It has been a little more than 48 hours and we are already in the muck of NFL Free Agency. Many of the big names have been signed and people are heaping praise on teams for winning the offseason already. This is not a title the Giants are usually in the running for, but somehow they have won two Super Bowls in the last seven years (that should rile up the Eli Manning trolls). Now that the dust has settled, lets take a look at how the Giants roster has changed since Free Agency started on Wednesday afternoon.
Jon Beason, LB
Josh Brown, K
Stevie Brown, SS
Peyton Hills, RB
Henry Hynoski, FB
Trumaine McBride, CB
Curtis Painter, QB
Rashad Jennings, RB
Geoff Schwartz, G
J.D Walton, C
Jameel McClain, LB
Reaction: I love the Schwartz signing, because it sounds like he is a mean dude who can play multiple position on the O-Line. So we have a potential replacement for David Diehl’s spot. The McClain signing intrigues me because Baltimore is a well-run franchise similar to the Giants, so getting players that they once had means something. Then again, the fact that they let McClain walk is concerning, but that could just be due to them making it rain on Joe Flacco. The Beason deal makes me happy because we have a linebacker that has proven he can play well in this defense. However, the reason Beason was available for trade last year was his injury risk, something that will not go away as he gets older. Jennings ran real hard when the Giants played the Raiders last season, so maybe he can be the Thunder to David Wilson’s lighting. Or maybe neither play a snap this season, as both have past injury issues. I have no idea what to expect from J.D. Waldon, but plugging anyone at Center other than David Baas works for me. He was a disaster from the start with the GMen. I like re-signing McBride and Brown, since they are both relatively young and have shown some glimpses of being good players. I am indifferent on bringing back the White Rhino Peyton Hillis, but I understand that our running back corps has the potential to blow up in our faces again and I imagine the front office wants a guy who knows the offense in case Wilson and/or Jennings go down. I guess Curtis Painter gave Eli the best back rubs, so he is back for another season. Good for him. I love the Hynoceris but I am very skeptical that he is going to be able to play at his old level after last year’s season-ending shoulder injury. Josh Brown was pretty average as a kicker, which Giants fans have been used to for years.
Linval Joseph, DT
Ryan Mundy, FS
Brandon Myers, TE
Keith Rivers, LB
Justin Tuck, DE
Reaction: This list is interesting for two reasons. One, four of the five guys were on the defensive side of the ball. I really liked last year’s D and hate to have it broken up. But that’s life in the NFL. Two, someone actually signed Brandon Myers’ bum ass. Eli Manning made Jake freaking Ballard a weapon in the offense, but Big Dumb Eli couldn’t do anything with Myers. There are two guys on this list I was sad to see go, but for different reasons. I hate losing Joseph because he may start really coming into his own, as he is entering his prime and was one of the best defensive line free agents out there. The Tuck defection hurts because he was one of the biggest leaders on the team and was probably the MVP of Super Bowl XLII. Joseph is more likely to show up in Honolulu the next few years, but seeing Tuck in silver and black is going to hurt every Giants fan’s soul. Going from Eli Manning to Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin will be an eye-opening experience for both of these guys, though. No matter how bad Eli played last season, no one will ever confuse him with those two. The one thing I will say about players leaving the Giants is that they seldom go on to perform up to their expected level once they leave the hollowed swamps of The Meadowlands. Being able to accurately rate your own free agents is one of the most important parts of running a successful franchise.
Where We Go From Here: As for the rest of the Giants currently unsigned free agents, some of the “big names” are as good as gone. After the Rashad Jennings signing, I don’t see Big Blue trying to bring back Andre Brown. And this video does a pretty good job of explaining what Hakeem Nicks did to his bridges in the Giants franchise. Terrell Thomas is visiting with the Raiders, but I hope he continues his comeback in New York. He was on his way to becoming one of the better cornerbacks in the league until he developed chronically torn ACLs.
Whether it is in the draft or free agency, I think we still need to pick up a few players.
- Tight End: Myers definitely wasn’t the answer, but I am weirdly confident that we will pick up someone on the cheap that will play better than expected. Last year was the exception to the rule, not the previous 4+ seasons. I do not believe that Adrien Robinson is the answer, either.
- Running Back: I would like to see the Giants get one more running back in the mix, whether it is a cheap free agent or someone later in the draft. We cannot afford to rely solely on our passing game while the line is in flux.
- Return Man: The Giants were reportedly very interested in Jacoby Jones, but he decided to re-up in Baltimore. Big Blue also missed out on Dexter McCluster and Ted Ginn Jr. I would be interested in the Giants perhaps taking a flier on Jacoby Ford and hoping he stays healthy as the primary return man.
- Defensive Line: With Tuck and Joseph leaving, we will need to sign a few players for depth purposes. I think/hope Damontre Moore will step up, while a healthy JPP haunts quarterbacks dreams again. Getting depth at this position should be possible, however. And with the talent and pedigree, it could make it an attractive spot for a free agent with something to prove. Cullen Jenkins will need a few big bodies next to him at the tackle position as well, which Reese has a history of bargain hunting for.
- Linebacker: The fact the Giants spent money on two different free agents at this position is a miracle in itself. I do not think they are finished yet, as they will need at least one more player for depth. That player will likely come in the draft however, where Reese’s success has surprisingly been lacking.
- Cornerback: Now that the Giants have parted ways with Ol’ Deadfoot Corey Webster and Awful Aaron Ross, they will need to reload at DB. I have faith Prince Amukamara will do a decent job on the top of the depth chart, but they will need another corner opposite him, as there are a lot of injury and experience concerns throughout the position. Bringing in a couple of veterans while drafting another corner seems to be the best way to go.
There is still a long ways to go, Giants fans. But think of it this way, at least our owner isn’t our GM.Follow @TheClemReport