Giants Showing Interest in 2 Top Free Agent Linebackers: Report

New York Giants interested in Blake Martinez & Nick Kwiatkoski

Getty Blake Martinez & Nick Kwiatkoski are two of the top impending free agent inside LBs on the market

If you’re a New York Giants fan, chances are you’ve noticed the glaring hole in the middle of Big Blue’s defense. One that’s arguably been around ever since the team cut bait with former Super Bowl Champion and five-time captain Antonio Pierce following the 2009 season.

For years the G-Men had shown that they valued the linebacker position to a lesser degree than some other positions on their roster. Names like Chase Blackburn, Kelvin Sheppard, and most recently David Mayo, playing meaningful snaps on a weekly basis throughout the years are glaring examples of this belief.

However, New York may be turning over a new leaf, as GM Dave Gettleman appears to be on a mission to fix their linebacker woes, and with the spending money to do so this offseason, the team has seemingly set their eyes on a few potential signees at the position.

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Giants Reportedly Interested in Blake Martinez

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has reported that the Giants are expected to show interest in Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez once free agency kicks off.

“I hear there is at least a passing interest from the Giants in Martinez,” Garafolo stated.

Martinez is a tackling machine, and one of the most productive linebackers in all of football. Over the past three seasons, he’s averaged more than 147 combined tackles per year. However, those numbers can be a bit misleading.

Martinez does not come without his fair share of critics, Pro Football Focus being one of them, as the linebacker received a 58.7 PFF grade in 2019 despite ranking second in the NFL in tackles on the season.

Nick Kwiatkoski a ‘Top-Target’ For the Giants

Martinez is not the only NFC North linebacker that may be donning a Giants jersey come 2020.  SNY’s Brian Steven reports that New York is expected to prioritize Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency, a player who is expected to have a solid market.

Getting word that the NY Giants are among a ‘handful of teams’ who will have Bears ILB Nick Kwiatkoski as a top-target once NFL Free Agency kicks off.

Kwiatkoski was a fourth-round draft pick out of West Virginia in the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s never served as an every-down linebacker during his time in Chicago. However, he is fresh off a 2019 campaign in which he recorded career highs in tackles (76), sacks (3), interceptions (1) and starts (8). He also graded out vastly better than Martinez on the PFF Rictor scale last season, finishing with a grade of 72.6.

Either Kwiatkoski or Martinez would serve as upgrades to one of the league’s more talent deprived linebacking corps in all of football.

It is worth noting, however, that the arrow appears to be pointing up at the position. Ryan Connelly is expected back at full strength next season, while rumors of the Giants selecting blue-chip linebacker prospect Isaiah Simmons in this year’s draft are at an all-time high.

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