Free Agents Giants Should Pursue After 2024 NFL Draft

Free Agents Giants Should Pursue After 2024 NFL Draft

RB Jerick McKinnon

RB Jerick McKinnonRyan Kang/Getty Images

Between free agency and the draft, the New York Giants have done a solid job of addressing some of their biggest needs.

General manager Joe Schoen failed to retain standouts Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney. However, he added the likes of Devin Singletary, Jermaine Eluemunor, Aaron Stinnie and Brian Burns in early free agency.

Schoen then landed LSU receiver Malik Nabers and Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin early in the draft. Nubin can help replace McKinney in the secondary, while Nabers can be the No. 1 receiver that New York has long lacked.

Schoen and the Giants may not be done. Though New York has just $6.2 million in cap space remaining, it should be able to add another piece or two with a little savvy cap management.

Here, we’ll examine three veteran free agents the Giants should target after the 2024 NFL draft.

RB Jerick McKinnon

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - NOVEMBER 20: Jerick McKinnon #1 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs a route during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on November 20, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Replacing Barkley won’t be easy, especially since the Giants didn’t add a running back in the draft until Round 5. Purdue’s Tyrone Tracy Jr. has some intriguing traits but will likely need time to develop.

“Tracy’s biggest issues are decision-making and experience. A WR convert, Tracy has a tendency to bounce plays outside at the first sign of trouble,” Derrik Klassen of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote.

This means the Giants will be betting heavily on Singletary, who will likely lead a committee that includes Tracy and the returning Eric Gray. There’s room in New York’s committee for another talent.

Jerick McKinnon carved out a role as a committee receiving back with the Kansas City Chiefs over the past three seasons. He caught 81 passes over the past two years in Kansas City, and in New York, he could help replace Bsarkley’s pass-catching production.

McKinnon wouldn’t require a substantial role to have an impact, and he’d likely fit with New York’s budget constraints. Last season, the 32-year-old played on a modest one-year, $1.3 million deal.

DL Lawrence Guy

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Foxborough, MA - July 27: New England Patriots DL Lawrence Guy Sr. takes off his gloves at the end of practice. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Trading for Burns should help boost New York’s pass rush. However, the Giants also traded Leonard Williams during the 2023 season and could use some additional depth along the defensive front.

The Giants, who ranked 31st in yards per carry allowed last season, didn’t use a single draft pick to address the defensive line.

34-year-old veteran Lawrence Guy could be just the sort of budget depth that the Giants need. He isn’t a high-impact defender at this stage of his career, but he’s steady and dependable.

Guy appeared in all 17 games for the New England Patriots last year and finished with 38 tackles and 16 solo stops. He has appeared in at least 14 games in each of his past 10 seasons.

There are certainly some bigger names left on the market, including Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, However, Guy is more likely to agree to a team-friendly contract. His last deal with New England carried an annual value of just $2.9 million.

CB Eli Apple

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KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 13: Miami Dolphins cornerback Eli Apple (33) before an AFC Wild Card playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 13, 2024 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Giants, who ranked 24th in net yards per pass attempt last season, still need help at the cornerback position. Rookie third-round pick Andru Phillips has some upside but isn’t likely to be a reliable starter right away. 2023 first-round pick Deonte Banks was solid as a rookie, but New York still lacks depth.

Eli Apple didn’t quite live up to expectations as the Giants’ 2016 first-round pick. However, he became a dependable starter during stints with the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals after departing New York.

A return to the Giants could make sense for both Apple and the team. Though still only 28 years old, Apple has grown substantially since he was traded in 2018—he’s allowed an opposing passer rating below 100.0 in four of the past six seasons—and New York could give him a chance to revitalize his career.

After starting 60 games between 2018 and 2022, Apple was more of a role player with the Miami Dolphins in 2023. After playing on a one-year, $1.6 million deal in Miami, Apple should not be out of the Giant’s price range.

*Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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