The Giants weren't done improving their defense on the first day of NFL free agency.
Former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez has agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with the Giants, and confirmed that when he retweeted NFL Network's Mike Garofalo. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano has the details being $19 million guaranteed with $22.5 million in the first two years of the deal. It will be $14 million this season.
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported on Monday that sources had the Giants being "very serious" about adding a free agent linebacker, and Martinez was at the top of their list. After letting Alec Ogletree go, they needed a new man to lead things in the middle of the defense, and they've found that in the 26-year-old Martinez.
Martinez is a tackling machine, just being edged out by Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner for the most in the league at 159 to 155 (a career high). He led the NFL back in 2017 -- at age 23 nonetheless -- with 144.
However, we all know how the linebacker position isn't just about tackling anymore. Being able to drop back into coverage is just as important, and Martinez isn't the best at that. And that's why Ogletree if off the team to begin with.
According to Pro Football Focus, Martinez allowed 58 catches on 69 pass attempts his way this past season. He may get those players down quickly, but quarterbacks don't mind picking on him to get yardage.
So that's why it's also worth noting GM Dave Gettleman could still be planning to draft LB/S Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson at No. 4 overall, to make up for the coverage deficiency with Martinez. Simmons is a freak of nature that has the ability to run with the fastest of tight ends and running backs -- he's even lined up with top wide receivers in college. That combo of Simmons and Martinez could be a thing of beauty in the middle as both of their games would compliment one another.
But, in Martinez, the Giants and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham get an extremely tough, young player that simply does everything in his power to get the ball carrier to the floor. He played the entire second half of the season with a broken hand, and still put up those numbers.
The Giants also re-signed David Mayo and are hoping 2019 fifth-rounder Ryan Connelly can come back fully healthy and produce the way they liked to see last season before his ACL injury in Week 4. So depth is there, too.
With CB James Bradberry also agreeing to a deal to help plug a hole in the secondary, the Giants can now put most of their focus on adding a dominant pass rusher to the mix to continue improving their defense for next season.