Giants GM Joe Schoen Accused of Creating ‘Major Concern’ on Defense

Joe Schoen

Getty Is general manager Joe Schoen to blame for the Giants' perceived issues in the secondary?

When the New York Giants hired Joe Schoen to take over as the team’s general manager this offseason, he was tasked with rebuilding the roster. In order to rebuild it properly, though, Schoen first had to tear some of it down.

Some positional groups are still reeling from the offseason overhaul, as the Giants have discarded key players without promising replacements. One area of the roster that keeps getting called out by fans and members of the media is the defensive backfield.

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The Athletic recently highlighted a “summer concern” for each of the NFL’s 32 teams, and Giants beat reporter Dan Duggan explicitly put the onus on Schoen for creating a “major concern” in the secondary.

Here’s what Duggan wrote for The Athletic (emphasis added):

It wasn’t possible for GM Joe Schoen to fill all of the Giants’ holes in his first offseason. But Schoen created holes in the secondary by releasing cornerback James Bradberry and safety Logan Ryan. The secondary is now a major concern. The Giants will be relying on 2021 third-round pick Aaron Robinson who was drafted to play in the slot, to replace Bradberry. Julian Love, who has been a utilityman in his first three seasons, will be expected to take over for Ryan. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s man-coverage-heavy system puts a lot of pressure on the secondary. That could make for a long season if the unproven replacements don’t step up.

The Athletic is far from the only NFL media outlet noticing this issue. recently ranked the Giants’ secondary eighth among the league’s “10 biggest remaining roster holes,” and ESPN recently highlighted it as the team’s “biggest remaining need.

Schoen has to be feeling the heat for some of the roster decisions he made this offseason, but it’s up for debate how much blame he deserves for the concerns in the secondary.

Who’s to Blame: Joe Schoen or Dave Gettleman?

Giants fans will naturally want to defend the new regime and cast the blame on former general manager Dave Gettleman, but only time can tell whether Schoen’s plan to rebuild the roster is without flaws.

The release of James Bradberry was strictly a cost cutting measure that saved the team just north of $10.1 million against the salary cap, according to ESPN. It also left them without a starting-caliber cornerback who made the Pro Bowl in 2020. Schoen originally wanted to trade Bradberry, but ultimately had to release him when no trade partner could be found.

The release of Logan Ryan appeared to be a layered decision. The move only saved the Giants $800,000 against the salary cap, per ESPN, and was described as being part of a larger “defensive reset” by team beat reporter Jordan Raanan.

Is Schoen to blame for moving on from these players without proven replacements? Or was his hand forced by a predecessor who put financial and leadership burdens on the “wrong” players?

Who Will Step Up and Lead the Secondary?

The problem in New York’s secondary isn’t just rooted in a perceived lack of talent; there’s also a leadership factor. They lost two team captains from last year: Safeties Logan Ryan (released) and Jabrill Peppers, who was not re-signed and joined the New England Patriots in free agency.

Julian Love, who has 16 career starts in three seasons, is a candidate to take on a captain role this season. He’s one player that appears to be stepping up both on the field and in the locker room. Two others that need to do the same are veteran cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (the Giants’ third highest-paid player in 2022, per Spotrac) and third-year safety Xavier McKinney (the Giants’ highest-graded player at Pro Football Focus last season).

If all three of those players step up, Schoen’s risky decision-making in the secondary may end up paying off.

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