While Andrew Thomas’ rising play over the first quarter of the regular season has rightfully garnered headlines, the New York Giants offensive line is far from a polished group. Long-term injuries have decimated the interior of the group, leaving the team to trot out four different offensive line combinations in as many weeks.
At the tackle position, Nate Solder has managed to keep second-year pro Matt Peart on the bench — which likely says more about Peart (and the team’s presumptive lack of faith in him) than it does about Solder. Thomas, on the other hand, is playing at an All-Pro level but is currently dealing with a foot injury that could at the very least sideline him for Week 5’s bout with the Dallas Cowboys.
With lingering concerns across their starting five, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay has zeroed in on veteran right tackle Mitchell Schwartz as a potential plug-and-play in-season addition that could be of good service for the G-Men:
Schwartz is still a major asset at one of the game’s most important positions when healthy. He earned a respectable 74.7 grade from PFF last year and scored at least an 84.0 mark in each of the two seasons prior.
There is no shortage of clubs that could benefit from Schwartz’s presence.
The Giants have lost two starters for a lengthy amount of time after Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux went down with injuries. Right tackle Nate Solder has played poorly after sitting out the 2020 campaign, earning a 51.5 PFF grade.
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Von Miller Calls Schwartz the Toughest Lineman He’s Faced
Schwartz’s resume speaks for itself. A three-time second-team All-Pro selection and a one-time first-teamer over his five-year run in Kansas City, the Cal product has long been perceived as one of the best in the business at his position. However, don’t take my word for it, take the word of former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The Denver Broncos star recently joined Colin Cowherd for an interview where he surprised the host by naming Schwartz as the toughest offensive lineman matchup of his career.
I think the toughest challenge for me was Mitchell Schwartz. You wouldn’t expect it. I think Mitchell Schwartz having a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes that could really play to his angles… I had the toughest time with Mitchell Schwartz. I’m really surprised he’s not on a team right now.
Any move I would try, he would be sitting on it. Any good rush I would have, Patrick Mahomes would trump that or scramble or throw the ball away. But playing Mitchell Schwartz and the Kansas City Chiefs was always tough for me. And it’s shocking to me that Mitchell Schwartz is not on a team right now, because I know he still has some good football left.
Why Schwartz Remains a Free Agent
While he’s on the wrong side of 30, Schwartz has shown a high level of play recently enough to warrant a spot on an NFL roster — and likely a starting gig. He’s less than two seasons removed from playing at an All-Pro level and has over 100 games of playing experience under his belt. However, the likely reason he remains on the open market one month into the regular season is his health. The veteran right tackle missed 10 games for the Chiefs in 2020 after undergoing back surgery.
Schwartz appeared on KCSP-AM in late April where he highlighted that he had been receiving interest from potential suitors but was prioritizing getting his health squared away first.
“I gotta figure that out,” said Schwartz. “I know some other teams have inquired, but again, just waiting to feel healthy. And once I feel healthy, then I can evaluate.”
We’d like to think Schwartz is at full strength now. And if that proves to be the case, he’d almost certainly be an upgrade over Solder on the right side of the offensive line. Preferably, we’d prioritize giving Peart a look opposite Thomas. However, if the Giants have their doubts about Peart ever being a mainstay on their offensive line, then adding a 134-game career starter is a nice way to improve on the go for a unit in vast need of consistency.