Giants urged to sign Bears guard James Daniels

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Chicago Bears goaltender James Daniels.

While we keep our fingers crossed Joe Schoen doesn’t let go of any reference to ‘hog mollies’ during his introductory press conference, the new Giants general manager faces the same daunting task that his predecessor Dave Gettleman so drastically failed to — rebuild the offensive line.

To Gettleman’s credit, he appears to have hit 2020 No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas. After an up-and-down rookie campaign, the former Georgia star has made leaps and bounds in Year 2, giving up just two sacks and ranking as the NFL’s eighth best pass blocker in 2021. , according to Pro Football Focus.

So the Giants have left tackle themselves, check. As for the other four positions along the offensive front? A complete dice game.

Center/guard Nick Gates, who was arguably the team’s most consistent offensive lineman in 2020, is admittedly uncertain about his playing future after suffering a horrific leg injury in Week 2 of this season. Will Hernandez easily pulled through for his mauler character but easily fails in the production department. An imminent free agent this offseason, the former second-round pick’s days at East Rutherford could very well be coming to an end. Billy Price could theoretically be factored into the starting unit, but he’s also ready to hit the open market. As for Matt Peart, the excitement surrounding the UConn product dimmed considerably after he failed to beat the rapidly regressing 33-year-old Nate Solder for the correct tackle position. And that was before he suffered a torn ACL in late December.

Simply put, there is a lot of uncertainty and very little upside along the offensive line in New York. That’s why PFF suggests that Schoen go out and sign Chicago Bears guard James Daniels in free agency.


Giants called to sue Daniels

Daniels, 24, finished the 2021 campaign as PFF’s 20th ranked guard (71.8 rating). As for the Giants, their entire guard as a whole ranked in the bottom five groups in football last season. Does that make Daniels and the Giants a heavenly game? PFF’s Brad Spielberger clearly thinks so, naming him the only free agent the G-Men should pursue this offseason:

The Giants’ handling of their interior offensive line this past offseason was confusing to say the least, trading for two potential starters just before the start of the season. They need to stop with the band-aids and take a big step to solidify the unit of quarterback Daniel Jones or whoever will be under center in 2022.

Daniels will still be just 24 in Week 1 and has experience playing all three inside locations. Starting at right guard in 2021, he had a career-high 72.4 run blocking rating as Chicago leaned more into a rushing out-of-area attack. Daniels has four straight seasons with ratings above 65.0 despite ever-changing positions and with the Bears moving from a mostly inside-zone scheme to the ever-popular wide-zone system. There may be serious untapped potential here.

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Daniels set for massive payday

Of course, building blocks under 25 don’t hit the free agency pool very often, and when they do, they’re usually rewarded with a hefty paycheck. If the Bears allow Daniels to walk this offseason, his situation should be no different.

Given recent contracts signed by Shaq Mason of the Patriots and Graham Glasgow of the Broncos, Spielberger projects that Daniels will land a five-year free agency deal worth $50 million ($10 million a year) with 24 million dollars guaranteed.

A second-round pick from Iowa in 2018, Daniels has started 48 of his 54 games for the Bears. Last season marked the second time in his four-year career in which he appeared in every regular season game. In return, he posted a career-best 72.4 PFF run blocking rating.

It’s hard to imagine Chicago letting Daniels escape their grasp. That said, should he find himself on the open market, his presence would surely be a welcome addition to a Giants team that finished 2021 with the ninth-worst point offense in the league.

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