The New York Giants football team as a whole didn’t exactly enter 2021 with much positive hype. However, their rebuilt secondary was one area in specific that was garnering the attention of the NFL landscape. With Pro Bowler James Bradberry and safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers already in place, the team went out and added to the mix by way of big-ticket free agent Adoree Jackson. Add in a healthy Xavier McKinney, the promising Darnay Holmes and the ever-versatile Julian Love, and Big Blue’s secondary had top-five upside written all over it.
Yet, we’re now five weeks into the regular season and the unit has mostly failed to deliver. Peppers has been readily sidelined (be it due to injury or coach’s decision), Bradberry has taken a step back and Holmes rarely sniffs the field (five defensive snaps since Week 3). Jackson has been relatively good, but $39 million good? Well, that’s up for debate.
It became fairly evident during training camp that internally, the team wasn’t sold on their secondary depth the way those outside the building were. GM Dave Gettleman pulled the trigger on not one, but two trades at cornerback in the month of August (Josh Jackson and Keion Crossen). Now, with the November 2nd trade deadline looming, it looks as if “Trader Dave” could be gearing up to pull the trigger on yet another.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Giants are among several teams that have “actively monitored the cornerback market in recent months.” As for specific players the team could potentially target, the senior NFL reporter highlighted a bevy of key pieces from the Denver Broncos secondary.
Teams Could Look to Pry Kyle Fuller, Other CBs Away from Denver
The Broncos have gotten off to a surprising 3-2 start in 2021. A big reason for their success has been the play of their secondary, as opposing teams are averaging just 207 passing yards per game against them — sixth-fewest in the NFL. However, with the impending return of Ronald Darby, the Broncos’ phone lines could once again be heating up in regards to the availability of Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan, via Fowler:
The Denver Broncos, armed with four good cornerbacks, received calls on Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan in the preseason. What they wanted in return wasn’t cheap — roughly a third- or fourth-rounder, multiple teams told me. Ronald Darby’s early-season injury put any trade talks on hold, but now that Darby is back, teams could try again. (Pat Surtain II is the fourth cornerback, a first-rounder this past April.)
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Fuller & Callahan Overview
Fuller is most likely the biggest draw here, that is, at least from a name standpoint. A two-time Pro Bowler, the 29-year-old Fuller has flashed lockdown traits in the past, most notably during his tenure with the Chicago Bears. However, ever since his first-team All-Pro campaign in 2018, the Virginia Tech product has taken a significant step back, averaging an overall Pro Football Focus grade of just 57.0, including a career-low 44.0 in 2021. For comparison, Fuller averaged a mark of 80.0 overall from 2017-2018.
He still offers some intrigue, but with a $9 million price tag and an impending free agency, sacrificing future draft capital for a one-year rental on a declining, aging player doesn’t seem like the move here.
As for Callahan, the former undrafted free agent has established himself as one of the league’s premier slot corners throughout his career. He, like Fuller, will also hit free agency in 2022. The Giants did just lose Rodarius Williams for the season, which could theoretically open the door for a player such as Callahan on the inside. With that said, we’d much rather see those snaps go to a player like Holmes or possibly move Love down to the nickel, as the team has struggled to make the most out of their safety logjam.