The offensive line was one of the biggest downsides of the New York Giants’ 2016 season. Their play left much to be desired. To address this, the Giants announced Sunday the signing of offensive lineman D.J. Fluker.
Fluker (6-foot-5, 339 pounds) was released by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday. The Chargers selected him 11th overall in 2013. He was scheduled to make $8.821 million this upcoming season. By releasing him, the Chargers saved the full $8.821 million of his projected salary against their cap.
The Giants, meanwhile, get Fluker at an almost bargain basement price. The deal is reportedly for one-year at $3 million.
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“I’m definitely looking forward to a new start,” Fluker said. “Hopefully, I can make a big impact on the offensive line. I think the Giants give me the best opportunity to be successful.”
Fluker, who turns 26 on Monday, started in all 16 games at the right guard position in 2016. He started in all 59 games he appeared in for the Chargers. His play has yielded mixed results, but he’s only missed five games in his four NFL seasons.
One of Fluker’s greatest strengths is his ability to play either guard or tackle. He played collegiately for Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. He was in the right tackle spot for his first two seasons before being moved to the right guard spot.
The Giants had him on their draft board when he came out.
“D.J. is a young, versatile big man with lots of starts in this league,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He will bring size, toughness, and competition to our offensive line unit.”
The Chargers liked Fluker’s energy, enthusiasm, and toughness though he sometimes struggled in pass protection. He has also suffered three concussions in his pro career. The last one occurred in 2015.
There is no guarantee that Fluker will make the starting lineup. He gave up 4.5 sacks in 2016 and received a run blocking grade of 46.0 by Pro Football Focus. At the same time, he brings a physicality to the offensive line that the Giants are sorely missing.
The Giants are working on strengthening the run game in free agency. They already signed tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Both Ellison and Marshall are physical blockers who can help get the ground game going.
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