Giants add depth with lineman who earned another shot

Giants add depth with lineman who earned another shot

The start of the free-agency negotiating period began at noon Monday, but the Giants did not even wait that long to find some help for their beleaguered offensive line. No, it is not a move-the-needle transaction, but they did fortify their depth by re-signing Jon Halapio, who had been an exclusive rights free agent.

Halapio, 26, was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2014 after starting 43 games in college at Florida. He spent the 2016 season and the first four games in 2017 on the Giants’ practice squad before making his NFL debut Oct. 22, working on special teams in a loss to the Seahawks. Halapio made his first career start Nov. 23, at Washington, at right guard after D.J. Fluker went down with a toe injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve. Halapio started the last six games, and when he was on the field, the running game perked up, just as it did when Fluker was in the lineup and Brett Jones moved in as the starting center.

The Giants are in an offensive line rebuild and will have three and maybe four new starters in 2018 for new head coach Pat Shurmur. They are expected to make a big push in free agency to sign Andrew Norwell, the top guard on the market. New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, when he held that title with the Panthers, signed Norwell as an undrafted free agent and saw firsthand how Norwell, 26, developed into a star lineman.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Halapio will no doubt compete for a roster spot at both guard and center. He took to Twitter to excitedly announce his signing, posting he is “humbled and honored’’ to be returning to the Giants, adding, “It’s a huge day for my family!’’

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