The New York Giants are addressing a need before free agency and the NFL draft. A glaring position where they need talent is at linebacker.
Before making the playoffs, the Giants signed former first-round pick Jarrad Davis off the Detroit Lions practice squad to provide depth. They now want to run it back with the playoff linebacker.
According to the New York Giants’ official Twitter account, the team has signed Davis, who was set to become a free agent, to a new contract.
Davis, 28, came in and played three games with the Giants, two of which were in the playoffs. The former first-round pick ended his season with 18 tackles, two quarterback hits, one tackle for loss and two pass deflections.
Outside of the Giants’ playoff win in Minnesota, Davis was thrown into the fire quickly, playing meaningful snaps on defense. In Week 18 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he played 96 percent of the snaps, and in the Divisional Round, he played 90 percent of the defensive snaps.
The terms of the deal are for one year and $1.08 million, with a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
Can Davis Become A Starter In 2023?
The contract Davis signed doesn’t handicap the Giants from signing other free agent linebackers or taking one high in the draft. If they decide to release him at any point, there will be no dead cap carrying over from his deal. It allows the team flexibility at a position they are certainly doing their due diligence on.
According to NFL Insider Matt Lombardo, “the Giants are showing significant interest in the linebacker market, as free agency nears.”
It makes sense for New York to upgrade their talent, given Davis was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded linebacker on their roster in 2022, playing in just three games. Even with him getting the best defensive grade, Davis still ranks 109th among other NFL linebackers in the category.
The former first-round didn’t play his best in the final playoff game but has upside talent the Giants hope defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale can get out of him. Martindale has a history with linebackers performing well in his scheme. During his time in Baltimore, he helped first-round picks C.J. Mosley and Patrick Queen have career seasons.
Martindale has a history of getting the best out of linebackers who aren’t necessarily household names. Patrick Onwuasor was an undrafted free agent in 2016 and had his best season under Martindale in 2018 with 59 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss.
Davis was drafted by the Detroit Lions at No. 21 in the 2017 draft but could not stay productive after his sophomore season. The Lions saw enough from their linebacker and decided not to pick up his fifth-year option, making him a free agent in 2021. Davis signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets but could not become more than a rotational piece.
His role with the Giants might not be more than a depth piece, but New York is willing to take a chance and see what Davis can do with an entire offseason learning the system. Even if New York decides to draft a linebacker in the first round, Davis would be a veteran that could help bring the rookies along.