Giants sign two offensive linemen, place Joshua Ezeudu on IR

On Tuesday, Giants starting left tackle Joshua Ezeudu was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury he suffered Sunday night in Buffalo. The second-year pro was hurt in the first quarter of the Giants’ loss, did not return to the game, and left the locker room in a walking boot.

At this point, three of New York’s original five opening-day starters on the offensive line are battling injuries. All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas, who missed the last four games with a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener vs. Dallas; rookie center John Michael Schmitz, who sat out his second game with a shoulder injury; in addition, backup tackle Matt Peart, who hurt his shoulder on Oct. 8 in Miami.

With the line depleted, the team announced the signings of former Giant Tyre Phillips (Philadelphia) and tackle Josh Miles (Atlanta), 

Phillips, 6-5 and 344 pounds was released from the Giants’ practice squad on Sept. 1 and signed by Philadelphia three days later.

He was with the Giants for the entire 2022 season after being acquired off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. Phillips played in 12 regular-season games with five starts, four at right tackle and one at left tackle. 

Phillips was the Ravens’ third-round draft choice in 2020 from Mississippi State. As a rookie in 2020, he played in 12 regular-season games with eight starts (six at right guard, two at right tackle) and started two playoff games at right tackle. 

Miles, 6-5 and 325 pounds, last played a regular-season game in 2021 for the Arizona Cardinals. He was selected by Arizona in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Miles played in 17 games for the Cardinals on offense and special teams, including seven in 2019 and 10 in 2021.

He joined the Falcons as a free agent on March 31, was released on Aug. 30, and signed to Atlanta’s squad the following day.

Other moves:

*The Giants also re-signed offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield to their practice squad. He was signed to the active roster on Saturday and played one snap on offense and three on special teams against the Bills.

*Alex Cook, a defensive back on the Giants’ practice squad, was signed by the Carolina Panthers to their active roster.

Giants’ Jones on loss to 49ers: ‘We just didn’t make enough plays’

The New York Giants(1-2) ended their two-game West Coast road trip 1-1 after falling to the San Francisco 49ers(3-0), 30-12, on Thursday night.

New York was without star running back Saquon Barkley(ankle) and left tackle Andrew Thomas(hamstring), and that vaunted 49ers’ defense gave the Giants fits.

Without those two critical pieces, the Giants rushed for only 29 yards and had 150 total yards, their lowest output since 2013. In addition, they had only ten first downs. 

“No excuses,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said after the game. “We could do a better job.”

Daniel Jones, who struggled on Thursday night, completed 22 of 32 passes for 137 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. According to him, the team could not take advantage of opportunities.

“We just didn’t make enough plays,” Jones said. Obviously, it’s a good defense, going up against them and credit to them. They play well, but we have to convert a couple of those opportunities. When you play a good team like that, you have to be crisp. We have to be clean, and we didn’t do that.”

For the third straight week, the Giants have trailed at halftime; they have been outscored 63-6 in the first half this season. Those bad starts are hard to come back from. Jones says the team has to figure it out.

“Yes, it’s not what we’re trying to do, so we have to find a way to figure that out,” he said. “Execute better early in the game, finish in the end zone, take advantage of opportunities, but it comes down to making plays and executing better in those situations.”

After three weeks, the Giants have fallen to two teams, the Cowboys and 49ers, who are two of the better teams in the NFC; in reality, both games were not very close, so it’s safe to say this team is just not as good as the top teams in the NFC. However, there’s still a lot of football to be played.

The Giants get back at it next Monday night at home against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium.

Giants sign All-Pro LT Andrew Thomas to contract extension

The New York Giants signed All-Pro LT Andrew Thomas to a contract extension, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a five-year, $117.5 million extension with an offensive-line record of $67 million fully guaranteed at signing, tying him to New York through the 2029 season.

Originally the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Thomas, 24, has played in 45 regular-season games with 44 starts in addition to two postseason contests.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Georgia product comes off a breakout season in which he was selected second-team All-Pro. He was a vital member of an offensive line that helped the Giants finish fourth in the NFL in rushing while Saquon Barkley ran for a career-high 1,312 yards.

Additionally, Thomas protected the blindside of quarterback Daniel Jones, who enjoyed a career year in 2022 and signed a long-term contract this offseason. Jones joined Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts as one of four quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 3,200 passing yards, a 65.0 completion percentage, and 700 rushing yards in a season.

Together, the core will return after leading the Giants to their first playoff berth since 2016 and their first postseason win in 11 years. Thomas, Jones, and Barkley were all elected team captains a year ago.

New York will have their left tackle and quarterback together for the foreseeable future. The Giants hope that combination and Barkley will take this team to the next level.

Other moves:

On Tuesday, six players were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Five of them tore ACLs playing for the Giants last season: wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson, cornerback Aaron Robinson, defensive tackle D.J. Davidson and guard Marcus McKethan (who was injured in a preseason practice).

The sixth player on PUP is defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who was signed as a free agent on April 24. Robinson played last season for the Los Angeles Rams and tore his meniscus in a game at New Orleans on Nov. 20. He missed the season’s final seven games.

Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (calf) will be sidelined with a non-football injury. A nine-year veteran, Crowder was signed by the Giants on March 23. He caught six passes in four games for the Buffalo Bills last season before fracturing his ankle at Baltimore on Oct. 2.

Defensive tackle Vernon Butler was placed on the reserve/did not report list. Butler was signed to the Giants’ practice squad on Nov. 15, 2022, and elevated to the active roster on Dec. 3. His only game action was in the 20-20 tie with Washington the following day.

In addition, cornerback Leonard Johnson (knee) was waived with an injury settlement.


NYG’s Gettleman on Thomas: ‘This was an important piece for us in Daniel’s(Jones) development’

It’s the kind of marriage made in first-round draft heaven. The Giants need a tackle to protect Daniel Jones, open holes for Saquon Barkley and become a foundational piece in the reconstruction of their offensive line. And when it was their turn to make the fourth selection in Thursday night’s NFL Draft, they secured a player who can do all that and more.

He is Andrew Thomas, a 6-4, 320-pounder from the University of Georgia, where he started all 41 games in which he played in three seasons – 15 at right tackle as a true freshman in 2017 and 13 at left tackle in both 2018 and 2019. He missed only one game in three seasons. Thomas entered the NFL Draft after his junior year.

“We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this offensive line once and for all,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “Andrew certainly has a hell of a pedigree, a three-year starter in the Southeastern Conference. “He’s played against some real quality defensive ends during his college career. He’s played big-time ball in front of a lot of people.” “His skill set favors his opportunity to come in and contribute,” first-year coach Joe Judge said. “He’s long, he’s a good athlete, he has good short area redirect. One thing that sticks about him is when you watch the top pass rushers with the exception of maybe a couple in this draft, they have to go against him. You watch his college tape and he is going against all the guys that you are going to see get drafted in the next couple of days. He does a heck of job on them, you see him compete, you see him play big in big games and that’s important. He was coached very hard at the University of Georgia and that’s a trait we look for. Guys who can play hard and play on big stages and compete.”

Thomas – the first offensive lineman selected in the draft’s opening round by the Giants since Ereck Flowers in 2015 – is the Giants’ third top six draft choice in as many years, following Barkley (No. 2 in 2018) and Jones (No. 6 last year).

“I’ll do my best to protect the quarterback, open up lanes,” Thomas said. “It’s a blessing to be able to play with guys as talented as they are. … I’ll be looking up to those guys to teach me the ropes, working hard to help the program.”

Though he arrives as a marquee draft choice, Thomas must earn a spot in the lineup.

“I am going to say the same thing to him that I said to Saquon and that I said to Daniel, ‘You have to come in and compete, nothing is getting handed to you,’” Gettleman said. “He’s big, he’s long, he’s strong, he can bend. He can anchor run in pass (protection). He’s very athletic in the open field, we are just really excited to have him, and continue to build this team properly.”

That meant adding one of Gettleman’s beloved hog mollies instead of a fleet receiver to catch Jones’ passes.

“I have always gotten a chuckle out of people who say you draft a quarterback and you have to get him weapons,” Gettleman said. “No, you don’t draft a quarterback and then get weapons, once you draft a quarterback you get guys in front of him that will keep him upright. So this was an important piece for us in Daniel’s development and for Saquon as well. Don’t forget the running part of it and he is a hell of a run blocker.”

Barkley rushed for 2,310 yards in his first two seasons and is the first player in Giants history to exceed 1,000 yards on the ground in each of his first two seasons.

Asked if he preferred keeping a quarterback upright or run blocking, Thomas said “I would probably say grinding it out on the ground. I definitely want to protect the quarterback but the run game, I love it.”

The Giants have an opening at right tackle, where Mike Remmers, the starter in 2019, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Thomas will also get a look on the left side, where 10-year veteran Nate Solder started every game the last two seasons.

“The good thing about all of our tackles is they play on both sides,” Judge said. “If you look across the board, everyone on our depth chart right now has played on the right and the left. Everyone is going to come in on day one and compete and as they shake out, whether that demonstrates being a starter at whatever position, that’s where they’ll fall. We went into this with several players we thought had the ability to go on both sides, right or left. We made a decision that we’re going to let training camp figure that out.”

Gettleman said he was impressed with Thomas’ versatility.

“That’s a piece of it, absolutely,” Gettleman said. “Absolutely. “He started on the right side as a puppy and (played) two years at left.”
Thomas agreed that his versatility will benefit him with the Giants.

“I think it definitely helps having experience playing both sides,” he said. “It’s something that will be an asset for me.”

Thomas was selected first-team All-SEC in 2018 and 2019. He was a Freshman All-America in 2017, a second-team All-America in 2018, and a first-team All-America in 2019. Thomas was a key player on Georgia teams that won 11 or more games three straight seasons, won three consecutive SEC Eastern Division titles, and played in New Year’s Eve Bowl games three years in a row (2018 Rose, 2019 Allstate Sugar, 2020 Allstate Sugar).

“We are anxious to get to work with him, get our hands on him and get going,” Judge said. “He has the right demeanor, the right makeup. I’ve talked on the front end about a lot guys, the whole process of this. Not being able to be on campuses, not having the luxury of pro days or 30 visits coming to our facility. You had to rely on your contacts, and this is someone that a lot of people I am close with had worked directly with. There was a lot of good knowledge that could sign off on and know what we were bringing in to add to our team. This is definitely a guy we are excited about getting in and getting a chance to work with and giving him a chance to compete with the rest of our guys. “

In Thomas, the Giants selected a player from Georgia in the first round for the second straight year; in 2019, cornerback DeAndre Baker was the last of their three first-round choices and 30th overall. Third-year linebacker Lorenzo Carter is another former Bulldog who will reunite with Thomas on the Giants.

“I remember being a freshman with Zo being a senior here (at Georgia),” Thomas said. “It’s going to be exciting to be back with him. With D-Bake I talk to him every now and then. I’m excited to get in the locker room and be with those guys again.”

It’s exciting for the Giants, too.

(Michael Eisen/NY Giants)