A reunion is in the works in East Rutherford.
The New York Giants are signing former Dallas Cowboys center/guard Joe Looney, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. The move reunites the 10-year pro with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who served as Looney’s head coach in Dallas from 2016-2019. As ESPN’s Jordan Raanan noted, Looney caught Big Blue’s eye last offseason as the team offered the now 30-year-old a contract. However, he ultimately chose to stay put in Dallas re-upping on a one-year deal.
UPDATE: It didn’t take long for Looney to get his feet wet, as he’s already been spotted practicing with the team at training camp.
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Giants Have Been Actively Searching for Interior O-Line Help
Looney’s signing comes at a time when the Giants have been actively searching for help on the interior line. The team put in a failed waiver claim for ex-Arizona Cardinals center Lamont Gaillard last week. They’ve since followed it up by bringing in former Miami Dolphins center/guard Evan Boehm for a visit and are expected to take a closer look at ex-Kansas City Chiefs center Austin Reiter in the coming days, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Projected starting left guard Shane Lemieux recently suffered a knee injury in practice. And while it’s been determined that surgery will not be needed (via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport) he is expected to be sidelined for a handful of weeks. Also on the mend is offseason signing Jonotthan Harrison, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with a hamstring injury.
There has even been chatter in New York that starting center Nick Gates may need to shift over to center should Lemieux’s injury trickle into the start of the regular season. The good news here is Looney offers position flexibility, playing both center and guard throughout his career, which should give the team freedom to piece together the offensive line as they see fit moving forward.
A fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2014, Looney spent the first three seasons of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, rarely seeing the field. Following his exit from San Francisco, Looney had a cup of coffee with the Tennessee Titans before joining the Cowboys in 2016. However, his first two seasons went much like his time in San Francisco, as the Florida native was delegated to backup duties.
It wasn’t until All-Pro Travis Frederick missed the entire 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, that Looney manned an every-down role. Looney went on to start all 16 games for the Cowboys that season. While he proved serviceable as a placeholder, his 55.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade left much to be desired.
The following year he reverted back to a reserve role with Frederick returning to action. Looney still appeared in all 16 games but only notched one start under his belt. This past year Looney stepped back into the spotlight a bit, starting 12 of his 13 games after Frederick announced his retirement from the NFL at just 29 years old.
Looney isn’t a sure thing for Big Blue’s 53-man roster, as he’ll likely have to compete with the likes of the aforementioned Jonotthan Harrison and free-agent signing Zach Fulton. However, if Looney has anything going for him it’s his ability to line up at multiple positions. As do-it-all defensive back Julian Love told reporters recently, head coach Joe Judge “rewards versatility.”
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