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Giants add Colts LB Bobby Okereke, Bucs DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches on defense

The Giants’ first outside signings of free agents in 2023 addressed their lack of speed and run-stopping defense.

They agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Bobby Okereke with $22 million guaranteed. And they secured Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches in a reported three-year, $12 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed.

Okereke now tops Wink Martindale’s inside linebacker depth chart that includes veteran Jarrad Davis, who is back on a one-year contract, and second-year pro Darrian Beavers, who is returning from a torn ACL. left.

The former Colts third-round pick out of Stanford made 132 tackles in 2021 and 151 tackles in 2022. The terms of his contract were first reported by NFL Network.

The Giants gave Okereke a lot of money in an undervalued position. On a day when the inside linebacker market exploded, he received the second-biggest contract of any ILB behind only Tremaine Edmunds of the Buffalo Bills, who agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract with the Chicago Bears that includes $ 50 million guaranteed.

Chicago also added TJ Edwards from the Philadelphia Eagles for three years, $19.5 million, including $12 million guaranteed).

The Bengals’ Germaine Pratt stayed in Cincinnati on a contract worth $21 million for three years and $15.15 million for the first two years. Alex Anzalone moved back up with the Detroit Lions on a three-year, $18.75 million deal. The Jets re-signed Quincy Williams to a three-year, $18 million contract that tops out at $21 million.

And the Dolphins got David Long from the Tennessee Titans to a two-year, $11 million deal.

However, the Giants’ run defense was a big problem last season, so they attacked it on the first day of free agent negotiations. That included addressing the lack of interior defensive line depth behind second-team All-Pro tackle Dexter Lawrence.

They added Núñez-Roches, a veteran run-blocker with a Super Bowl ring. He had 33 tackles, five for loss and two sacks last season in Tampa. The terms of his contract were reported by NFL pundit Adam Caplan.

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Leonard Williams is still under contract with the Giants, but his $32.2 million salary cap for 2023 is untenable before a gap year in 2024. And it’s unclear how the Giants will figure that out or what Williams’ long-term future with the team will look like. .

They haven’t signed a corner yet, which is a major area of ​​need. That could also be addressed in the NFL Draft in April. Jamel Dean opted to return to Tampa on a four-year, $52 million contract with $26 million guaranteed, according to The Score, turning down more lucrative offers to stay.

The Giants are still looking for improvements at cornerback, wide receiver and inside offensive line, to name a few. On offense, the Giants re-signed backup running back Matt Breida to a contract worth up to $2.3 million in incentives, according to The Score.

They remain focused on improving their wide receiver corps, and the Denver Broncos have had conversations with several teams about wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, according to ESPN.

The Giants chased Jeudy at last fall’s trade deadline and, as the Daily News recently reported, have been digging into the wide receiver trade market.

They seem to have eyes for former Buffalo Bills slot catcher Cole Beasley, and they also like Colts free agent Parris Campbell, who plays both inside and out.

The futures of many of the Giants’ impending free agents also remain undecided, including safety Julian Love, center Jon Feliciano, edge Jihad Ward and wide receivers Darius Slayton and Richie James.

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