Giants Lineman Expected to Retire Due to Career-Ending Injury: Report

Matt Gono

Getty Images Matt Gono lines up in the first quarters during a 2019 preseason game.

Last summer, before the 2021 preseason began, the New York Giants had a case of surprising retirements. There was a point when three veterans retired in four days. Offensive lineman Zach Fulton and Joe Looney and linebacker Todd Davis called it quits just days into their tenures.

Former head coach Joe Judge and ex-general manager Dave Gettleman are no longer with the franchise and the distractions have simmered down in 2022. There’s a new feeling in the air with new head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.

Unfortunately, the Giants have received terrible news. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, offensive tackle Matt Gono is expected to retire due to a neck injury that he started experiencing this week.  New York placed Gono on the exempt/left squad list on August 2, which is a list that is used for players contemplating retirement and opens up a roster spot to be used without cutting the player.

While not at the magnitude of Gano’s, the Giants also lost fourth-round rookie safety Dane Belton to a collarbone injury. He’s expected to miss the preseason.

The Giants haven’t officially announced Gono’s situation, but it’s only a matter of time.


Gano’s Career

Signing with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2019, Gono appeared in 21 games between 2019 and 2020. He had four starts during that span.

The New Jersey native would be released by the Falcons in January after missing the entire 2021 season due to a neck injury.

The Giants signed Gono after being cut by the Falcons in January. There was hope that he could contribute as a depth piece/swing tackle for the Giants. He posted a career-high 336 snaps in 2020, with 232 of them coming at right tackle, 68 at left guard, nine at left tackle and 27 as a jumbo tight end. During the 2020 season, Gono allowed one sack, five quarterback hits and 16 pressures.

Now, Gono’s departure left the Giants with one open spot on their 90-man roster.

New York didn’t waste time because according to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Giants claimed safety Nate Meadors off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns.


Questionable Depth at Tackle

The Giants have starting offensive tackles for the present and future in 2021 first-round pick Andrew Thomas and 2022 first-round pick Evan Neal.

However, the depth at tackle took a hit with the Giants potentially losing Gono.

Rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu will be the option to step up if Neal or Thomas go down. He’s been working at both tackle positions during training camp. The rest of the tackle depth consists of Matt Peart (currently on Physically Unable to Perform List), Devery Hamilton, Marcus McKethan and Roy Mbaeteka.

Shane Lemieux, who has taken snaps at guard and center during the summer, has shown a willingness to play tackle if needed.

Still, it’s not ideal to have a 2022 third-round pick tackle and a 2020 fifth-round pick to have major responsibilities. The Giants can investigate the free agent market. But with not many quality options available in free agency, the Giants could take a look at the trade market for any available swing tackles.

An option could be Chicago Bears tackle Teven Jenkins as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported on Tuesday that the Chicago Bears have been receiving trade inquiries about the 2021 second-round pick.

The Bears haven’t deemed Jenkins available, but the 24-year-old was seen working as the 2nd-team right tackle during minicamps, which sparked questions about his role.

NJ.com’s Art Stapleton presented a connection with Jenkins and general manager Schoen, who was a part of the Bills’ front office that met with the prospect heading into the 2021 draft.

The Bears and Giants also have a recent history of striking a deal. The Bears traded a 2022 first-round pick to the Giants to land quarterback Justin Fields.

If Jenkins were to be available, the Giants would definitely be in the fold.

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