New York Giants use free agency to fill major needs

James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants
Leonard Williams, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Addressing the defense

To kick off free agency, the New York Giants placed a “non-exclusive franchise tag” on defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The organization has until July 15th to reach an agreement with Williams or he will be forced to play out the season on a one-year deal worth the average salary of the top five paid players at his position. The Giants list him as a defensive tackle which means if he keeps the tag, Williams will make slightly over $16M in 2020.

Last year Big Blue acquired the former USC Trojans star at the trade deadline from their cross-stadium rivals. The G-Men gave up this year’s third-round pick and a conditional pick in 2021 which became a fourth-rounder when Williams was tagged.

Wednesday, New York informed strong safety Antione Bethea that they will not exercise the option on his contract for the upcoming season. The 14-year NFL veteran is now an unrestricted free agent. Bethea led the team in tackles last year. He also recorded two fumble recoveries and an interception while playing all 16 games. Second-year man Julian Love will get a good chance to win the job in training camp.

In an attempt to further bolster their linebacking corps, the G-Men agreed to contract terms with another former Green Bay linebacker, Kyler Fackrell. Playing a reserve role for most of his tenure with the Pack (only nine starts in 61 games), Fackrell has shown the ability to get after the QB when given the opportunity to do so. In 2018 he recorded 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss despite being sent on just 41 blitzes and starting a career-high seven games that year.