Veteran cornerback Leon Hall is still on the open market, but that may not be true much longer.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Hall visited with the New York Giants on Wednesday. Schefter added that it appears that Hall will play for the Giants or Cincinnati Bengals this upcoming season.
Hall has drawn a lot of interest from several teams since free agency started, though no team has come close to offering the $7.8 million salary that the 31-year-old received from the Bengals last season. This is the second time that Hall has visited the Giants this offseason, with the first time occurring in June.
Hall compiled 55 tackles along with two interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown, and nine pass defensed in 14 games last season. He graded out as the 33rd best corner by Pro Football Focus in 2015.
Hall, who has played his entire career in Cincinnati, has been a quality corner throughout his career despite being slowed by injuries recently. The nine-year veteran had back surgery in January and has torn his Achilles twice since 2011. For his career, Hall has registered 470 tackles, picked off 25 passes, and has been credited with 111 pass defensed.
New York ranked last in passing defense in 2015, permitting 299 yards a contest. The Giants also allowed 31 touchdowns via the air. They did record 15 interceptions though Dominique Cromartie-Rogers is the only cornerback still with the team that picked off a pass – he had three interceptions, which tied for the team lead.
New York already added fifth-year veteran Janoris Jenkins and 2016 first-round draft pick Eli Apple to their core of cornerbacks. Jenkins signed a monstrous five-year $62.5 million contract with Giants after tallying three interceptions and 15 pass defensed to go along with 64 tackles with the St. Louis Rams last year. The 27-year-old has 10 career interceptions, five of which he has returned for touchdowns.
Jenkins has been solid and was one of the standouts in camp on Wednesday.
Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese explained in an interview with WFAN why the team was still looking for help at cornerback earlier this offseason.
“The one position that makes me more nervous than anything else is when we don’t have enough corners. Going into this draft it didn’t look like we had enough corners back there that had enough experience…. We didn’t have a lot of proven guys back there. That always make you nervous because in this league you throw the ball a lot.”
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Hall is best suited to play the slot where Rogers-Cromartie, who has said that he prefers to play one of the outside corner spots, has spent most of training camp at with the first team defense. Schwartz added that Cromartie-Rogers prefers to play on the outside, and while Apple also has seen time in slot, his body type and experience makes him better suited to play outside as well. Trevin Wade is the only other player on the roster that has experience in the slot.
Per ESPN, Hall and the Giants did not come to terms on a deal. That does not mean New York didn’t make an offer as it was rumored Hall was using his meeting with the Giants as a power play to get the Bengals to increase their offer.
Cincinnati is in the market for a cornerback after the team announced that 2016 first-round selection William Jackson III (torn pectoral) will likely miss the entire season and that Darqueze Dennard could be out two-to-six weeks with a sprained ankle.
Jackson wasn’t likely to see much time at cornerback this season anyway. The loss of Dennard could be much more damaging for the Bengals as he was slated to start in the slot this season. The 24-year-old appeared in 10 games last year for the Bengals, recording 10 tackles along with one interception and three pass defensed.
Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick are slated to start at the two outside corners for the Bengals, who ranked 20th in passing yards allowed a year ago.
The Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins have also shown interest in Hall.
[Photo by Gary Landers/AP Images]