The New York Giants are tweaking their roster in the days leading up to the start of training camp.
Over the weekend, the Giants announced the signing of former Seattle Seahawks defensive back Gavin Heslop. The 6-foot, 197-pound athlete is a local product from Yonkers, N.Y. who went undrafted out of Stony Brook in 2020.
Via Giants.com editor Dan Salomone on Twitter:
To make room for Heslop on the roster, the Giants released backup offensive lineman Korey Cunningham, who played in 12 games (zero starts) for New York last season.
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Rookies and select veterans reported to Giants training camp last week. The rest of the team will report on Tuesday, July 26.
What the Giants Are Getting in Gavin Heslop
Heslop does not bring a ton of experience with him to New York. He spent most of the 2020 season on Seattle’s practice squad and only appeared in three games last season before landing on injured reserve with a broken tibia and fibula, according to the New York Post.
Here’s a clip of Heslop making a tackle for a loss during last year’s preseason:
The Giants’ defensive backfield has been identified by multiple outlets as the team’s biggest roster hole heading into the 2022 season. They are currently a little thinner at cornerback than they are at safety. Heslop played cornerback in college and with the Seahawks, but the New York Post story describes him as a safety.
The projected starters at cornerback are Adoree’ Jackson and second-year pro Aaron Robinson. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love are expected to start at safety, with Darnay Holmes and third-round rookie Cor’Dale Flott set to battle it out for the nickel back role.
Heslop will provide this shaky unit with some valuable depth.
What the Giants Are Losing in Korey Cunningham
By terminating the contract of Korey Cunningham, the Giants are parting ways with their swing tackle from last year. Although Cunningham appeared in a career-high 12 games last season, he only played a total of 113 offensive snaps (15 percent) in those games.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Cunningham in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he started at left tackle all six of the games in which he appeared as a rookie. In two seasons with the New England Patriots (2019-2020) and one with the Giants (2021), however, he did not make a single start.
The Giants picked up former Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Matt Gono earlier this offseason. With Cunningham out of the picture, Gono (four starts in 21 career games played) is now in prime position to claim the role of swing tackle. His top competition will be third-round rookie Joshua Ezeudu.
What Does This Move Mean For The Giants Overall?
By adding Heslop and releasing Cunningham, the Giants are showing that they’re a bit more comfortable with their personnel along the offensive line than they are with the secondary. The focus of the offseason was to bolster the offensive line, leading to the signing of Mark Glowinski in free agency and the selection of Evan Neal in the draft. The secondary, on the other hand, got hit hardest with cost cutting moves like releasing former Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry.
This recent move reflects New York’s overall approach to the offseason under first-year head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.