The role of swing offensive tackle is not an exotic one but it is vitally important on a roster, as any starter is one play away from going down, and the entire offensive line suffers if there is not a viable replacement.
The Giants on Friday secured a new candidate for the swing tackle spot, signing veteran Will Holden. This move became a necessity when Matt Gono — signed in the offseason to serve as the backup at both left and right tackle — on Wednesday was placed on the exempt/left squad list, dealing with a neck issue.
In the corresponding roster move, third-year defensive end Niko Lalos was waived.
Holden, 28, is a much-traveled player and the Giants are his ninth NFL team. He was a 2017 fifth-round draft pick of the Cardinals out of Vanderbilt. He has played in 27 games, with nine starts for the Cardinals, Ravens, Colts and Lions. The 6-foot-7, 312-pound Holden has started four games at left tackle, two at right tackle, one at left guard and two as an extra lineman.
With Gono out of the picture, the Giants were using rookie Joe Ezeudu as a backup at four different spots — everywhere on the offensive line other than center. Holden, for now, relieves that pressure on Ezeudu, and he will back up Andrew Thomas on the left side and rookie Evan Neal on the right side.
Lalos was a favorite of the Joe Judge coaching staff. Undrafted out of Dartmouth, he played in six games in 2020 and spent the 2021 season on the practice squad.