The New York Giants knew that they were going to have to replace Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins after he refused the franchise tag. The Alabama product signed a six year contract worth $84 million with the Washington Redskins. Collins’ idol growing up was former Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor, so his decision to play in Washington is not that surprising.
The Dallas Cowboys brought back tight end Jason Witten, while DeSean Jackson returns to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins also acquired quarterback Case Keenum from the Denver Broncos, leaving the Giants as the only NFC East team without a new arrival. While the team needs to address issues at quarterback and the offensive line, the Giants need to find someone to replace Collins in free agency.
Despite missing the last four games of the season, Collins led the team in tackles and was always around the ball during his time in New York. Adrian Amos, LaMarcus Joyner and Tyrann Mathieu have all signed with different teams, leaving the organization with few options in free agency. GM Dave Gettleman did not want to pay Collins $14 million a year, which would make it hard for him to go after former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.
The three-time first team All-Pro safety has stated that he wants to be one of the highest paid safeties in the league. Thomas missed the majority of the 2018 season with a broken bone in his left leg, which could turn teams away from signing a big contract. The Giants have to look past Thomas’ injury concerns and do all they can to sign the talented safety.
Thomas is one of the ball hawk in the league as he has 28 interceptions in his career. Collins has eight career interceptions with of them coming in his breakout 2016 campaign. Thomas is also a better coverage safety than Collins as he is quite capable of dropping into coverage to cover the tight end or running back.
Thomas is also solid in run support as he rarely misses tackles around the line of scrimmage. He has forced 10 fumbles in his career, only one fewer than Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed. Thomas is the complete package at the safety position and he would be an upgrade to Collins.
The Houston Texans are the favorite to land Thomas as he has stated that he wants to be closer to where he grew up in Orange, Texas. The Texans lost their starting safety in Mathieu to the Kansas City Chiefs, so they definitely need to get help in the secondary. The Giants relied on Collins to make plays all over the field, so his replacement has to be able to make plays for them.
The 2019 draft class has safeties capable of doing the same things that Collins did last season, but they need a safety to make an immediate impact in 2019. The Giants’ secondary struggled in2018 even with Collins patrolling deep down the field. Thomas would give the Giants an instant impact safety that could make the Giants a playoff contender in 2018.