Sign Leonard Williams to a multi-year deal?
Land a big-time play-making receiver?
Find a legitimate No. 2 cornerback?
That's right, the Giants have been cutting a lot of checks since the start of free agency, and that comes as no surprise.
New York, coming off an encouraging 6-10 season, need to take the next step in their development as a team, and to do that, they had to carefully plan a path that saw them rely a little more heavily on free agency given they only have six draft picks.
But with the latest free agent signed, cornerback Adoree' Jackson, well, that's like the Giants picking up an extra first-round draft pick that addresses a big need in their defensive secondary.
Jackson, much like the rest of the projected starters in the secondary--corner James Bradberry and safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan--are versatile players who will allow defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to have some fun this year mixing and matching personnel into different packages.
Above all, the addition of Jackson cannot be understated in terms of the pass rush. The Giants finished last season in the top half of the league in terms of sacks--not bad considering they didn't have a legitimate pass-rushing force coming off the edges and the fact that they had a revolving door at their second cornerback spot that was inconsistent with holding coverage.
Now? If everyone stays healthy and the Giants can pluck a solid edge rusher in next month's draft, the sky truly is the limit for this team.
Here is what All-Titans team publisher David Boclair had to say about Jackson’s time in Tennessee—and his departure.
In 2020, the Titans picked up his fifth-year option for 2021, and the plan, with Logan Ryan gone, was for Jackson to start at left cornerback and occasionally rotate into the slot at times, based on matchups.
Instead, Jackson was added to the second injury report of Week 1 with a knee issue. He was then placed on injured reserve the day of the opener at Denver. He was designated for return on October 21 and practiced for a time. He was added to the active roster on November 11 but then did not practice for weeks.
He finally made his season debut December 20, playing in the final three games of the regular season and the one in the playoffs, but was not full speed.
After the season, I asked Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to clarify what went on with Jackson. His response was, "Wasn't available. When he was available to practice, we practiced him, and when he wasn't up for practice, he wouldn't be available for the game. When he was able to be available for the game, we played him and then we monitored how he felt and went from there."
Enlightening, for sure.
But to go back to before 2020, Jackson, while a good player, fell well short of all the Titans' plans when they drafted him. He was their primary return man as a rookie, but he lost those roles early in his second season because of bad decisions and some mishandled punts.
There was talk that he would be a guy who could contribute some on offense, but that never materialized. He has big-time speed but is not just fast. Through his first three seasons, he led all cornerbacks drafted in 2017 with 167 solo tackles and was fifth among that group with 33 passes defensed.
However, his playing time on defense decreased significantly in 2019, mainly because Ryan (who is not exactly known for his speed) was much better and more reliable.
Where He Fits
Jackson will step in as the No. 2 cornerback opposite James Bradberry, hopefully ending a revolving door at that second cornerback spot that last year saw Corey Ballentine, Isaac Yiadom, Ryan Lewis, and Julian Love all try to fill the spot.
Ballentine and Lewis are no longer with the team. Meanwhile, the addition of Jackson could indicate that Sam Beal, the team's third-round pick in the 2018 supplemental draft whom they were once thought to be eyeing as a potential long-term starter at one of the cornerback spots, will be reduced to a spot role--if the team carries him.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jackson's deal is three years, $39 million. The NFL Network also reports that he'll get $16 million in the first year and $27 million in the first two years of the deal.
What's next for the Giants this off-season? Sign up for our FREE newsletter for all the latest, and be sure to follow and like us on Facebook. Submit your questions for our mailbag. And don't forget to check out the daily LockedOn Giants podcast, also available for subscription wherever you find podcasts.