Should Giants Target James Laurinaitis In Free Agency?

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Feb 20, 2016 09:51 AM EST
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NFL Free Agent James Laurinaitis
The New York Giants should target NFL free agent linebacker James Laurinaitis and pass rushers to help bolster their defense in 2016."

The New York Giants finished the 2015 regular season with the worst defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game. The Giants have already made some big moves this offseason including hiring offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo as their next head coach, and GM Jerry Reese is likely looking to make more than a few changes in their team personnel as well, specifically with the addition of some defensive playmakers.

One player the Giants could look to target is linebacker James Laurinaitis, who was just cut by the Los Angeles Rams on Friday. The Giants have missed a leader in the middle of their defense for some time, and Laurinaitis could fill an immediate hole.

Giants middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley becomes an unrestricted free agent this March, and while he had a productive first season in New York, Laurinaitis could be a key piece in turning the Giants defense around. The former Rams linebacker turned 29 years old at the end of last season, but has been a consistent force in the league since being drafted.

Laurinaitis recorded 109-combined tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception in 2015, and has recorded 100-plus tackles every season since entering the league. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo also has a history with Laurinaitis, as he was the Rams head coach the first three seasons the talented linebacker spent in the NFL. It's unknown if the Giants will make a strong push for Laurinaitis, but New York is looking to add talent to the defensive side of the ball and have the fifth-most money in the NFL to spend in order to do it.

Really, the Giants need help at every level of their defense this offseason, and while Laurinaitis would be a huge acquisition, New York will still be in need of pass rushers. Both defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers are scheduled to become free agents this offseason, and the Giants should try to at least re-sign one of them.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that the Giants are interested in Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, and a tag-and-trade scenario could be a possibility, although there will be a strong market for the Jets pass rusher. The Giants also have the tenth pick in the upcoming draft, and if they don't make a move for Wilkerson, they likely will look to target one of the many talented pass rushers in the 2016 draft.

New York clearly has plenty of holes to fix on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and adding a player of Laurinaitis' caliber and some pass rushers could significantly improve one of the poorest defenses in the NFL last season.

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