Free agency is still very much active. However, the majority of the big fish on the market have already been scooped. The New York Giants did their best this spring to bolster their roster with headline-grabbing additions such as Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. Although a far less talked about move could pay nearly as much dividends in the long haul.
Ifeadi Odenigbo, a 26-year-old edge defender, received a modest one-year deal worth $2.5 million from the Giants back in March. With 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons and fresh off his first 15 starts of his NFL career, Odenigbo has a chance to blow his contract out of the water.
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Odenigbo is Buying What the Giants are Selling
A player of Odenigbo’s age and perceived upside typically lends well to garnering interest on the open market, which was exactly the case for the Bayonne, New Jersey native. According to NJ Advance Media’s Zack Rosenblatt, Odenigbo received interest from a handful of teams. Yet, both he and his agent felt the Giants were the best fit. In the words of Odenigbo himself, “The prodigal son — is coming back.”
“I don’t see why I wouldn’t want to go here,” Odenigbo said. “I think something’s brewing, something special in New York and I want to be a part of that transformation.”
Something certainly is brewing in New York. Whether that is something special… only time will tell. After years of struggling to bring big-name talent to East Rutherford, the team struck gold on multiple occasions this offseason. Odenigbo is hopeful he can be part of a vital free agency haul that helps turn things around for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2011.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, Odenigbo’s college coach, is more than certain the Giants will be pleased with their decision to bring the defender aboard.
“The Giants are getting a guy that’s going to come in and compete,” he said. “He’s going to be a team-first guy. He’s going to execute what the coaches are going to ask him to do. And then he’s going to do everything he can to pull that sword out.”
Odenigbo Could Help Fill Glaring Void on Edge
As we noted above, Odenigbo has collected 10.5 sacks since 2019. That number is the most among any current Giants defender not named Leonard Williams. Side note, Odenigbo’s first career sack came in Week 5 of the 2019 season when he took down Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Now, Odenigbo will look to wreak havoc in the Giants’ favor, and chances are he’ll be given more than enough opportunity to do so.
Yes, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are returning from season-ending injuries. However, both players have mostly gotten by off of upside thus far in their career, as production has yet to catch up. Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown flashed down the stretch last season, although the addition of Ryan Anderson could free up Brown to compete at the inside linebacker position. There’s also a strong likelihood the team continues to add to the position in April’s upcoming draft. With all that said, expect Odenigbo to play a pivotal role for the Giants’ defense this coming season.
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