New York Giants Land Top Linebacker in Free Agency: Report

Giants sign linebacker Blake Martinez

Getty Blake Martinez, now of the New York Giants

The New York Giants re-signed breakout performer David Mayo this past weekend. They are also expected to be in the running to select Clemson’s do-it-all playmaker Isaiah Simmons in this year’s upcoming draft.

However, that doesn’t mean the G-Men were willing to wait until then to try and upgrade a linebacker position that has been devastatingly underwhelming for much of the past decade. On Monday, the team took measures to ensure that their linebacking corps will be much improved in 2020, landing one of free agency’s top stand up linebackers.

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Giants Sign LB Blake Martinez

The Giants have reportedly inked former Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez to a contract, this according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Per NFL insider Adam Caplan, the contract is a three-year deal worth just over $30 million.

Martinez was a stat sheet stuffer during his time in Green Bay, becoming one of the most productive linebackers in all of football during his three-year stint as a full-time starter with the team. Since 2017, Martinez has averaged more than 147 combined tackles per year.

Alec Ogletree 2.0 or Budding Star? 

While Martinez’s numbers point towards this move being a homerun hit for the linebacker-needy Giants, there is certainly reason for pause. 

Martinez has gained notoriety in NFL circles as a guy who accumulates, for a lack of a better term, garbage stats, making tackles down the field and not truly impacting the game in a positive manner.

For instance, despite ranking second in the NFL in tackles in 2019, Pro Football Focus handed Martinez as 58.7 PFF grade on the season. In fact, he’s only received a PFF grade greater than 66.6 once in his four year NFL career.

These numbers are eerily reminiscent of a now-former Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree, who during the four years that he appeared in more than four games with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams averaged nearly 115 tackles per season. Yet, like Martinez, Ogletree was far from beloved   from an analytics standpoint. Over the former Giants team captain’s six-year NFL career he has accumulated an average PFF grade of just 56.4.

However, despite the Giants not being on the winning side of this signing from a purely analytics perspective, there are many reasons for Giants fans to get behind this move.

Most importantly, Martinez is a highly productive, instinctive linebacker, that will add a jolt of skill and leadership to a Giants defense in desperate search of playmakers. Plus, at just 26-years of age, Martinez still has room to develop.

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