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.
GIANTS IN FREE AGENCY: SIGN CB JAMES BRADBERRY,
ILB BLAKE MARTINEZ AND TIGHT
END LEVINE TOILOLO
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
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.
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,
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
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.
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