Giants Urged to Sign Bears Starter Primed for $50 Million Payday

Giants urged to sign James Daniel

Getty Chicago Bears guard James Daniels.

While we’re crossing our fingers Joe Schoen doesn’t drop any references to “hog mollies” during his introductory press conference, the new Giants GM is met with the same daunting task that his predecessor Dave Gettleman so drastically failed at  — rebuilding the offensive line.

To Gettleman’s credit, he looks to have hit on 2020 No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas. After an up-and-down rookie campaign, the former Georgia standout improved leaps and bounds in year two, surrendering just two sacks and grading out as the NFL’s eighth-best pass blocker in 2021, per Pro Football Focus.

So the Giants have themselves a left tackle, check. As for the other four positions along the offensive front? A complete crapshoot.

Center/guard Nick Gates, who was arguably the team’s most consistent offensive lineman in 2020, is admittedly uncertain about his playing future after suffering a gruesome leg injury in Week 2 of this season. Will Hernandez has readily gotten by for his mauler persona but readily falls short in the production department. An impending free agent this offseason, the former second-round pick’s days in East Rutherford may very well be coming to an end. Billy Price could theoretically factor into the starting unit, but he’s also set to hit the open market.  As for Matt Peart, the excitement surrounding the UConn product greatly dampened after he failed to beat out a rapidly regressing, 33-year-old Nate Solder for the right tackle position. And that was before he suffered a torn ACL in late December.

In layman’s terms, there’s a whole bunch of uncertainty and very little upside along the offensive line in New York. This is why PFF is suggesting Schoen goes out and signs Chicago Bears guard James Daniels in free agency.


Giants Called on to Pursue Daniels

Daniels, 24, finished the 2021 campaign as PFF’s 20th-ranked guard (71.8 grade). As for the Giants, their entire guard position as a whole ranked as a bottom-five group in football this past season. Does that make Daniels and the Giants a match made in heaven? PFF’s Brad Spielberger clearly thinks so, naming him the one free agent the G-Men should pursue this offseason:

The Giants’ handling of their interior offensive line this past offseason was baffling, to say the least, trading for two eventual starters just before the season began. They need to stop with the bandaids and make a big move to solidify the unit for quarterback Daniel Jones or whoever will be under center in 2022.

Daniels will still be just 24 years old in Week 1 and has experience playing at all three spots on the interior. Starting at right guard in 2021, he earned a career-high 72.4 run-blocking grade as Chicago leaned further into an outside-zone rushing attack. Daniels has four straight seasons with grades above 65.0 despite constantly changing positions and with the Bears switching from a predominantly inside-zone scheme to the ever-popular wide-zone system. There may be serious untapped potential here.

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Daniels Primed for Massive Payday

Of course, sub-25-year-old building blocks don’t hit the free agency pool very often, and when they do, they are typically rewarded with a hefty paycheck. Should the Bears allow Daniels to walk this offseason, his situation shouldn’t be any different.

Taking into consideration the recent contracts Shaq Mason of the Patriots and Graham Glasgow of the Broncos have inked, Spielberger projects Daniels to earn a five-year deal in free agency, worth $50 million ($10 million annually) with $24 million guaranteed.

A second-round pick out of Iowa in 2018, Daniels has started 48 of his 54 games with the Bears. This past season marked the second time in his four-year career in which he appeared in every regular-season game. In return, he posted a career-best 72.4 PFF run-blocking grade.

It’s difficult to envision Chicago letting Daniels escape their grasp. With that said, should he find himself on the open market, his presence would surely be a welcomed addition to a Giants team that finished 2021 with the league’s ninth-worst rush offense.

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Joe Gerber
Joe Gerber
3 months ago

trade him for a good draft pick…or 2

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