Giants just agreed personal terms with Brian Burns and pay him more than $79.9 million with more agreement  

Giants just agreed personal terms with Brian Burns and pay him more than $79.9 million with more agreement


Giants Are Pressed to Sign Veterans to Close the Safety Gap
As of March 28, the New York Giants’ 2024 roster was beginning to take shape, but it was still empty. In an essay published on March 28, ESPN staff writer Bill Barnwell recommended that Big Blue focus on one area in free agency, even though one or two of these needy positions might be filled in the NFL draft. Starting safety was that position.

“The Giants have to make some cuts somewhere because they wanted to trade for edge rusher Brian Burns and pay him over $28 million annually,” Barnwell pointed out. “It seems like those cuts are secondary to general manager Joe Schoen.”

“New York let its two most prominent defensive backs hit the open market,” he continued. “[Safety Xavier] McKinney immediately signed a four-year, $68 million deal with the [Green Bay] Packers, becoming one of the few safeties in a loaded market to get paid. [Cornerback Adoree’] Jackson remains unsigned.”

Barnwell went on to detail the Jalen Mills signing — which was the lone NYG acquisition in the secondary.

“The one veteran addition the Giants have made is bringing in Mills, who fell out of the [New England] Patriots’ starting lineup and into a situational role last season,” the ESPN analyst stated. “His one-year deal was for just over $1 million, which suggests he is joining to serve in a utility role as opposed to being guaranteed a starting opportunity.”

Eventually, Barnwell pushed the Giants to “sign one of the many veteran safeties still available” in order to make up for this shortcoming.

“Safety Dane Belton showed promise with a three-takeaway game late in the season, and the Giants might feel good about [safety Jason] Pinnock’s future, but I would be surprised if they didn’t take advantage of the market and add at least one veteran safety,” Barnwell opined.

Options for the Giants’ Veteran Free Agents at Safety
Barnwell mentioned a number of Giants’ free agent prospects, but the list is lengthy.

He stated, “The Giants have arguably the weakest pair of starting safeties on paper—Justin Simmons, Quandre Diggs, Marcus Maye, Tashaun Gipson, and Julian Blackmon are all free agents.”

Following a significant devaluation of the position within the league, names like Jamal Adams, Eddie Jackson, Micah Hyde, Tracy Walker, Jayron Kearse, Adrian Phillips, Kareem Jackson, and Terrell Edmunds are still available on the open market.

In summary, Barnwell stated that “adding one of those guys on a one-year deal would help a team that is otherwise set to run out a young secondary and bring a veteran into the defensive backs room.”

The Safety Industry Is Deeper Than the CB Industry
The Giants now have some versatility with the arrival of Mills. Pro Football Focus reports that Mills has actually spent the majority of his defensive snaps over his career playing cornerback, with over 3,600 snaps at the position.

It’s crucial to note, of course, that he has played fewer cornerback snaps since 2021—just 27 in 2023. Last season, Mills saw action as a free safety (159 snaps), nickelback/slot (136 snaps), box safety (106 snaps), and up alongside the defensive line (31 snaps), among other positions.

If Mills can play nickelback for the Giants, it could lessen the need at cornerback with youngsters like Cor’Dale Flott, Tre Hawkins, Darnay Holmes, Aaron Robinson and a new draft pick potentially competing for the job across from Deonte Banks.

Big Blue has looked around at cornerback this offseason, checking in with Darious Williams and Tre’Davious White before their respective signings with the Los Angeles Rams. With the cornerback market beginning to dry up, however, perhaps it’s time the Giants follow Barnwell’s advice and pursue a more affordable quality safety instead.

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