We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Three years/$39 million with $26.5 million guaranteed
It’s clear the Giants wanted to make a splash and do whatever needed to fill as many holes on the roster with quality players in free agency. In a search for a No. 2 corner opposite last year’s big free agent signing, James Bradberry, the Giants brought in Adoree’ Jackson, who was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans before his fifth-year option kicked in.
That release worked out for Jackson, who would have made just over $10 million on the option, but managed to get $13 million per year more than a week into free agency. Jackson’s figure is just below the biggest cornerback deals this offseason, beating Ronald Darby’s 3/$30M and falling just under Shaquill Griffin’s 3/$40M and William Jackson’s 3/$40.5M.
The Giants now have two of the top-15 paid corners by average annual value, according to Over The Cap, one of two teams with that much invested at corner, along with the Miami Dolphins (Xavien Howard and Byron Jones).
Jackson started his career as a promising corner with 27 passes defensed over his first two years. That ranked 32nd among corners over the first two years of a career since 1999. His 17 passes defensed without an interception were the fifth-most in a season without a pick since 1999, per pro-football-reference.
Over the past two seasons, Jackson has played 14 games, including just three in 2020. He only had six passes defensed over his 11 games played in 2019. That season, he was about average in adjusted yards allowed per coverage snap, 77th of 145 cornerbacks with at least 100 coverage snaps.
At 26 years old, there is hope Jackson still has some development in him, though his first two seasons were far superior to his latter two. Jackson was also taken off return duty with just five combined kick and punt returns in 2019.
Jackson does present a better option at the No. 2 outside corner spot than the Giants ran out there last season. With a secondary that includes Jackson, Bradberry, Xavier McKinney, Logan Ryan, and Jabrill Peppers along with Julian Love and Darnay Holmes, this has the chance to be one of the better secondaries in the league. It might have to be with little pass rush along the defensive line.
The other question here is who were the Giants bidding against? They were bidding against themselves and the tag for Leonard Williams, mostly against themselves for Kenny Golladay, and it’s fair to wonder what other team was going to offer Jackson a multi-year deal at this point in free agency. Dave Gettleman is having the type of offseason someone like Ryan Pace would be expected to have, getting top-of-the-market pieces to fix holes immediately because if it’s not fixed anything after immediately might not involve him.