Giants have some good foundational players
People love to rip New York Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman, but at least two players that he signed this past offseason have paid off for the club in a big way.
Nick Shook of NFL.com has released his top free agent signings for this season and the Giants have two players that made the cut.
The first player from the Giants on the list is starting middle linebacker Blake Martinez who was listed at number five.
Martinez has been a blessing for the Giants in Year 1 with his new team, landing ninth among all linebackers in Pro Football Focus’ defensive grades (76.2). He’s already piled up 112 tackles, and is near his career high in QB hits and passes defensed as part of a Giants defense that has become rather stingy in the second half of the season. A big reason for the unit’s improvement is the play of Martinez (and another guy on this list), with the LB frequently flying all over the field. His 12 hustle stops (takedowns in which a player covers 20-plus yards of distance from snap to tackle) are tied for the sixth-most in the NFL to this point.
New York needed a culture change when it hired Joe Judge; adding players like Martinez has helped expedite the process. The Giants have found their key linebacker.
People were complaining that the Giants overpaid for Martinez, but he’s come out this season and is one of the top tacklers in the league. You can argue that he should have made the Pro Bowl.
Without any surprise star cornerback James Bradberry was listed at number eight.
Bradberry’s new home has seen him become one of the league’s best cornerbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradberry is the league’s sixth-best cornerback in terms of defensive grade (78.3), a number powered by his excellent coverage grade. The Next Gen numbers back this up, too, with Bradberry ranking third in the entire league with 16 passes defensed as the nearest defender. He’s limiting yards gained when allowing completions, too, giving up an average of just 6.3 yards per attempt as the nearest defender (16th-fewest among cornerbacks, min. 30 targets as nearest defender).
Like Martinez, Bradberry has helped the Giants turn around their defense and mount a late push for the postseason. Whether they get there remains to be seen, but the G-Men are starting to turn the corner, thanks to the addition of players like Bradberry.
The Giants were missing a lock down corner so Gettleman signed Bradberry who ended up making the Pro Bowl this season.
Another Giants’ player that should be on this list is safety Logan Ryan who was just handed a big-time contract extension with New York to keep him around through 2023.