Giants to Sign Ex-Bucs Super Bowl Winner to Bolster Defensive Depth: Report

Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Getty The New York Giants made their first signing in free agency by adding a Super Bowl winner to boost depth.

The New York Giants have made their first signing in 2023 NFL free agency by “agreeing terms” with a Super Bowl winner who will bolster depth on one side of the trenches.

Big Blue agreed a deal with defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches on Monday, March 13, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:

The deal could last as long as three years, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who also broke down how much Nunez-Roches will earn if he remains a Giant for the full length of the contract:

Nunez-Roches last played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom he helped win Super Bowl LV to cap the 2020 season. He played 13 snaps when the Bucs beat his former team the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

Former Bucs analyst Jon Ledyard let Giants fans know what to expect from a “huge trash talker” who was “popular in the locker room.”

Now, Nunez-Roches will join a Giants’ defensive line loaded at the starter level, but lacking credible talent in reserve. It’s a problem general manager Joe Schoen has identified and moved quickly to address.

Giants Make Smart Signing to Fix Underrated Problem

The lack of depth along the front is an underrated problem when Justin Ellis and Nick Williams are both free agents. Williams and Ellis are big bodies who can step in to play over center, occupy double teams and fill rushing lanes on early downs.

They are also supposed to offer a breather to more dynamic starters Leonard Williams and All-Pro nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II. The latter is set to play on the fifth year option of his rookie deal but is in line for a contract extension after a breakout campaign.

As for Williams, he carries a hefty salary cap hit worth $32,260,000 for this year, according to Schoen will want to trim that number, but his first priority has been replacing Ellis and Williams after having “obsessively mentioned” line depth as an issue, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Nunez-Roches won’t supplant Williams in the starting lineup, but he will help address Schoen’s pet peeve.

Veteran Trench Warrior an Ideal Scheme Fit for Giants

At 6’2″, 307 pounds, Nunez-Roches has experience lining up at both defensive end and nose tackle. He logged two sacks and made five tackles for loss during 10 starts last season, per Pro Football Reference.

The highlights of Nunez-Roches’ final season at Raymond James Stadium were relayed by Bobby Skinner of Talkin’ Giants:

Nunez-Roches is battle-tested and versatile, but still just 29 and with an ample amount of big-game experience. The eight-year pro has also played in defensive schemes similar to what the Giants run under coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.

Blitzing is the hallmark of Martindale’s play-calling, just as it is for Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles and former Chiefs’ DC Bob Sutton. Nunez-Roches will have no trouble fitting into the aggressive and creative blueprint the Giants execute on Martindale’s watch.

As first signings go, this rates as a smart, under-the-radar move from Schoen, who found excellent value in the market a year ago. He needs to do the same this year after handing a new contract to quarterback Daniel Jones and applying the franchise tag to running back Saquon Barkley.

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