New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen addressed many of the team’s personnel deficiencies this offseason but a few remain. Among them is depth along the edge, where Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari serve as the 1-2 punch.
Behind Thibodeaux and Ojulari there is very little. The Giants re-signed Oshane Ximines this offseason and he has flashed a time or two but hasn’t fully realized his potential. They also have Elerson Smith, who has been plagued by injury during his young career, and Tomon Fox, who was an undrafted free agent a year ago.
They also re-signed veteran Jihad Ward, but he’s more of a run-stopper than a pass rusher.
With that edge depth lacking, ESPN has listed the Giants as an ideal landing spot for free agent linebacker Justin Houston.
Houston could fit with multiple teams in search of a veteran pass-rusher, but let’s get him back under former Baltimore defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who joined New York in 2022. Houston, who has 14 sacks over the past two seasons, played for Martindale in 2021, posting 4.5 sacks and 35 pressures. And we know the fit works for a Giants defense that can use him as a situational pass-rusher in pressure fronts.
Martindale’s defense led the NFL last season with a blitz rate of 42%, which will create more one-on-ones for Houston with schemes that manipulate protection counts.
The 34-year-old Houston may be on the downside of this career but could fill a role as an experience edge rush option. At the very least, he could join the team’s rotation, allowing Thibodeaux and Ojulari to cut back on their snap counts a bit.
The Giants are tight on cap, so if they were to sign Houston, it would have to come on a deal near the veteran minimum.