All the attention has been on the offensive line. But the New York Giants had other areas where they also needed to upgrade their blocking.
That’s where the addition of former Minnesota Vikings fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison comes into play. He agreed to a four-year deal with the Giants at the start of the new league year Thursday afternoon.
Ellison, 28, is entering his sixth NFL season. He spent the previous five years with the Vikings. Now, he becomes a useful piece to the Giants' puzzle after they went all of 2016 without a sufficient blocker at fullback or tight end.
Terms: four years, $18 million with $8 million guaranteed
Ellison fills a need. Combined with Brandon Marshall, who is known as a good blocking wide receiver, the Giants have now added to their 29th-ranked run game at two -- maybe three -- positions. It doesn’t provide them a vertical threat down the middle of the field, but it does solve a problem that existed now for several seasons. Ellison can help.
What it means: The Giants have a healthy potential fullback, tight end and H-back under contract. They were stuck last year when both Will Johnson and Nikita Whitlock suffered serious injuries during the summer, and had to play the entirety of the season without a fullback. Johnson’s future with the Giants is now in doubt. Don’t be surprised to see him have his contract renegotiated or be released. The Giants couldn’t go into this season with Johnson (who had a nerve problem in his shoulder ruin his 2016 season) as their only option at the position. Ellison gives them a blocking option at several different spots.
What’s the risk: There isn’t much. Ellison has been durable throughout his career and is known as a high-character player. He shouldn’t be a problem to add to the locker room. The only question is the money. The $8 million is a pretty substantial guarantee for a blocking tight end/fullback/H-back. Ellison never caught more than 19 passes in his five seasons with the Vikings.