While it may not be the defensive tackle New York Giants are waiting eagerly on, the team did address their front-seven with their first move of free agency. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the team is re-signing defensive lineman Austin Johnson.
Johnson receives a one-year deal worth $3 million (fully guaranteed) with another $500,000 in playing-time incentives, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. The New Jersey native has a $1.5 million salary and a $1.5 million roster bonus due this week.
A former second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, Johnson was an under-the-radar addition during last year’s free agency period. The Penn State product appeared in all 16 games for the Giants in 2020, amassing 18 total tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit on 231 defensive snaps (21%).
Johnson could potentially be in for an uptick in usage this season, depending on what happens with fellow defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason.
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Is Johnson a Small Piece in a Much Larger Haul?
Duggan hinted at the possibility: “If you’re wondering why the Giants are re-signing a depth DT on Day 1 of free agency, Austin Johnson is repped by Todd France,” he tweeted. “Perhaps they were talking about other clients when the Johnson deal was hammered out.”
Notable free agents that France reps include wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Will Fuller, as well as pass rushers Carl Lawson, Bud Dupree and Leonard Floyd — essentially every big-ticket name the Giants have been linked to throughout the offseason.
As for arguably the most notable name of that group, don’t be surprised if Golladay remains unsigned through the first day of the tampering period. The wide receiver group as a whole has endured the slowest moving market of all positions on Monday. Furthermore, it doesn’t sound as if Golladay is in a rush to get a deal done.
“I’m being patient right now,” the former Pro Bowler said in a phone conversation with ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “Just enjoying the process.”
Dalvin Tomlinson Speaks on Possibility of Returning to NY
With the Giants opting to place the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, retaining fellow defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson has catapulted atop the team’s to-do list.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News recently reported that the Giants “love” Tomlinson and will keep him if they can — something much easier said than done.
The former second-round pick is expected to net serious interest on the open market, with Pro Football Focus projecting he inks a deal worth $26.5 million in guaranteed money.
Speaking with Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated, Tomlinson voiced his desire to return to New York, but also acknowledged that the business side of things could potentially block such a move from occurring.
“When you get drafted by a team, you always see yourself back there because that’s your home,” Tomlinson said. “So of course, I can see myself back there and I would be more than happy to stay. But it’s a business and with the cap space, I just have to take it one day at a time. But I always see it as a possibility for me to be a New York Giant for life.”
“Everyone wants to be a part of something they helped start. It would be a blessing to be back in New York with the Giants to say the least,” he added. “What we are building reminds me of old school Giants football.”
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