Giants’ Connor Barwin signing could pay substantial dividends

New York Giants

There’s no such thing as too much veteran leadership in an NFL locker room, and the Giants just bolstered their supply with a key late offseason move.

When a team has a turnaround season, we often look back and pinpoint a decision or two that changed the team’s course. The New York Giants may have just made one of those decisions.

The Giants signed veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin to a deal Monday, Barwin announced via Twitter. The move reunites Barwin with Giants linebackers coach Bill McGovern, who coached Barwin in Philadelphia from 2013 to 2015.

Barwin’s presence as a leader was well-covered during his stints with the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Rams. The nine-year veteran was a respected figure in the locker room who younger players looked up to.

The Giants are a prime example of the type of team who could use a personality like Barwin’s. During the team’s 3-13 campaign last season, the chemistry in the locker room went awry.

Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple were each suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Apple made comments to the media regarding what he felt were problems with the team’s culture. Players revolted, even leaving games early and getting in “altercations” with the head coach.

Granted, many of these issues stemmed from the inability of former head coach Ben McAdoo to keep the locker room under control. His replacement, Pat Shurmur, has already received rave reviews in his short time with the team. Still, a team with this history of brash personalities needs level-headed leaders like Barwin to guide the way. When you throw in the combustible Odell Beckham Jr., the Barwin signing makes even more sense.

If Big Blue does have a bounce-back season and return to the playoffs, many will be pointing back to this acquisition as a reason why.

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