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Will this group show improvement?
The New York Giants’ EDGE position isn’t winning any awards for a top unit in the National Football League, but the position group certainly has potential. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines each had 4.5 sacks behind Markus Golden who led the team with 10. There was no other EDGE player, besides those three, that recorded a full sack on the season (Tuzar Skipper had .5).
Nevertheless, the Giants added one EDGE player via free agency who should have an impact, Kyler Fackrell, and one in the draft who could potentially make the team, Carter Coughlin. Furthermore, Oluwale Betiku was added in undrafted free agency; Betiku was a talented EDGE player for USC who transferred to Illinois after suffering injuries in Southern Californa. There’s potential with Betiku, but that’s all it is right now. Let’s go through the changes between the 2019 and the 2020 roster at the EDGE position.
Why the Giants might be better
It was all but accepted that the Giants were going to move on from Markus Golden in free agency. The gifted pass rusher recorded 10 sacks last season and was looking to cash in. Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman had a card up his sleeve called the unrestricted free agent tender that would keep Golden under Giants’ control for $4.125 million through the 2020 season.
The tender was a wise move by Gettleman because it allowed Golden to play the market. If Golden found a suitor, then he would have counted towards the Giants 2021 compensatory compensation program. Since Golden failed to find a team by July 22nd, he’s left with either signing the tender or not playing in 2020 at all. By all accounts, he plans to sign and play this season, which should really add to the depth of one of the weakest, on paper, position groups on the Giants.
The addition of Fackrell, a player who had a 10.5 sack season in 2018, and the retention of Golden at a low cost, should really help improve the Giants’ EDGE room. The growth of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines should also theoretically assist the Giants’ EDGE room as well.
Why the Giants might be worse
New York didn’t lose much in terms of talent on the EDGE position. The biggest problem with the unit was the lack of proven talent, to begin with. Golden seems to be staying with the team, which ensures their No. 1 sack leader from 2019 is retained – this is huge. I don’t necessarily believe that Golden will have another 10 sack season, but it’s hard to think the unit got worse after adding Fackrell and retaining Golden.
I put Tuzar Skipper’s name in the key losses, despite him being waived midseason. I didn’t agree with the move at the time (even though I supported the addition of Deone Bucannon), but hopefully, it was a vote of confidence for the potential progression that the former coaching staff saw in Ximines and Carter.
By using the unrestricted free agent tender on Golden, the Giants were able to make the decision for this article that much easier. The Giants had 36 sacks in 2019; this should hopefully rise because the secondary should be better under Graham than it was under Bettcher, and the team’s EDGE players are slightly better with the addition of Fackrell.