Much of the offseason talk thus far surrounding the New York Giants has had to do with their defense, and more specifically, their linebacking unit.
The team opted to sever ties with former defensive captain Alec Ogletree in late February after two years of mediocre play. Many fans and experts hope to see the G-Men fill that void in the middle of their defense by using their fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft to select Clemson’s do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons. The team has also been linked to top impending free agents at the position, players such as Cory Littleton and Kyle Van Noy.
Yet, while there’s no denying the position will look vastly different come 2020, New York made sure that at least one familiar face will be along for the ride.
Dan Duggan of The Athletic reported Friday night that the Giants have signed linebacker David Mayo to a three-year contract extension following his 2019 breakout campaign in which he started 13 games for Big Blue.
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Giants Extend LB David Mayo
In a season which many may consider complete turmoil on the defensive side of the football for the New York Football Giants in 2019, one unheralded former fifth-round pick out of Texas State shined through as a glaring bright spot along the team’s front-seven.
Linebacker David Mayo spent four underwhelming years as a member of the Carolina Panthers, in which he recorded no more than 19 tackles in a single season. Yet, after signing with the New York Giants in early September as nothing more than an afterthought, he quickly became one of their most consistent performers.
Mayo played in all 16 games for Big Blue in 2019, starting 13 of those games. He would go on to finish with career highs in tackles (82), tackles for loss (5), and sacks (2).
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Mayo’s three-year contract extension is worth $8.4M. Certainly a nice get for a player who was still looking for a job just days before opening day one season ago.
Mayo Must Improve Defending the Pass
While Mayo was a surprise performer in 2019, he must improve in one critical area if he hopes to remain on the field for a Giants defense that will all but certainly look vastly different next season.
As shown in the tweet shared below by Pro Football Focus, Mayo was a maven when it came to defending the run a season ago, posting an absurd 90.7 PFF run defense grade by Christmas Eve, which at the time was the second-best grade of any qualifying linebacker.
However, he was numerously beat on passing downs a season ago, leading to New York opting to remove him from the field on third downs.
Mayo has a chance to improve on his play, now with a full offseason with the team ahead of him, something that New York certainly seems to feel hopeful about considering their recent commitment to the linebacker.