National Football League
Giants' offseason grade: Did they do enough to help Brian Daboll in must-win year?
National Football League

Giants' offseason grade: Did they do enough to help Brian Daboll in must-win year?

Published Jul. 9, 2024 12:11 p.m. ET

It has become increasingly difficult to tell where, exactly, the New York Giants are in the Joe Schoen-Brian Daboll plan to fix the franchise. There are days when they act like they're in the early stages of rebuilding. There are others where it looks like they expect to win now.

And their offseason didn't provide many clues. They dove headfirst into the pool of top quarterbacks in the draft — a sign of a team ready to rebuild around a new, young leader. When they couldn't land one, they rallied around veteran Daniel Jones, who probably needs to win now to keep his job another year. 

They made a huge trade for edge rusher Brian Burns. But they made no last-ditch effort to keep their best player, Saquon Barkley, from bolting to Philadelphia. They added veterans in the interior of their offensive line, but stuck with the struggling, young Evan Neal at right tackle. And after hiring a new defensive coordinator to replace the volatile Wink Martindale, they saddled him with a secondary that is very, very young.

All of which puts the Giants in a fascinating position: Still building towards a better future in some ways, even though they're entering a season where coach Brian Daboll (15-18-1) might need to win to stick around.


Here's a look at how they did and didn't help his cause over the last five months:

What they did

The biggest thing was they bolstered their pass rush big-time with the trade for Burns. New defensive coordinator Shane Bowen plans to use mostly a four-man rush, and he might have the horses to do it with Burns and Kayvon Thibodeaux on the edge and big Dexter Lawrence in the middle.

They also bolstered their offensive line with guards Jon Runyan and Jermaine Eluemunor — at least they think they did. Their efforts to add serviceable veterans here have obviously vailed spectacularly before. And they also replaced Barkley with veteran Devin Singletary, who knows the Daboll offense well from Buffalo and thrived in it there in a somewhat limited role.

Perhaps the biggest thing they did, though, was draft receiver Malik Nabers with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft. The star from LSU is the best receiver the Giants have had since Odell Beckham, and the competition for that isn't really close. He gives Jones the kind of dynamic weapon he's never had. Honestly, it can't be overstated how much the franchise is counting on this kid to be an instant star.

What they didn't do

They didn't draft a quarterback which, for a time, seemed like the focus of their offseason. That means they are stuck counting on a return to health for, and a rebound in performance from, Jones, who is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered last season.

They didn't add a weapon at tight end to help him out either, even though the retirement of Darren Waller was expected for a while. They will hope to get by with a combination of Daniel Bellinger and rookie Theo Johnson.

The Giants didn't replace Neal at right tackle, which won't be a problem if the seventh-overall pick in 2022 can get healthy and live up to his potential. At the moment, that remains a very big "if". They also didn't really replace everything they lost in Barkley. Singletary is a strong addition to what will surely be a backfield committee, but it's not clear who'll be able to split the workload with him.

They also didn't do much to bolster their secondary either, after losing safety Xavier McKinney in free agency. They are really high on their young talent, though, including corners Deonte Banks, Cor'Dale Flott and Dru Phillips (a third-round pick this year) and safeties Jason Pinnock and Tyler Nubin (second round).

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Biggest addition

They hope that eventually it will be Nabers, but until he actually plays in a game there's no question that it's Burns. With the addition of Burns, who has 46 sacks in five NFL seasons, the Giants think they have a shot at their best front four since the days of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. If they're right, that could be a huge bonus for a young, talented secondary and could make their defense a consistent force.

They'll need that because there are so many questions about their offense. A strong, Burns-led defense could buy the offense time to figure things out.

Biggest loss

No question it was the losdeparture of Barkley to Philadelphia. Never mind that it strengthens their division rival, it also leaves the Giants with a huge hole in their offense. Just how big of a hole that is might be debatable. It depends on whether they're replacing the Barkley who ran for 962 yards in 14 games last year, or the one who ran for 1,312 yards in 16 games the year before.

Either way, he was their most explosive offensive weapon. Singletary is a nice player, but he's just not in Barkley's class. The Giants will be looking to build an efficient running game with Barkley gone, and hope that Nabers can fill the "explosive player" role and turn the Giants quickly into a dangerous passing team.

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Biggest question heading into camp

Is Daniel Jones healthy and ready to carry the offense?

Every indication this offseason is that his rehab is on, or maybe even ahead of schedule. He's expected to be ready for Day 1 of camp on July 23 and is expected to be the Opening Day starter. But no one can really know until he's actually on the field. Some players return from ACL surgery and are instantly the same. Some players look like a shell of themselves. A big part of Jones' repertoire is obviously his running ability, making that something to watch.

Of course, they don't need him to just be healthy. They need him to instantly become the player he was in 2022 when he carried the Giants to a 9-7-1 record and a win in the playoffs. In fact, in what could be his final year in New York, they need him to show that he can be even better than that.

Offseason grade: B-

They get credit for some excellent additions — Burns and Nabers in particular. They also brought in some good veterans on the offensive line (Runyan, Eluemunor) and might have found a bargain at running back in Singletary.

Their biggest issue, though, is in the holes they didn't fill. They left themselves with huge questions at tight end and right tackle, in particular. There are questions about who'll share the backfield with Singletary and just how good their young secondary is. And while the Giants have high hopes for young receivers like Jalin Hyatt and Wan'Dale Robinson, imagine how good things would look if they had signed a veteran to play with Nabers for a year or two.

The Giants have a really good-looking core of young players. They just didn't add a ton around them over the last few months. That's fine. They're giving the kids room to grow. But that's not what a team does in a must-win season. That's what a team does when it's still a year or two away.

And that might be a problem for both their quarterback and their coach.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.


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