A recent Bleacher Report article suggested that the New York Giants' biggest off-season regret might very well be the drafting of receiver Kadarius Toney, whose rookie season has gotten off to a bumpy start due to circumstances that weren't necessarily in his control.
But before the inscription on the Giants' "Biggest Off-season Regret" plaque is ordered for a regret that doesn't exist for the simple reason that Toney has yet to play a meaningful snap for the team, here are three other more-realistic considerations for what could end up as the Giants' biggest off-season regret.
Cutting OL Kevin Zeitler
While it's fair to say that guard Kevin Zeitler wasn't quite the same player he was when the Giants acquired him in a trade with Cleveland in 2018, Zeitler still was the most consistent and reliable Giants starting offensive lineman last year.
He was also the most expensive of the bunch, due to count for over $12 million against the team's salary cap, which is a big reason why he is an ex-Giant today.
Combine that with the Giants' desire to get their younger players on the field--guards Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux--and the move, on paper, made sense all-around for the Giants.
That said, Zeitler was also the veteran presence on that unit and the calming voice. Again, while the team believes that those young players that last year filled their roles for the first time in the NFL can now better handle whatever comes their way, only time will tell how well prepared they are.
For the Giants' sake, they better hope the offensive line is indeed better than last year, else it's going to be another long season.
Letting DT Dalvin Tomlinson Leave Via Free Agency
For at least two straight years, the Giants' defensive line not only was the strength of the team, but it was also one of the lowest-paid units on the Giants.
But all good things have to come to an end. When the Giants had to decide whether to re-sign Leonard Williams or Dalvin Tomlinson, they prioritized Williams.
Tomlinson, who signed a two-year, $21 million contract with the Vikings, was more than just a run stuffer. He drew double teams and was athletic enough to push the pocket to create pressure.
He recorded 7.0 sacks over his last two seasons and had 73 total pressures in four seasons with the Giants.
That's not easy production to replace. But the good news is if anyone can figure out a way to put guys in a position to get it done, it's Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Not extending Jabrill Peppers' Contract
Safety Jabrill Peppers is due to count for $6.77 million against this year's salary cap, the ninth highest figure on the Giants in 2021, and an amount resulting from the fact that he's playing in the option year of his rookie deal.
Although the figure has already been accounted for under the team's cap, it's still a headscratcher that the Giants didn't take advantage of the opportunity to lower his 2021 cap hit. Doing so would have opened up more space to spend on potential free agents cut from other teams at the end of training camp.
Regardless of their reasons--and it's not known if there were talks that just never materialized--if Peppers isn't in the team's long-term plans, it will be interesting to see if the Giants try to move Peppers by the trading deadline, at which point they would recoup about half of that $6.77 million to carry over into 2022.
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