The New York Giants made a surprising move just days before final roster cuts when they acquired former first-round pick Isaiah Simmons from the Arizona Cardinals for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick.
Simmons, a stud linebacker/safety out of Clemson, was the eighth overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft by the Cardinals and has not missed a game in his three seasons as a pro.
So, why did the Cardinals decide to decline Simmons’ $12.722 million option for 2024 and send him packing to the Giants?
Two reasons. First, he didn’t fit in with the rebuilding program in Arizona, and second, he had underachieved in their system thus far.
But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is just the man to unlock Simmons’ massive potential.
Simmons could be the player the Giants have been looking for — but at linebacker, not at safety. Simmons, although athletic and fast, has not fared well at the safety position. At linebacker, he matches up well in coverage against tight ends and running backs.
From SNY’s Connor Hughes:
From my understanding the Giants view Simmons as more LB than safety. That’s interesting because Simmons told the Cardinals he doesn’t want to play LB — he’s a safety. The problem: He’s a very bad safety. He has a 28.0 PFF grade in that role (last) year. Simmons’ PFF regular season grades during his career (as LB) have been 59.9, 51.1 & 67.9. He did show some promise as a rusher last year — 83.5 mark, 4 sacks.
Everything I’ve heard about Simmons is that, while labeled a tweener, he’s more than capable of playing LB on an every-down basis. He has all the talent in the world and is a ridiculous athlete. He just needs to want it — a problem at times in Arizona. The other issue in Arz, I was told, lack-of physicality.
The one thing that’s been stressed to me is that if anyone can find a way to motivate & get Simmons to work … it’s Wink. Not just because he loved him coming out but because he’s tremendous at identifying a player’s skill set, then putting them in a position where that skill set can shine. Highlight strengths, mask weaknesses. Simmons can rush (Wink will use him there) & is a good rover. That’s what Giants will have him do. Think a suped-up Landon Collins from a year ago.
It’s a bit of a gamble but worth a seventh-rounder for sure. Simmons adds team speed and some much-needed experience to the back seven. If the Giants can strategically place him in positions where he can succeed and help the team, it will be another coup for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll.