By the true definition of the word, Cullen Jenkins is a giant already. But will be play for them? Patience. We’ll know soon.
The thing about being cut is that it sucks. It’s the football equivalent of being told to close the door and have a seat, and then being handed some pleasantly pink-colored paper. But unlike the rest of this year’s free agents who still have to wait nearly two weeks before going about the business of finding employment, Cullen Jenkins can do that now and sign with a new team. It’s a perk of being released.
So the Jenkins tour will begin tomorrow, and it’ll start with the Giants.
That’s the good word according to USA Today’s Mike Garafolo, who also notes that so far the Giants are the only visit scheduled for the recently jettisoned Eagle, though several other teams are rumored to be interested. Ian Rapoport echoed that last part, saying that if we assume Chicago retains Henry Melton (likely through the use of a franchise tag), Jenkins is the best available free agent at his position.
He’s not wrong. Excluding Melton, only Sedrick Ellis could be placed ahead of Jenkins among the defensive tackles, and narrowly. That means Jenkins may have stumbled upon some good fortune, and an inflated market at his position. Teams that have a more pressing desire for youth elsewhere may not be willing or able to dedicate an early round pick to a DT (think Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson, or Shariff Floyd), and they’ll then throw a few more Benjamins at Jenkins, despite his age.
Maybe. The Giants are a fit to take on a veteran interior pass rusher after their salary cap purge led to the departure of Chris Canty. In a more limited rotational capacity, Jenkins can still be effective for a team that’s not in a position to turn down any pass rush help, interior or otherwise. They’re set to lose Osi Umenyiora, and the Giants also saw Jason Pierre-Paul struggle in 2012 (just 6.5 sacks, after recording 16.5 in 2011) while their defensive front finished the season ranked 22nd in sacks with 33 overall. Given the aforementioned cap cluster-mess, exploring all the reasonably cheap options for help is simple due diligence.
However, a return to Green Bay may be a better fit for Jenkins. He can still anchor the Packers’ 3-4 front, but his efficiency would be optimized while rotating snaps with B.J. Raji — whose playing time decreased this past season — and Jerel Worthy.