Justin Pugh, who was essentially out of the league until October, joined the Giants on a practice squad contract straight from his couch. Despite this unconventional start, he quickly became a starter, playing 12 games for the team. Originally drafted by the Giants in 2013, he spent the last five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Giants’ offensive line faced challenges before Pugh’s arrival, dealing with injuries and a lack of cohesion. Pugh’s veteran leadership and experience stabilized the line, and he showcased versatility by playing both left guard and left tackle when needed.

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While Pugh’s return is feasible, his individual performance was inconsistent. In 12 starts, he had below-average run-blocking, allowed eight sacks, and committed five penalties. Despite his stabilizing influence, the Giants may seek to upgrade their starters with more expensive free agents and high draft picks.

Pugh’s affordability and expressed interest in returning to the Giants make re-signing him a possibility. However, at 34 and recovering from an ACL tear in 2022, he may not regain his athletic peak. Retirement or not making the roster are potential outcomes, and the team may prioritize younger and more consistent options.

Considering Pugh’s interest, the team could sign him to a low-level deal for training camp, but guarantees, both in salary and a spot on the final roster, are unlikely. Ultimately, the decision will hinge on the team’s evaluation of Pugh’s value in contributing to training camp and the roster.

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