Evaluating Giants' O-line trades for Ben Bredeson and Billy Price

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Ravens guard Ben Bredeson leaves the field after the Ravens' game against the Washington Football Team in 2021
Ravens guard Ben Bredeson leaves the field after the Ravens' game against the Washington Football Team in 2021

The Giants made two trades in two days for offensive linemen, neither of whom will magically transform their group into a respectable NFL unit.

But they sure are better bets than what the Giants had.

After a miserable preseason by their line up and down the depth chart, the Giants knew they had to upgrade their talent, and they believe they did with the acquisitions of two young interior linemen, Ben Bredeson and Billy Price. They are both depth players for now and neither has a ton of experience. But they are young – Price is 26 and Bredeson is 22 – and they have potential.

Basically, the upside for both of them is much better than what the Giants had at that spot before.

Price was acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday for defensive lineman B.J. Hill. And Bredeson came from the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. The Giants also got a fifth-round pick next year and a seventh-round pick in 2023 in the deal. And they replace three middling veterans who weren’t getting the job done this summer – Kenny Wiggins, Jonotthan Harrison and Chad Slade, all of whom were cut – another veteran (Ted Larsen) who was placed on injured reserve, and a few other young guys who were never going to be more than bottom-of-the-roster players.

The Giants got better along the line, even if Price and Bredeson don’t immediately impact the starting five.

Maybe that’s not a reason to stand and applaud, or to praise GM Dave Gettleman who has been famously trying to fix his mess of a line since the day he arrived nearly four years ago. It’s embarrassing that it’s taken this long, that in Year 4 he’s swinging cut-down day trades to improve the depth. This line should be much more settled than it is by now.

But at the start of the summer the depth did seem to be settled, at least. He had three solid veterans backing up his young line, with the additions of center Joe Looney and guard Zach Fulton and the return of tackle Nate Solder. When Looney and Fulton retired early in training camp, though, it sent the Giants scrambling. And as the preseason began it was clear that pulling journeymen off the scrap heap in the middle of summer just wasn’t going to do.

This is a better approach – turning a spare part like Hill and a mid-round draft pick into two young linemen with upside. The 6-4, 310-pound Price was a first-round pick just three years ago, though he’s been a bit of a disappointment and has started only 19 games since. And the 6-5, 315-pound Bredeson is well-liked by scouts and, according to one, played well this preseason. He might’ve had a shot at starting in Baltimore if his path wasn’t blocked by ex-Giants guard Kevin Zeitler.

If the Giants need a plug-in interior linemen – like, for example, if left guard Shane Lemieux’s knee isn’t ready for him to start at left guard on Opening Day – the Giants feel much better about Price or Bredeson stepping in than the likes of Wiggins, Larsen or Harrison. They no longer have to rely on mediocre veterans who are what they are. They have young players the coaches can teach and mold.

Is either one the solution to the Giants’ long-standing offensive line problems? Not at all. They probably aren’t going to help the starting five, and they certainly won’t make anyone feel better about Gettleman’s never-ending rebuilding effort. But they are upgrades in talent, upgrades in ceilings, and they give the Giants a bit of comfort in case a starter goes down.

That’s a help. It’s certainly not a cure-all. But it definitely makes the offensive line group a little better than it was.