Could the Giants make one last upgrade on the offensive line in free agency?

Could the Giants make one last upgrade on the offensive line in free agency?

Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ offensive line was the bane of their existence last season, as it has been for much of the last decade. Going into 2024, upgrading the unit was a top priority for general manager Joe Schoen. Despite not adding any offensive linemen in the NFL Draft, Schoen did make some upgrades to the front line through free agency.

Jermaine Eluemunor and Jon Runyan Jr. were the Giants’ two marquee signings on the offensive line this spring. The unit seems to be finalized for the upcoming season as they prepare to iron out the starting five at training camp later this month. But since receiving an influx of salary cap space from Darren Waller’s retirement last month, the Giants could consider adding one last free agent to fortify their offensive line this summer.

Could the Giants target Connor Williams as a late-summer free-agency signing?

Connor Williams, Giants
Credit: JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK

In what has been dried up into a shallow free-agency pool, not many starting-level talents remain available for the taking. However, of those still left to sign, veteran offensive lineman Connor Williams stands out among the best remaining free agents.

Williams is entering his seventh career season after completing a two-year deal he signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2022. Across the last two years, Williams spent time playing both center and left guard for the Dolphins where he progressed his skills, earned high marks, and established himself as one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL.

However, after suffering a season-ending injury late last season, Williams has struggled to find any suitors for his services in free agency. Rather than being a top signing at the beginning of free agency, he will likely be a late-summer addition for a squad looking for the final pieces to build out their roster.

Why would the Giants consider signing Williams in free agency?

The Giants have filled out their starting five on the offensive line, but could still use some depth or view Williams as a possible last-minute upgrade to be the cherry on top of the sundae they’ve constructed. His versatility to play more than one position will be valued and could allow him to find a starting job on the Giants’ offensive line if struggles persist.

Whether or not the Giants add any other offensive linemen this summer will depend on the performance of third-year right tackle Evan Neal. If he takes that step forward and plays well this summer, the Giants will likely move ahead with their current starting five. However, if he continues to struggle, he could be moved inside to guard, or moved to the bench, subsequently leaving an opening at right tackle.

Jan 8, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

That opening would then likely be filled by Eluemunor, who is currently slotted in as the team’s starting left guard. So with a need then opening up at left guard, that could be filled by Williams as a free-agency signing.

Williams could serve as an upgrade on the Giants’ offensive line

Williams played center for the Dolphins over the last two seasons, but previously, he was the Dallas Cowboys’ starting left guard from 2018 to 2021. Prior to his season-ending injury, Williams set a career-high with an 86.5 PFF grade as the Dolphins’ starting center. In his final season in Dallas, Williams surrendered only 15 pressures and two sacks as the Cowboys’ starting left guard.

Connor Williams, Giants, Cowboys
Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants don’t have a need at center with second-year player John Michael Schmitz anticipating a breakout and expecting to maintain his starting job. But Schmitz did deal with injuries last season, so adding Williams could also give the G-Men some insurance at that position as well. Meanwhile, he could easily find himself competing for the starting left guard position if struggles continue on the right side of the offensive line.

Giants’ 2nd-year center needs to make big improvements this season

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