There are luxuries and there are necessities and there are purchases made simply as replacements. Consider the Giants agreeing to terms Tuesday with tight end Levine Toilolo as the latter.
The retirement of Rhett Ellison left the Giants without a seasoned blocking tight end, and that is where Toilolo comes in. He is a seven-year veteran with 108 games of NFL experience, and in that span caught 97 passes for 996 yards and eight touchdowns. That production shows why Toilolo has lasted this long. He is very big (6-foot-8 and 268 pounds), a towering figure who does his work blocking at the line of scrimmage.
The loss of Ellison is compounded by the physical limitations of Evan Engram, who is coming off foot surgery. Engram and Toilolo are very different players, though, with disparate skill sets. Toilolo will fit in with Engram, a pass-catcher first and foremost, and Kaden Smith, who showed ability as a receiver as a rookie last season. The Giants also have Garrett Dickerson and C.J. Conrad on the roster at tight end.
Toilolo, 28, was a 2013 fourth-round draft pick of the Falcons. He is the second former Stanford player acquired by the Giants during this free-agency period. Linebacker Blake Martinez agreed to terms early Tuesday.
This is another addition with a pristine health history. Toilolo played in all 16 games five times in his career and appeared in 15 and 13 games his other two seasons. His best offensive showing came in 2014, when he caught 31 passes for 238 yards for the Falcons. A backup in 2019 for the 49ers, he had only two receptions for 10 yards. Pro Football Focus ranked Toilolo as the 26th-best run blocker in the league in 2019.