Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 03-17-20

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
The Giants stuck their hands and checkbooks in the barrel Tuesday and came up with three new players, all of whom fit specific needs during this preseason, pre-draft period called free agency.

They wound up with James Bradberry, a cornerback; Blake Martinez, a middle (or inside) linebacker; and Levine Toilolo, a tight end.

Bradberry, 6-1 and 215, appears to be the most immediate starter. The former Carolina Panther (yes, he was drafted by Giants' general manager Dave Gettleman in the second round in 2016) has missed only four starts in the last three seasons. It is estimated, although no official word has been offered by the team, that the kid from Samford University in Homewood, Ala., signed a three-year contract worth $45 million.

He should almost certainly be a starter, probably with DeAndre Baker at the other corner. Sam Beal, Corey Ballantine and Grant Haley are the backups, for now.

Bradberry, according to most scouts, is not a "shutdown" corner but one who can start his coverage at the line of scrimmage and use his size and strength to keep a receiver from making his first moves. He is 26 years old.

Martinez, also 26, is said to have agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract. He led the NFL in tackles last season with 144, the same number he had the year before but 11 short of his season best of 155 in 2017. He played college ball at Stanford and should walk right into a starting position.

The third player signed, tight end Levine Toilolo, is a seven-year veteran, 29 years old, and is primarily a blocker. He has caught just 97 passes in his previous seven seasons for 996 yards and eight touchdowns. But his world-class blocking skills (he is 608 and 270) will enable the Giants to realize more from the receiving talents of Evan Engram while he will also be able to tutor the two kids.

With the sudden resignation of Rhett Ellison recently, the Giants were left with Engram, the ostensible starter who cannot seem to find a way to stay healthy, and two second-year tight ends, Kaden Smith (6-5, 250) and Garrett Dickerson (6-3, 250).

The Giants also announced that they have re-signed linebacker David Mayo (6-2, 240), another product of a Gettleman draft in Carolina (fifth round, 2015). He was a surprisingly effective part of the team's lackluster defense last season, recording 82 tackles in 16 games. Details of his new contract were unavailable, but it was for three years and in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million.

Up next for new head coach Joe Judge? An offensive tackle and a skilled pass-rusher, and while he can expect to get one (or both) in the April 23 draft, assuming the Coronavirus allows that to take place on schedule, a green rookie isn't exactly what's needed to help immediately.

With the Giants holding the fourth overall pick in the draft, it is likely they'll get one of those needs, but the ultra-blue-chip players will be gone when the first round is over.

So there should be more expected from this free agent period, especially if other teams sign a few of the available Giants - although those two specific needs won't be vulnerable because the Giants don't have those players.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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