After spending the majority of the past week making headline-grabbing moves such as the signings of Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson, the New York Giants have kept their head down in recent days, quietly building out their roster — Thursday was no different.
The team has announced that they have officially signed veteran offensive lineman Zach Fulton, although details on the contract have yet to be revealed. Fulton, 29, brings loads of experience to one of the younger position groups on the entire Giants roster.
With Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates and (to a lesser degree) Matt Peart all penciled in as starters in 2021, the average age amongst the team’s core four is 23.25 years old, with no player exceeding 19 career starts. Fulton, on the other hand, arrives in East Rutherford with 90 career starts under his belt, including 16 in 2020 as a member of the Houston Texans.
We have officially signed OL Zach Fulton
— New York Giants (@Giants) March 25, 2021
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Fulton to Replace Kevin Zeitler?
You can almost certainly bank on it. Yes, Fulton does have experience at offensive tackle, but with Peart and veteran Nate Solder expected to compete for the right tackle spot, his presence isn’t likely needed at that position.
The versatile Fulton also started at center for the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2017, but Gates has the gig well locked down with the Giants. There’s also the possibility that the team brings in another guard via draft/free agency to challenge either him or Lemieux. Yet for now, all signs point towards Fulton manning the right guard spot left vacant by Kevin Zeitler come Week 1.
Zeitler, a cap casualty earlier this offseason who has since latched on with the Baltimore Ravens, was widely perceived as the team’s most prolific offensive lineman. Zeitler left New York with an 18 game consecutive starting streak intact, which at the time was the second-longest amongst Giants players. The leader in the category? Dalvin Tomlinson with 64, who has also played his final game in a Giants uniform.
What Fulton Brings to the Giants
A sixth-round pick out of Tennessee back in 2014, Fulton was thrust into the line of fire with the Chiefs, starting all 16 games with the team that season. He would go on to start 46 games during his tenure in Kansas City. The 6-foot-5-inch, 321-pounder was a jack of all trades for the Chiefs, starting games at numerous positions up and down the line for the Chiefs.
In 2018, Fulton inked a four-year, $28 million contract with $13 million guaranteed to join the Texans, where he settled in at right guard. Over the previous three seasons, Fulton started a total of 44 games for Houston, all at right guard.
Despite his extended run with the Texans, Fulton never quite won over the crew at Pro Football Focus. Over his three seasons in Texas, Fulton averaged an overall PFF grade of just 56.7. His 63.0 grade in 2020 was actually the best mark of his Texans career and the first time he cracked the 60s over that span. Fulton’s highest grade of his career came back in 2016 when he notched a 70.7 as a member of the Chiefs.
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