The Trai Turner watch has officially come to an end for the New York Giants — yet, as The Athletic’s Dan Duggan noted, another watch may now be upon us. Turner, a five-time Pro Bowler, is heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers to fill the void left behind at right guard following the sudden release of a fellow perennial Pro Bowler, David DeCastro.
“David was without a doubt one of the premier offensive linemen during his time with us,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in a statement. “He helped us win a lot of football games, but it was David’s consistency, reliability and professionalism that stood out more than anything else. We wish him the best moving forward in his career.”
Decastro has been dealing with injuries of late and it sounds as if retirement could be in the cards for the 31-year-old. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the two-time First-Team All-Pro has been having his ankle evaluated, the same ankle that has been nagging the Stanford alumn dating back to the 2020 offseason when he underwent surgery to repair a bone spur problem. Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that DeCastro revealed to him via text that he will indeed need to get a third surgery on his ankle and that his future playing status hinges on “how the surgery goes.”
Despite his injury issues, DeCastro appeared in 13 games a season ago, playing well enough to notch his sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl berth. With that said, his Pro Football grade has steadily declined every season since his monstrous 90.0 mark back in 2017, earning a 64.1 grade in 2020.
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Giants’ Current Situation at Guard
Whether it’s Matt Peart or Nate Solder who nails down the starting gig at right tackle during training camp, four of the team’s five offensive spots are essential spoken for. That is, aside from the right guard position.
Kevin Zeitler had manned the right guard spot for each of the past two seasons, serving as one of the offense’s most consistent contributors. However, the former first-round pick fell victim to a cap causality earlier this offseason, as the Giants saved $12 million against the cap thanks to his release. Zeitler didn’t have to wait around long to find work, as he found a home with the Baltimore Ravens one week later.
While the Giants were extremely aggressive this offseason addressing weak links on their roster, the team has yet to make a move that would blatantly replace Zeitler in their starting lineup. They did go out and sign a 90-game starter in Zach Fulton. However, the fact that he allowed the most sacks (11) and the second-most pressures (39) by a guard this past season certainly leaves much to be desired. Will Hernandez, 25, is likely the preferred candidate to claim the job. Yet, he’s never actually logged a single snap at the position over his three-year NFL career.
Does DeCastro Make Sense for New York?
In layman’s terms, yes. Although, that’s not to say there aren’t potential drawbacks. Of course, this mostly hinges on DeCastro’s injury status. If he indeed undergoes yet another surgery, when will he be ready to return to the field? Will he return to the field? If he returns to the field, will his play continue to decline as he delves into the tail end of his career? These are all things to take into consideration.
The next logical step would be making sure the financial aspect of things is a match. While he’s certainly got enough question marks latched to his name to bog down his potential earnings some, this is still a man coming off his sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl. The Giants currently have a smidge over $3.2 million in cap space, according to Spotrac. The aformentioned Dan Duggan reported back in May that Turner had been asking for a salary between $2 million and $3 million, clearly not cheap enough to gauge the Giants’ full interest.
With all that said, the Giants have needed to upgrade their offensive line for what seems like years. We understand the idea of letting the young guys grow in unison. Yet, at the same time, if you’ve got a chance to add a player widely perceived as one of the very best at his position, you have to at least entertain the prospect — right?
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