American Football

5 potential 2023 free agents the Giants should watch during the Divisional Round


New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Could any of these players be Giants next season?

The 2023 NFL Playoffs continue into the Divisional Round on Saturday, where the Elite Eight battle for a bid in their respective conference championship games. The Jacksonville Jaguars visit the Chiefs on Saturday to open the weekend at 4:30 p.m. ET, before the Eagles host the Giants at 8:15 p.m. The Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. on Sunday before the weekend is concluded with the Dallas Cowboys on the road vs. the San Francisco 49ers at 6:30 p.m.

We’re incredibly excited and honored to be watching our beloved New York Giants this weekend. However, we can still look at other teams’ impending free agents with curiosity. The Giants are far from a complete roster.

They can upgrade key positions or add depth, and some of those options may be playing on the seven other teams still fighting for a dance in Glendale, Az., this February. Here are five impending free agents who make sense for this Giants’ coaching staff:

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Bills

This addition makes sense for many reasons. He was drafted in the first round by Brandon Beane and Joe Schoen in 2018; there’s familiarity, and Edmunds fits the mold of smart, tough, and dependable. The Bills signed linebacker Matt Milano to a four-year, $44 million contract with $24 million guaranteed. Buffalo also drafted Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard in the third round. That means Edmunds is likely going to hit the market.

Edmunds was drafted as the second-youngest player ever to be selected; he was just 19 years old at the time of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is still only 24 years old. The two-time Pro Bowler has elite length and size that are combined with enticing movement skills and speed:

According to Pro Football Focus, Edmunds had a career season in 2022 with 81 tackles and a missed tackle rate of only 7.8 percent. Edmunds added 38 STOPS, an interception, and 10 PBUs. Adding a player like Edmunds would significantly help the Giants at the second level.

Edmunds would fortify one of the biggest holes on the Giants’ roster, but he’ll likely carry a heavy price tag. predicts an average annual salary of $11 million per year, which is dictated by the market. I believe he’ll earn more than that, which puts a damper on the Giants potentially signing him.

Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Julian Love, and other key players are free agents this season. New York has to worry about Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney as well. The Giants should have more operating room this offseason. has the Giants having $54 million before roster adjustments that could free up more space.

Signing Edmunds isn’t impossible, and the fit makes sense for a variety of reasons, but New York has other decisions on players wearing blue this weekend that could affect the way GM Joe Schoen spends during free agency.

T.J. Edwards, LB, Eagles

The Giants will receive a good glimpse of Edwards on Saturday night. The former Wisconsin Badger has played more than 1,000 snaps for Jonathan Gannon’s defense. He had the second-most tackles in the league with 125 while recording 51 STOPs. For what it’s worth, he was Pro Football Focus’ fifth highest graded LB this season.

Edwards isn’t flashy. He’s not the biggest – 6-foot-1, 242 pounds – nor is he the fastest, but he’s very instinctive and understands how to leverage his run fits, while maximizing his coverage ability through processing.

Edwards will likely not command the same contract as Edmunds, but he would make a great addition to Wink Martindale’s defense after spending time in Jim Leonhard’s similar aggressive system in college.

Khalen Saunders, DL, Chiefs

Defensive line is an understated need for the 2023 New York Giants. Big Blue has arguably the best duo of defensive tackles in the NFL with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, but there’s a dearth of talent behind the two. That deficiency bore out with Williams dealing with nagging injuries all season.

Ryder Anderson and Henry Mondeaux are developmental pieces. D.J. Davidson fits into that category as well, but he’s rehabbing a torn ACL suffered against the Packers in London. 32-year-old Justin Ellis ideally shouldn’t play 369 snaps for a playoff defense. Upgrades are needed, and if the Giants opt to sign a free agent defensive lineman, Saunders makes sense.

I had the pleasure of working with Saunders when I interned at the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl. I had several defensive linemen who were in my ‘group,’ and few were as respectful and charismatic as Saunders, who left Senior Bowl week for two days for the birth of his daughter before returning to the event for the game.

The young man fits the mold of smart, tough, and dependable; he missed time in 2020 with a dislocated elbow, which is more a freak accident than anything else. Saunders, 26, is 6-foot, 325 pounds. He plays with excellent leverage, strength at the point of attack, and he’d fortify the Giants’ TITE front in BASE personnel, while being the primary backup to Lawrence. Saunders has fifeteen pressures and four sacks with twenty STOPS on 421 snaps this year.

Tyler Kroft, TE, 49ers

The Giants could use another tight end opposite of Daniel Bellinger, and the 30-year-old veteran would be a good complement to the young rookie. Kroft was a thrid round pick out of Rutgers by the Bengals in 2015. He is 6-6, 252 pounds with a solid ability to block and soft hands. He isn’t going to surprise anyone athletically, but he can block.

Pro Football Focus’ grades ranked Kroft in the top ten of run blocking tight ends. He had four catches on six targets for 57-yards this on 35 percent of snaps this season – he wasn’t exactly a big factor in the 49ers passing attack, yet he still had a role in the 49ers 12 and 13 personnel packages. His veteran presence could also help Bellinger hone in on the nuances of playing the positon.

Chris Manhertz, TE, Jaguars

Manhertz is another veteran tight end who could interest the Giants due to his ability to block. Manhertz played 436 snaps for Doug Pederson’s Jacksonville Jaguars this season; he’s not a threat as a receiver, but he too can block.

Jacksonville ran a lot of power/gap and counter where Manhertz was tasked to move, locate, hit, and displace. He’s also successful inline. Here he execute an elite combo and climb: Manhertz is No. 84

Blockers who can successfully execute combos and then climb to athletic linebackers are very important to the running game. The midseason loss of Daniel Bellinger hurt the Giants ability to run 12 and 13 personnel, for the tight ends behind Chris Myarick couldn’t consistently block. Manhertz would immediately upgrade the Giants tight end room in the important blocking phase of the game.

Final note

Eagles’ RB Boston Scott is a free agent, and the guy seems to rise his level of play when Giants’ blue is in the vicinity…just saying!

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