeks 3 and 4, but a reaggravation of the previous ailment has kept him sidelined ever since. If he can regain his form from last season and serve as a bookend to rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York’s pass rush could receive a considerable boost.
Lastly, veteran safety Tony Jefferson‘s practice window has been opened. The 30-year-old has only played three games in 2022, after following Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale from Baltimore to the Big Apple. The Giants are dealing with starter Xavier McKinney currently on the shelf due to an ATV accident earlier this month. That could leave defensive snaps available for Jefferson upon his return, especially if the team opts to use more three-safety packages amidst their injuries at cornerback.
Each player now has a three-week time period within which they must be activated to be eligible to play again in 2022. If all three are brought back, the Giants will have used up each of their remaining activations for the season, but they will also have at least rotational contributors in place for the stretch run.
Smith missed the first eight games of his rookie season, as well, while dealing with hamstring issues. In very limited defensive snaps when he returned, Smith only amassed eight total tackles but flashed some ability with a forced fumble and two quarterback hits. Near the end of his rookie season, Smith was placed on IR with a neck injury, but that wasn’t the issue heading into this season. This year a lower leg ailment has held Smith out of the first seven games of the year. He is set to make his season debut, subbing in behind Jihad Ward and Leonard Williams.
Bredeson has been a starting guard for the Giants this season after getting traded from the Ravens last year. Bredeson first got a taste of the starting offense last year when filling in for Nick Gates and was named the starting left guard to start the year after an injury to Shane Lemieux in the preseason. With Bredeson set to miss extended time, the Giants can turn to Gates, rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu, or another former Raven in Tyre Phillips.
The Giants made two gameday elevations from the practice squad today, in addition to the IR moves. Veteran safety Landon Collins and converted tight end Lawrence Cager will be active for Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Seahawks.
In order for Gates to have a shot at playing this season, the Giants needed to make this move today. They designated Gates for return three weeks ago. Not activating him would have meant a full-season absence.
Gates, 26, missed almost all of last season because of a gruesome leg fracture sustained in Week 2. As the Giants saw their O-line decimated early last season, Gates’ road back from fibula and tibia breaks led to seven surgeries. This spring, a setback occurred forcing the rod in his leg to be removed, Raanan adds.
Although the possibility existed at that point Gates would not play in 2022, the Giants displayed their confidence in his comeback by designating him for return at the earliest possible point. The former UDFA, who started 16 games at center for the 2020 Giants edition, is tied to the two-year, $6.82MM extension he signed that year. Although Big Blue has changed regimes and revamped its offensive line during Gates’ time away, the Nebraska alum should be in position to at least provide depth up front.
Jon Feliciano has worked as the Giants’ center this season, but the team has sustained multiple injuries at guard. Shane Lemieux remains out due to the severe leg injury he suffered late in the summer of 2021, while fifth-round rookie Marcus McKethan sustained an ACL tear in August. Ben Bredeson has worked as a Big Blue guard starter all season, but the former trade acquisition is battling a knee injury that will likely force him to miss time, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Third-round rookie Joshua Ezeudu replaced Bredeson against the Jaguars and could be in line to start at left guard in Week 8. Gates will work at center and guard, Brian Daboll said Wednesday (via the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, on Twitter).
It would not surprise to see the Giants hold Gates out of their Seahawks matchup this week, considering their bye arrives in Week 9. But the former center and guard starter will be in position to contribute during this season’s second half, representing one of the league’s better comeback stories in recent years.
For the second straight day, the Giants are acquiring a former Big Ten offensive lineman from an AFC North team. Tuesday’s move: trading for Ravens second-year blocker Ben Bredeson, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
Even after the Giants acquiredBilly Price (Ohio State) from the Bengals, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano noted the team was searching for more help up front. Big Blue will give Bredeson a shot. The teams will swap picks in this deal, per Schefter (on Twitter). The Ravens will receive a 2022 fourth-round pick for Bredeson and will send a 2022 fifth-rounder and a 2023 seventh to the Giants, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
A Michigan product who went in the 2020 fourth round, Bredeson played in 10 games for the Ravens last season. With the Ravens signing ex-Giants guard Kevin Zeitler, their guard group is a bit deeper than it was a season ago. The Giants have struggled up front during training camp and the preseason slate, and they now have a second new interior blocker to help the cause.
Bredeson was a four-year starter at left guard for the Wolverines and should be in line to back up Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux with the Giants. Three years remain on Bredeson’s rookie contract; Price’s deal runs through 2021.
This marks the third Ravens trade in the past five days. Evidently pleased with its depth, Baltimore sent rookie cornerback Shaun Wadeto the Patriots and dealt center Greg Mancz to the Dolphins.
The Ravens are working fast to get their 2020 NFL Draft class under contract. One day after inking fifth-round pick Broderick Washington, they’ve signed third-round defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, fourth-round guard Ben Bredeson, and sixth-round wide receiver James Proche.
Madubuike, who stands at 6’3″ weighs in at 304 pounds, led the Aggies with 11.5 tackles for loss last year, plus 5.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries. He also recorded his first interception in a win over Arkansas.
He doesn’t have ideal size for the interior line, but he does have better-than-average speed for the position, plus solid moves to shed blocks. Evaluators also see pass rushing potential in Madubuike, thanks in part to his larger-than-expected wingspan.
The Ravens’ 3-4 scheme will feature defensive tackle Derek Wolfe, nose tackle Brandon Williams, and veteran defensive end Calais Campbell up front. Madubuike figures to see time as well, but he’ll be eased into things as a rookie. Ditto for Bredeson, though he’ll also be behind third-round lineman Tyre Phillips, who will be moved from the outside to the interior.