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NFL free agency rumors: Andrew Norwell to the Giants ‘a done deal’

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One of the top offensive linemen on the market appears to have already found a new home.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It is becoming increasingly clear that Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson will not be with the team in 2018. If that’s the case, one of the team’s biggest needs heading into free agency will be an interior offensive linemen. Panthers guard Andrew Norwell is the cream of the crop in this year’s free agency market, but it appears he may already found his suitor.

According to DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, the New York Giants are not only the front-runner to land Norwell, but he claims it’s already a “done-deal.”

Norwell is not technically a free agent yet and only the Panthers are allowed to negotiate with him until next week, but history has shown that teams regularly break this rule and often come to back-door agreements before the legal tampering period even begins.

Norwell is likely set to earn a huge payday. At just 26 years old and coming off All-Pro year, he is one of the most coveted free agents at any position this year.

That’s why it’s a bit of a surprise that the Giants are apparently leading the charge in pursuing him. New York doesn’t have a ton of cap space (~$22.9 million, 20th-most), and they have plenty of other pressing needs, too. Even the Panthers have more cap space, but they appear to be happy to move on without Norwell.

For the Lions, that means they’ll have to look elsewhere for a new starter along the interior offensive line. The good news for them is that there are still plenty of other options available. In free agency, there’s veteran guard Josh Sitton or Giants free agent Justin Pugh.

Perhaps the more enticing options, however, are in the draft. Many analysts are calling the 2018 NFL Draft class one of the best in history in terms of their interior offensive line talent. While Quenton Nelson won’t be in play for the Lions at 20th overall, they could have their shot at the likes of UTEP’s Will Hernandez, Ohio State’s Billy Brice, Auburn’s Braden Smith or Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn among others.

With free agency just a week away, it’s only a matter of time before we stop relying on rumors and have some actual news to analyze.