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Giants Plan B: Offensive line free agents after losing Andrew Norwell, Weston Richburg

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Posted March 13, 2018 at 02:01 PM | Updated March 13, 2018 at 02:07 PM

By Ryan Dunleavy | NJ Advance Media for

The Giants lost the free agent they desired most to a coach they once lost interest in.

Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin swooped in and agreed with All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell to a five-year, $66.5 million deal that makes him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.

Coughlin, who won two Super Bowls in 12 years with the Giants but was fired after four straight non-playoff seasons, has done a great job in the front office of the Jaguars, who were minutes from reaching Super Bowl LII.

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So where do the Giants turn now for much-needed offensive line help?

Well, they could turn internally to one of their own free agents, but don’t expect a hometown discount from Justin Pugh, who must feel like an afterthought based on quiet negotiations during the exclusive period. 

But that’s more than former teammate Weston Richburg can say, since the Giants didn’t pursue him hard at all and he wound up with the 49ers. 

Any offensive lineman entering negotiations with the Giants suddenly has some more leverage after seeing Norwell go to the Jaguars. The Giants need at least two new starters in free agency or high in the draft.

Here are some other free agents they should pursue quickly, with dominoes falling ahead of Wednesday’s official signing period:

OT/OG Justin Pugh, Giants

Pugh was a starter from day one as a first-round draft pick in 2013, but he has missed 13 games over the last two seasons due to injury. He’s been solid and versatile, but he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl.

In other words, he’s a pros and cons type of player.

Will the Giants pay more than $10 million a year for Pugh? Or will some other team with more cap space swoop in as the market for guards suddenly skyrockets? Probably the latter.

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OT Nate Solder, Patriots

It seems like a general assumption that Solder will return to the Patriots, but it there also were erroneous reports that Norwell and the Giants was a “done deal.” Nothing is done until the deal is in place.

The Patriots have shown a wilingness to let free agents test the open market and come back to them for a final bid. Sometimes they stay at last minute (Devin McCourty) and sometimes they go.

The Giants should take most of the money they were willing to give to Norwell and redirect it to Solder. Tackle might be a bigger need than guard anyway.

OT Cameron Fleming, Patriots

If not Solder, than maybe go with

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