Giants Showed ‘Serious’ Interest in Former $36 Million CB: Report

Giants offered contract or inquired about Steven Nelson before retirement.

Getty An NFL insider revealed that the New York Giants showed interest in free agent cornerback Steven Nelson before he retired.

The New York Giants were mentioned in a report from KPRC2 NFL insider Aaron Wilson on the evening of June 9. The subject of the article was veteran cornerback Steven Nelson’s retirement, although there was a blurb that tied in several other franchises.

“Multiple NFL teams, including the [Houston] Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Commanders and Miami Dolphins made prospective contract offers or serious inquiries about signing Nelson this offseason when his two-year contract expired with Houston, according to several general managers and league sources,” Wilson noted.

Adding: “However, Nelson made the choice to instead step away from the game at this time for family and business reasons.”

Nelson will exit the league with 123 career starts (including playoffs) and over $36 million in earnings according to Over the Cap. He acknowledged that the upcoming birth of a new child had a lot to do with his decision.

“After thinking it over and having some talks with my family, I think it’s time for me to take a step back and spend more time with my family,” Nelson told Wilson over the phone. “We’re expecting a newborn this coming month and I wanted to devote all of my time and energy to that and various business ventures off the field.”

Nelson also said that he is “extremely proud of what I was able to do in the game of football.”

Should Giants Target Starting CB With Darren Waller Money?

Nelson’s announcement wasn’t the only big retirement news of the weekend. Giants tight end Darren Waller also made things official after his likely departure was rumored on June 3.

The decision frees up $11.9 million in cap space for Big Blue, with dead money hits of $6.6 million in 2024 and 2025 — per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Needless to say, Waller’s salary absence begs the question of who NYG should roster in his place. Does the front office target a new tight end? Or another reinforcement on the offensive line?

Or perhaps the biggest roster need is on the defensive side of the football.

“Among the weaknesses on the Giants’ roster, none are more prevalent than their lack of depth at cornerback,” Empire Sports Media writer Anthony Rivardo argued on June 10. “While the team has confidence in second-year cornerback Deonte Banks as their primary cover-man, they do lack an established starter at the No. 2 cornerback spot.”

Rivardo highlighted Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud as the “expected” candidates that should compete for the second starting job this summer, but the Giants could see this as an area that they can still upgrade with more spending money at their disposal.

After all, the organization hosted veteran CBs Darious Williams and Tre’Davious White before the news that they showed serious interest in Nelson.

Stephon Gilmore Is Still Top CB on the Market

Rivardo went on to single out Stephon Gilmore as an “intriguing addition” at cornerback.

“Gilmore is still available despite turning in a quality 2023 campaign with the Dallas Cowboys,” the analyst stated. “He surrendered only a 55.8% completion rate on the season while combining 13 pass defenses and two interceptions in 17 starts.”

Obviously, Gilmore is also as accomplished a player as there is on the free agent market at this time.

Not only is the journeyman cornerback a former defensive player of the year, but he’s also a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who has won a Super Bowl.

He’d likely be a major upgrade on Flott or McCloud, as well as anyone else who might step up within the Giants’ CB competition. Another pro of signing Gilmore? The veteran could help Banks unlock his true potential.

It’s unclear exactly how much Gilmore is looking for in free agency, but he played on a one-year deal with a base salary of $7.96 million last season. Although he was only guaranteed $4.49 million with the Cowboys, the long-time shutdown CB managed to earn approximately $10.98 million according to Over the Cap.

Alternative free agents include Xavien Howard, J.C. Jackson, Patrick Peterson and a reunion with Adoree’ Jackson at a lower price tag.

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