New York Giants' NFL free-agent signings 2022: TE Ricky Seals-Jones in position to start

Ricky Seals-Jones had 30 receptions, two for touchdowns, last season with Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2022 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The first round of the 2022 NFL draft begins April 28 on ESPN.

The New York Giants have a new regime and approach as they look to revive the franchise. It will involve being selective in free agency and focusing on the draft. General manager Joe Schoen has already said don't expect the Giants to be overly active in free agency, in part because of limited salary-cap space. But the Giants still have a lot of holes to fill as they rebuild their roster. They need another quarterback after the Mike Glennon debacle. Offensive line, tight end and linebacker are also desperate needs. That is a lot of work that needs to get done with limited money.

Here's a breakdown of every 2022 NFL free-agent signing by the Giants, and how each will impact the upcoming season:

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE

Seals-Jones agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: Seals-Jones chose the Giants over Washington, in large part because of the massive opportunity. He comes to a team that has almost nothing at the tight end position. The Giants cut Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith this offseason. They let Evan Engram walk in free agency. Right now, Seals-Jones can be penciled in as the Giants' starter, even if New York does add a tight end (likely in the middle rounds of the draft). Seals-Jones, 27, had 30 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns last season for Washington on 257 routes run. It was the second-highest usage of his career. This season with the Giants could easily top that.

What's the risk: This is a bit of a leap of faith. Seals-Jones doesn't have a tremendous track record of consistent success in his five professional seasons and does have an injury history. He has not played 16 games in any of his five years with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs or Washington. The Giants, however, are hoping they can get more out of him than any of those three teams. But at least it's not a huge investment on a one-year deal. Low risk, high reward.

Tyrod Taylor, QB

Taylor, who played last season with the Texans, intends to sign a two-year, $17 million deal with the Giants, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What it means: The Giants have a capable veteran backup behind Daniel Jones to make sure there isn't a repeat of late last season when they were embarrassing offensively with Glennon and Jake Fromm under center. They made this position a priority this offseason and even made a run at Mitchell Trubisky at the start of free agency. Taylor, 32, has proven to be a quality backup -- and even a bridge starter -- throughout his career. There are 59 touchdown passes compared to 25 interceptions as evidence. Taylor also has history with Schoen from Buffalo in 2017. But his role in New York seems clear. He will begin behind Jones on the depth chart and serve as much-needed insurance. Jones has missed games because of injury in each of his three professional seasons.

What's the risk: This is a sizable chunk of money for a backup quarterback, especially considering the Giants are short on cap space this offseason. Taylor is reportedly getting $8.5 million guaranteed. That is more than, say, Colt McCoy, who got $6 million guaranteed from the Cardinals. Aside from that, the signing of Taylor makes a lot of sense for the Giants. He's an established, well-respected veteran who can help Jones in the quarterback room. He's not a real threat to take the starting job unless Jones really struggles.

Mark Glowinski, G

Glowinski has agreed to a three-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: Glowinski and Shane Lemieux will likely be projected as New York's starting guards this year. The Giants seem to be adding a dependable veteran who is an upgrade from what they had last season with Will Hernandez and Matt Skura. Glowinski hasn't missed a game in three seasons. In 2021, he finished 34th in pass block win rate, one spot ahead of Hernandez. But he was 11th in run block win rate, light years ahead of any Giants guard. Pro Football Focus had him ranked 21st among guards. No Giant was in the Top 50. So, clearly, by any metric, Glowinski is an upgrade. This is what constitutes a significant signing for the Giants this offseason.

What's the risk Glowinski is by no means a great player. He split reps at right guard last season with Indianapolis for several weeks. The scouting report according to an NFL executive who has studied his game: "Great guy ... good run blocker ... below average [pass protector]." Not exactly the perfect complement to Lemieux, who also comes with question marks as a pass protector. This isn't ideal for quarterback Daniel Jones after three seasons of getting consistently pummeled. The good news is the Giants only guaranteed Glowinski $11.4 million.

Jon Feliciano, OL

Feliciano has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: Feliciano is going to be looked at as a center despite playing mostly guard this past season. It's a move that makes a lot of sense given his flexibility, the uncertainty of Nick Gates' comeback from a serious leg injury and the new regime. Feliciano, a former Bills lineman, knows the offense that coach Brian Daboll is looking to run. He can also be an extension of Daboll and new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson on the field. With Feliciano and Glowinski and potentially an offensive lineman or two from the draft, this Giants offensive line could have a completely new and much-needed look by the time Schoen and Daboll are done this offseason.

What's the risk: Feliciano isn't exactly a natural center. He has bounced back and forth between center and guard throughout his career. He's also not a high-end starter. This is just a stopgap on the line, as evidenced by the one-year deal. But at least it gives the Giants options. Between Glowinski, Feliciano, Gates, Shane Lemieux, Ben Bredeson and more potential interior linemen in free agency and the draft, the Giants are throwing numbers at the position. However, this approach often doesn't work. Better to have two sure-thing starters than a handful of question marks.

C.J. Board, WR

Board has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Giants.

What it means: The Giants add some receiver depth and a strong special teams player to the mix. Board averaged 24.8 yards per kickoff return and 16.5 yards on punt returns prior to breaking his arm. This will now be his third season with the Giants. He missed most of last season (the final 11 games) because of the injury, but will be back at full strength to give New York options as a returner and at receiver, where they desperately need it given the injury histories of Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay.

What's the risk: It's a one year deal, per a source. This isn't about money or the future. It's about filling out a roster that is in desperate need of players. The Giants don't have much money and are going to be looking for bargains. Board is a player coming off injury who serves a purpose. If it doesn't work out, they can get out easily, so there isn't much risk.

Jamil Douglas, G

Douglas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: The Giants are throwing numbers at the offensive line. Douglas is the fourth veteran to be added this offseason, joining guard Mark Glowinski, center Jon Feliciano and tackle Matt Gono. At least it gives Daboll some options. It’s necessary after seeing what happened to the Giants last year, when they were in panic mode by the middle of the summer. Douglas is a journeyman who has spent time with the Dolphins, Patriots, Falcons, Colts, Titans, Commanders and, you guessed it, Bills. So he knows the offense as well.

What's the risk: Douglas and the new collection of offensive linemen aren’t surefire solutions. Glowinski was the only full-time starter last year, so the Giants are taking a leap of faith that some of these moves pan out. If not, it could be another long year for the unit, Jones and the offense. Douglas is hardly a sure thing to be on the roster come Week 1 with just $200,000 guaranteed in his contract.

Matt Breida, RB

Breida has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: The Giants needed a veteran running back behind Saquon Barkley after cutting Devontae Booker this offseason. Breida is their choice. Not a bad one, considering he’s averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his career. Barkley, Gary Brightwell and Antonio Williams were the only running backs on the roster before the move. Breida comes from Buffalo, so he’s familiar with Schoen and Daboll. Breida also has that blazing speed to run outside zone and pitch plays and catches the ball relatively well out of the backfield. He could fill the third-down role.

What's the risk: Barkley and Breida together give the Giants one brittle backfield. Injuries have been a problem for Breida, who hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year in 2017. It’s been a little bit of everything, too. An ankle, shoulder, knee, hamstring and pec. When on the field, he’s dangerous. Breida’s 22.3 miles per hour on a long touchdown in 2019 was the fastest speed for a ball carrier that year. But is that type of speed and explosiveness still there with all the injuries? The Giants are crossing their fingers.

Jihad Ward, DE

Ward has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: The Giants are in the minimum-salary portion of free agency already. It's necessary because they are barely under the salary cap. They wanted to bring back Lorenzo Carter but couldn't. He landed in Atlanta, so they turned to Ward. He has familiarity in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's system from his time in Baltimore, when he had 4.0 sacks in 21 games over parts of two seasons. Ward can play inside and outside, so he's a useful piece who can be employed all over the field in Martindale’s schemes that are designed to confuse opposing offenses.

What's the risk: Ward has 10.0 sacks in six seasons. So he’s hardly the kind of threat that scares opposing offenses. The Giants still don’t have that kind of edge rusher. Carter at least had potential to be some version of that guy. He flashed it at the end of last season. Ward is more a rotational piece on a defense seemingly filled with mostly rotation players.

Justin Ellis, DT

Ellis has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: The Giants found an economical replacement against the run for nose tackle Austin Johnson, who signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers. The new staff has familiarity with Ellis. He played the past three years for Martindale in Baltimore. Ellis (6-foot-2, 350 pounds) appeared in all 17 games with five starts last season for the Ravens. The nose tackle, who will turn 32 in December, is entering his ninth NFL season, so he has experience and should be a part of the defensive line rotation against the run. He's strictly a run-stuffer with 0.5 career sacks.

What's the risk: Ellis is nearing the end of his career and his Pro Football Focus grades show a falloff in his production. He had a 49.4 run defense grade last season, which ranked him 88th of 137 interior defenders. That would suggest there might be a significant gap between him and Johnson. The Giants will have to add more at the position later in free agency or the draft.

Robert Foster, WR

Foster has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: The Giants are really, really digging deep for value here early in free agency. Foster spent most of last season on Dallas' practice squad and hasn't done much since his rookie season in 2018. That came in Buffalo, when Schoen was the assistant general manager and Daboll the offensive coordinator. Foster also played for Daboll the previous year at Alabama. Foster is another depth signing, albeit one with familiarity to the new regime.

What's the risk: Again, there isn't much in this case. The Giants are just trying to find something from what is expected to be a minimal investment.

Richie James, WR

James has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants.

What it means: Add another minimum-salary player to the list. This is how Schoen and the Giants have had to operate this offseason to fill out the roster. James, 26, missed last season with a knee injury and was mostly a return specialist his first three seasons in San Francisco. He's another roll-the-dice signing who has 38 career catches and averaged 7.3 yards per punt return and 23.0 yards per return on kicks. He is thrown into the mix at wide receiver this offseason, joining Foster and Board.

What's the risk: Can James even make the team? He hasn't been much of a threat as a receiver at this point of his career and he's averaged only 7.3 yards per punt return; Board has averaged 10.8. Plus, James is coming off a serious injury that cost him all of 2021. It makes this signing even more of a crapshoot than it would have been had there been no concerns about the knee.

Casey Kreiter, LS

Kreiter has agreed to return to the Giants on a one-year contract.

What it means: The Giants will at least have their kicker and long snapper back from an operation that worked seamlessly the past few seasons. The holder, punter Riley Dixon, was released this month, but the Giants wanted Kreiter back. He has been extremely reliable in his two seasons with the Giants, a stretch that has seen kicker Graham Gano make 92.3% of his field goal attempts.

What's the risk: Kreiter turns 32 this summer, not that it should be much of a problem for his position. The Giants could have gone younger (and cheaper) at long snapper if they were really counting every penny in a year when they have little cap space. But they elected to pay the seven-year veteran $1.12 million this season -- the minimum for a player with his experience. Probably worth it considering it's one of the few areas the Giants haven't had to worry about much the past two seasons.