If an app existed to objectively calculate the ideal team for an NFL free agent based on his wish list, it would have led Cameron Fleming to the New York Giants. Fleming sought playing time and familiarity. With the Giants, he finds a hole at right tackle and three familiar leaders — head coach Joe …
If an app existed to objectively calculate the ideal team for an NFL free agent based on his wish list, it would have led Cameron Fleming to the New York Giants.
Fleming sought playing time and familiarity. With the Giants, he finds a hole at right tackle and three familiar leaders — head coach Joe Judge, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and offensive line coach Marc Colombo.
Without pioneering technology, but with an assist from agent Kyle Strongin, Fleming agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with the Giants earlier this week. He spent the past two seasons making six starts and appearing in 28 games for the Dallas Cowboys, where Garrett was head coach and Colombo coached the offensive line.
“I saw an opportunity that I could go compete for a position and really have a chance to play,” Fleming told The Post. “I feel comfortable with that playbook after doing it for two years already. I think it increases my chance to play even more.”
The big changes come in learning new personnel, like blocking for lateral runner Saquon Barkley instead of Ezekiel Elliott. Fleming describes Garrett’s philosophy as “predicated on physicality up front,” which suits his skill-set.
Asked to self-scout for Giants fans, Fleming said, “Hopefully, they are getting a smart, tough lineman, who can get down and dirty in the trenches and pass protect his [butt] off.”
Fleming is penciled in as a starter, but the Giants are expected to address the offensive line with one of their first two draft picks. If they select a tackle, Fleming isn’t going to run from the challenge.
“I don’t know what their plans are for the offensive line beyond what they have now,” Fleming said, “but I know there is an opening there that hasn’t been filled yet, and I’d like to go in there and try to take it.”
Fleming, 27, spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots, where part of his responsibility included special-teams blocking under Judge as coordinator. He chuckled at the memory of the “energy and enthusiasm” Judge brought to tackling drills and meetings, from which offensive linemen were excused.
As the only Giant with an insider’s viewpoint, how does Fleming foresee a Judge-Garrett hierarchy?
“They are both incredibly hard working and knowledgeable,” he said. “I think they are going to work well together. It will be a great combination of coaches from two different cultures who come together and make this team special. If you think a coach is knowledgeable about what’s going on in the offense, then he garners a lot of respect.”
The Giants expressed mild interest in Fleming during free agency in 2018, after signing Nate Solder. But they opted (wrongly) to stick with Ereck Flowers at right tackle rather than stealing two Patriots bookends.
“Definitely this time I felt like it was a better spot for me,” Fleming said. “It feels good to have a place to go. Once you become a free agent, everything is left up in the air.”
The Giants seemingly sent out a Stanford alumni reunion letter during free agency, adding Fleming, Blake Martinez and Levine Toilolo to a roster that includes Kaden Smith and, if he re-signs, Michael Thomas. Actually, Fleming was recently training at Stanford, but flew home mid-week to Dallas.
Because of the recommended self-quarantine due to the coronavirus, professional athletes need creative ways to stay fit.
“I’m doing pushups, sit-ups and squats in the house,” Fleming said. “Hopefully, I can find somewhere that’s open and get back to work soon.”