Giants Urged to Sign Shane Bowen Favorite to Help Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence II

Getty A Shane Bowen favorite can help New York Giants' All-Pro Dexter Lawrence II see less double teams in 2024.

Creating one-on-one matchups for All-Pro nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II should be a priority for New York Giants defensive coordinator Shane Bowen. He can make it happen if the Giants sign one of his former players in 2024 NFL free agency, Tennessee Titans’ defensive end Denico Autry.

That’s the idea put forward by Dan Benton of USA Today Sports Giants Wire. Benton believes the Giants trading Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks mid-season “allowed more double- and triple-teams on nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and defensive end Denico Autry would certainly help to ease that pressure.”

Signing Autry to replace what Williams did has risks, but Benton thinks the veteran’s experience with Bowen offsets any jeopardy: “While Autry is a bit on the older side (34), he’s still highly productive and would be intimately familiar with Shane Bowen’s system.”

Aside from how well he knows the playbook, Autry is entering free agency off the back of a banner campaign: “In 2023, Autry recorded career-highs in tackles (50), forced fumbles (2) and sacks (11.5).”

Those numbers should appeal to the Giants. Especially since no D-lineman on their roster, not even the dominant Lawrence, logged more than 4.5 sacks last season.

Autry’s age means he isn’t likely to command a hefty fee on the market, even after positing impressive stats. So he represents a bargain for the Giants, who already look set to move on from defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson.

Denico Autry a Potential Bargain for Giants in Free Agency

Versatility is the key to Autry’s game. He can collapse the pocket from defensive end or tackle.

This sack of Desmond Ridder against the Atlanta Falcons was created by Autry running a stunt and looping inside, around defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.

The Autry and Simmons combination offers a blueprint for how Bowen can build a pass rush around Lawrence for the Giants. What Lawrence needs is an edge presence who can run the kind of twists and games Autry executed so often for Bowen in Tennessee.

Another fine example of a T-E stunt by Simmons and Autry, this one against the New Orleans Saints, was highlighted by The Draft Network’s Justin Melo.

The Giants should be able to recreate this double act for a bargain fee. Autry earned a $6.75 million base salary in 2023, per, a contract the Giants have sufficient cap space to at least match.

A chance to work with Bowen again will likely appeal to Autry and prevent the Giants from having to pay over the odds. Bowen ought to welcome the reunion so he can fashion a strong, front-line pass rush around Autry, Lawrence and outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux.

The trio would help Bowen run the gameplan-specific scheme he prefers. One that’s less blitz-happy than what predecessor Don ‘Wink’ Martindale used to call.

Shane Bowen Needs to Keep Dexter Lawrence Dominant

Martindale liked to blitz, but his biggest success was turning Lawrence from run-stuffing, gap-plugger into disruptive pass-rusher. Bowen should be able to keep Lawrence on track, based on his work with Simmons.

The latter became a two-time Pro Bowler on Bowen’s watch. It helped Bowen routinely moved Simmons to let him attack single gaps.

A great example occurred against the Jacksonville Jaguars, per Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View.

Moving Lawrence around to attack weak blockers or single gaps will increase the 26-year-old’s sack totals. No. 97 still does some of his best work over the ball, though.

Fortunately, Falato also pointed out how Bowen’s Titans defenses favored odd fronts with nickel personnel, including 3-3-5 looks. It means “Lawrence can still eat the souls of opposing centers.”

Letting Lawerence eat will be the best way for Bowen to create a more balanced defense. He’ll likely have to do it without Robinson, after the Giants voided the Super Bowl winner’s contract following just a single season, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic.

Robinson had looked set to cash in this offseason, but he’ll likely get paid by somebody other than the Giants. That’ll leave Big Blue in prime position to sign Autry.

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