Giants Sign Former NFC East Rival to Replace Xavier McKinney

A day after losing their starting safety Xavier McKinney in free agency the Giants have filled the hole with a former Patriot and Eagle.

Nov 30, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Jalen Mills (21) in
Nov 30, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Jalen Mills (21) in / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Giants were unable to retain starting safety Xavier McKinney as he received a massive contract from the Green Bay Packers, meaning the Giants had to find a replacement in free agency. The Giants have found their safety for 2024 in former Eagles and Patriots defensive back Jalen Mills. This move will have little impact to the Giants salary cap flexibility as Jalen Mills signed for the veteran salary benefit.

The eight-year NFL veteran will join the Giants for his ninth season after spending five years in Philadelphia and three years in New England. Mills started eight games in 2023 with 45 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection. Mills took a step back in 2023 which will be a concern for the Giants however his versatility makes him an interesting piece for new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen.

In 2023, Mills played 34.6% of his snaps at free safety, 29.6% at slot corner, 23.1% as a box safety, 6.8% lined up on the defensive line, and 5.9% as an outside cornerback.

The addition of Mills will bring the Giants a veteran presence in what will be a relatively young defensive back group for the New York Giants.

The Giants will still in all likelihood be in the market for a long-term safety in the NFL Draft, but now that need may not be addressed until Day 2. The names to watch at safety are Javon Bullard, Calen Bullock, Kamren Kitchens, Cole Bishop, and Jaden Hicks.

Could a Trade Down Make Sense for the Giants now?

The Giants' biggest need now is arguably cornerback as Adoree Jackson will most likely find a new home in free agency. The Giants likely pick too high in the draft at six to take a corner and too low in the second round to land an elite talent at the position. If one of the top quarterbacks or tackles slides to six would a tradeback in the draft make sense for Joe Schoen? The Giants would be able to draft one of the top cornerbacks while also stockpiling assets for the future. If the Giants were able to add an extra first-round pick in the future it would certainly be something to consider.

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