The New York Giants have signed 26-year old former Green Bay Packers linebacker, Blake Martinez, to a 3-year $30 million deal. I’ve seen nothing but negative reactions which is fair considering Dave Gettleman is a special needs narcissist who should be unemployed.
NYG gets him for 3 years, $30M. https://t.co/TE4BU9G7RS
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2020
But let’s remove biases for a moment and talk about Blake Martinez.
Martinez is a beast. Since 2017, he’s led the league with 443 tackles and 208 solo tackles. He’s coming off a career-high 155 tackles in 2019.
Obviously there’s more to being a linebacker than just tackling but let’s not downplay the value of having a guy standing in the middle of your defense crushing running backs. The Giants ranked 20th in run defense last year. Blake Martinez is far more athletic than Alec Ogletree was. This is a step up for sure.
But calling Blake Martinez more athletic than Alec Olgetree is like saying Donald Trump has slightly less dementia than Joe Biden in that both players are slow as hell and basically move in slow motion out there which isn’t great when you remember the Giants biggest weakness is pass defense and Blake Martinez couldn’t keep up with a statue.
Here’s Pro Football Focus’s assessment of B-Mart:
At various points in his career, Martinez has shown the skill set necessary to be top-10 NFL linebacker. In 2017, his run-defense grade of 89.6 ranked sixth among linebackers. The following year, his 82.6 coverage grade ranked ninth at the position. The problem is that he’s never put it all together in the same year, and last season, Martinez struggled in both facets with a 57.7 overall grade. The durability and the tackle numbers shine this deal in a favorable light, but as we know, there is more to a player’s performance than that. The Giants will be hoping that Martinez can put together a complete season in 2020.
Nooooot great news.
So what problem does signing Blake Martinez solve for the Giants?
Let’s remember two things:
1. Blake Martinez is only 26-years old who went to Stanford. He’s young enough and smart enough to figure it all out. He is in no way a finished product. Sure, he runs like his legs weigh twelve tons each but he’s also never had a season with fewer than 144 tackles.
2. The Giants have the No. 4 pick and will most likely draft Clemson linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, who can play every position on the field. Yes, Martinez sucks in pass coverage but he’s about to be lined up next to Simmons who will without a doubt be tasked with covering the opposing team’s tight ends while Martinez can focus on defending the run.
Blake Martinez is going to slam his head into every scrum and into play which this defense desperately needs after watching them give up on plays so often last season. He was also nominated by the Packers to be the Walter Payton Award winner which means he’s going to be a great locker room presence which again, the Giants have desperately needed.
Nothing but respect for my middle linebacker.