The New York Giants have enjoyed one of the more stellar offseasons across the NFL. From supplying quarterback Daniel Jones a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver in Kenny Golladay to “Trader Dave” taking the 2021 NFL Draft by storm, the G-Men have certainly made waves this summer.
Could they soon put the final touches on their roster restructure with the addition of a former NFL sack leader?
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Giants Pegged as Suitors for Justin Houston
For all the good Leonard Williams brought to the interior of New York’s defensive front this past season, the franchise has lacked a legitimate edge presence for a near-decade. Since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 12.5 sack campaign in 2014, only one Giants defensive end/outside linebacker — Markus Golden (10.0 sacks in 2019) — has recorded a double-digit sack season.
Big Blue is hopeful that second-round pick Azeez Olujari can change that trend in due time. Yet, while the Giants wait for Olujari to get accustomed to the NFL, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine believes a fellow Georgia alumn — Justin Houston — can help shoulder some of the heavy lifting in the pass-rushing department.
“The New York Giants stand out as another possibility,” Ballentine wrote, also floating the Falcons and Colts as other potential suitors. “They just drafted Azeez Olujari in the second round but, like Kwity Paye, he might not be ready to be the No. 1 pass-rusher out of the gate. Taking a high-floor player like Houston could actually improve their respective rookie seasons.”
Houston Continues to Be a Disruptive Force, Even at His Older Age
As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, Houston collected an absurd 22 sacks — tied for second-most sacks in a single season in NFL history. Is he still that much of a force off the edge, some seven years later? No. But the falloff has been way less drastic for the 32-year-old defender than one might expect.
Houston, who is just one year removed from earning a prolific 87.1 overall PFF grade, has not recorded fewer than 8.0 sacks in each of the past four seasons. Since arriving in Indianapolis back in 2019, he’s averaged 9.5 sacks per season (19 sacks total). In comparison, newly-signed Ifeadi Odenigbo’s 10.5 sacks over that same two-year span are the most by a Giants edge rusher. The next closest player on the current roster is Lorenzo Carter — coincidently yet another Georgia product who has collected just 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
“Matthew Judon, Shaquil Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue and Bud Dupree all got paid this spring with multi-year deals. None of them had more sacks than Justin Houston did with the Indianapolis Colts last year,” Ballentine noted. “The former Chiefs and Colts pass-rusher might not have the same burst and athleticism that made him an elite player but he clearly has the savvy and technique to still get after quarterbacks as part of a rotation.”