If the Giants offensive line isn’t actually better in 2022, it won’t be for a lack of trying. General manager Joe Schoen is taking multiple swings on low-cost players in free agency, trying to fix one of the league’s worst O-Lines by filling it with capable veterans and, eventually, rookie draft picks.
Add another to the list: The Giants signed guard Max Garcia to a one-year contract on Monday, according to Jordan Schultz. The 30-year-old Garcia spent the last three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and his first four with the Broncos after getting picked in the fourth round in 2015. He has 52 career starts, including 11 with the Cardinals last season.
The 6-foot-4, 309-pound Garcia is the fifth offensive lineman Schoen has signed in free agency, joining guard Mark Glowinski, center Jon Feliciano, tackle Matt Gono and guard Jamil Douglas. Of that group, only Glowinski (three years, 18 million) and Feliciano (one year, $ 3.25 million) signed deals above the veteran’s minimum salary, and Garcia will likely sign for the minimum ($ 1 million cap hit) too.
Garcia has the versatility to play both center and guard. Last season with the Cardinals, he played 297 snaps at center and 565 at right guard. In the five seasons before that, the majority of Garcia’s snaps came at left guard. In 2021, his best games for Arizona came when he played at center, getting three of his best Pro Football Focus grades in the five games he started at the position.
Garcia played 181 pass-blocking snaps in the games he started at center, per PFF, and didn’t allow a single sack or pressure in those games. In nine other games starting at right guard, he allowed 20 pressures and five sacks, which would’ve been third behind Will Hernandez and Nate Solder on the Giants last year.
Hernandez actually might wind up replacing Garcia in Arizona too, as the Giants free agent visited with the Cardinals recently.
As the Giants try to load up on more capable linemen, there should be competition for a couple starting roles on the offensive line in training camp, though likely not at right guard or center. Andrew Thomas returns and is locked in at left tackle, but the Giants could start four new players elsewhere.
Glowinski is expected to start at right guard, and Feliciano at center, leaving openings at left guard and right tackle. Garcia could be in the mix for the job at left guard along with Douglas, Gono and returning players like Ben Bredeson and Shane Lemieux, who only played in one game last season due to a knee injury. Gono is also an option at right tackle, though the Giants are expected to draft a right tackle early in this year’s draft – plus potentially more competition at guard too.
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Zack Rosenblatt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.