Below is a list of the essential questions about free agency, answered in adroit fashion by the NFL Communications department...

Q.  When does the 2014 free agency signing period begin?

 A.  At 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11. 

Q.  What is permitted during the three-day negotiating period prior to the start of free agency?

 A.  Beginning at 12:00 noon ET on Saturday, March 8 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.  However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

 During this negotiation period, a prospective unrestricted free agent cannot visit a club (other than the player’s current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player’s current club).  If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

Clubs (other than the player’s current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free agent players, their certified agents, or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players’ 2013 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

The three-day negotiating period applies only to potential unrestricted free agents; it does not apply to players who are potential Exclusive Rights Players or Restricted Free Agents, or to players who have been designated as Franchise Players or Transition Players.

Q.  What are the categories of free agency?

A.  Players are either “Restricted Free Agents” or “Unrestricted Free Agents.”  A Restricted Free Agent may be subject to a qualifying offer.  A Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent may be designated by his prior club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player.

Q.  What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A.  For Restricted Free Agents, from March 11 to May 2.  For Unrestricted Free Agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 11 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  For Franchise Players, from March 11 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 11.  For Transition Players, from March 11 until July 22.  If the above-listed players do not sign by November 11, they must sit out the season. 

Q.  What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent and an Unrestricted Free Agent?

A.  In the 2014 League Year, players with three accrued seasons become Restricted Free Agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2013 League Year.  Unrestricted Free Agents have completed four or more accrued seasons.  An Unrestricted Free Agent is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.

Q.  What constitutes an “Accrued Season”?

A.  Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.

Q.  What could restrict the ability of a Restricted Free Agent to sign with a new club? 

A.  If he has received a “qualifying offer” (a salary tender predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club.  He can negotiate with any club through May 2.  If the Restricted Free Agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs.  If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.  If an offer sheet is not executed on or before May 2, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club.  In addition, a player who would otherwise be a Restricted Free Agent may be designated by his old club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player. No Restricted Free Agents were designated as Franchise or Transition players this year.

Q.  What determines an Unrestricted Free Agent?

A.  A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired.  He is free to sign with any club, with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  At that point, his negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club if by June 1 the old club tendered the player a one-year contract for 110 percent of  his prior year’s salary.  His old club then has until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season (November 11) to sign him.  If he does not sign by that date, he must sit out the season.  If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season. 

Q.  What determines a Franchise Player?

A.  The salary offer by a player’s club determines what type of franchise player he is: exclusive or non-exclusive

An “exclusive” Franchise Player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year as of the end of the restricted free agent signing period on May 2; or (ii) the amount of the required tender for a non-exclusive franchise player, as explained below.

Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the “Cap Percentage Average,” for calculating the required tender for such a player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the “Cap Percentage Average”) . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . . .

If a club extends a required tender to a “non-exclusive” Franchise Player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

Q.  How many Franchise Players and Transition Players can a team designate each season?

A.  A club can designate one “Franchise” Player or one “Transition” Player among its potential restricted or unrestricted free agents.   

Q.  Can a club decide to withdraw its Franchise or Transition designations on a player?

A.  Yes.  A club can withdraw its Franchise or Transition designation, and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent, either immediately or when his contract expires.

Q.  What is the salary cap for 2014?

A.  The salary cap is $133,000,000 per club.

Q.  When must teams be in compliance with the cap?

A.  At the start of the 2014 League Year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

Q.  If a team is under the salary cap at the end of a given season, can the team carry over room to the next season?

A.  Yes.  A team may “carry over” room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice to the NFL prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day before the team’s final regular-season game indicating the maximum amount of room that the club wishes to carry over.

Q.  What is the maximum amount of room that a club can carry over?

A.  One hundred percent of its remaining room.

Tags: 2014 New York Giants, 2014 NFL Free Agency, NFL Free Agency

New York Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Jerry Reese looks on before a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Jerry Reese looks on before a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

PHOENIX - At the miserable end of the 2015 season, as the Giants were basically firing Tom Coughlin, John Mara wasn't willing to let his general manager completely off the hook. He officially put Jerry Reese on notice when he said "Jerry knows this is on him."

A $200 million spending spree, an 11-5 record, and a return to the playoffs later, it appears that Reese isn't on the Giants' hot seat anymore.

"There was a lot of heat on Jerry," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said during the NFL Owners Meetings on Monday at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. "John Mara, my partner, made it very clear to Jerry that 'We're watching you and we have very high expectations, and it's really your time to deliver, Jerry.' So the moves he made last season, clearly in retrospect, were hugely significant and changed the whole defense of the team. 

Tags: Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (AP)
(AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

PHOENIX - John Mara saw the hole that Odell Beckham punched in the wall at Lambeau Field after the Giants lost to the Packers in the playoffs and he offered to pay to fix it. Packers president Mark Murphy told him it was fine. After all, it only cost $100.

And that was about all the worrying Mara did about that.

Yes, he knows that his star receiver can be as explosive off the field as he is on it. He knows he has difficulty controlling his emotions and he knows that can get him into trouble.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning during first half against Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning during first half against Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX -- With Eli Manning undoubtedly nearing the end of his career, the New York Giants have obviously given some thought to finding his replacement. They've even given some thought to drafting his replacement next month.

But as Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said Monday, there is no rush.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: NFL Recap 00:03:57
Ralph Vacchiano talks Giants free agency, while Steve Tisch and Brandon Marshall speak with the media and Oakland's move is discussed.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX -- The Giants threw down the gauntlet in front of Odell Beckham Jr. at the end of last season, telling him, in GM Jerry Reese's words, it was time to "grow up." They were tired of the on-field antics, angry about his ill-timed boat trip, not to mention the hole in the wall in Green Bay.

But none of that has truly soured the Giants on their all-pro receiver.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III fumbles the ball as he's hit by New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III fumbles the ball as he's hit by New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX -- The New York Giants have an offer on the table for defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins that has been there since before free agency began. And even though Hankins is obviously holding out for more money, Giants co-owner Steve Tisch indicated the team doesn't plan to pull its offer any time soon.

"No one's panicking right now," Tisch said during a break in the NFL Owners Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. "There's time. And again, by nature I'm optimistic, so I think it's going to work out. … Let me rephrase that: I would very much like this to work out."

The optimism surely comes from the obvious: Hankins has not yet signed anywhere else, and the 24-year-old defensive tackle likely isn't going to get a significantly better offer three weeks into the free-agent signing period. An NFL source told SNY that Hankins was looking for at least what the Giants gave Damon Harrison last offseason -- a five-year, $46.25 million contract with $24 million guaranteed.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Johnathan Hankins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tisch on Marshall signing 00:02:19
New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch talks about the Brandon Marshall signing and his excitement for next season.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX -- The New York Giants fell short of reaching Super Bowl LI this past season, but that turned out to be a good thing.

At least for the New England Patriots.

Tags: New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX - It may seem strange that Geno Smith signed with a team for which he has little chance of ever playing, but his former Jets teammate Brandon Marshall believes it was "absolutely" the right move for the young quarterback.

"I think it was really good for Geno to sign there," Marshall said outside of the NFL Owners Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. "I'm excited to see him continue to grow."

Growth seems to be the main reason the 26-year-old Smith chose to sign with the Giants after his turbulent four years across town with the Jets. When he signed, he spoke about the chance to learn from Eli Manning, who has started every game for the Giants since he first won the job as a rookie way back in 2004...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Julio Cortez/AP)
(Julio Cortez/AP)

The Giants are interested in former Jets C Nick MangoldDaily News writer and SNY contributor Pat Leonard reports.

Mangold, 33, was released by the Jets on Feb. 25 after spending 11 seasons with them.

He played eight games last season while dealing with an ankle injury.

Mangold, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl seven times, played in 62 of 64 regular season games for the Jets between 2012 and 2015.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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Cam Robinson highlights 00:01:24
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of Alabama OT Cam Robinson.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Now that the big-money part of NFL free agency is over, teams have begun increasingly focusing on the NFL draft, and their first-round targets are becoming a little clearer. So here's SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Giants as they prepare to make the 23rd overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27:

1.OT Garett Bolles, Utah - After dissecting the Giants' free-agent activity, it's hard to see them not focusing on a tackle in the first round (or least somewhere in the first couple of rounds). Yes, they'll say they take the "best available player," but "need" is always a strong factor in their pick and how they organize their draft board. The fact is they have questions at both tackles - Ereck Flowers needs a lot of work on the left side, and no one knows who the right tackle will be (presumably it's D.J. Fluker, but he said he was signed to play guard). Also, Fluker and left guard Justin Pugh (a potential tackle candidate) are unsigned beyond this season. They desperately need a young tackle and Bolles, a 6-5, 297-pounder who will make a pre-draft visit to the Giants, might be the best of an underwhelming group. (Last report: 1)

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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's free-agent signing period is open, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for frequent updates on what the Giants are doing with their own free agents and with free agents from other teams, and for updates on their available salary cap space and contract numbers.

GIANTS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Daily News Live: Pat Leonard 00:05:14
Giants beat writer Pat Leonard joins Daily News Live to discuss the Giants' signings of Geno Smith, Shaun Draughn and Jason Pierre-Paul.

Jan 8, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Jan 8, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Giants GM Jerry Reese was at North Carolina's Pro Day on Tuesday, which in itself isn't news - after all, that's what general managers do. Maybe it means something. Maybe it doesn't.

But since the star of UNC's Pro Day was quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it sure did get some people wondering: Are the Giants preparing to draft Eli Manning's replacement in this draft?

It would seem unlikely, especially in a high round, but it can't be completely ruled out since Reese himself said he would consider trying to find his next franchise quarterback this offseason. There are some good reasons not to do it this year, and some good reasons why now might be the time.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It wasn't Adrian Peterson or even LeGarrette Blount, but the Giants have found the veteran running back they've been searching for this offseason.

Shaun Draughn, a 29-year-old journeyman who spent the last season-and-a-half with the San Francisco 49ers, has agreed to terms on a contract with the Giants, the team announced Wednesday. The 5-11, 205-pounder is a power back, who has some skills as a receiver.

He's also joining his ninth team in his seven-year NFL career...

Tags: Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

University of Tennessee DE Derek Barnett will be the Giants' pick in this year's NFL draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. predicted in his third Mock Draft.

The Giants have the 23rd overall pick.

Kiper also had the Giants selecting Barnett in his second mock draft. He had New York selecting Wisconsin T Ryan Ramczyk in his first mock draft...

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon
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WR Brandon Marshall, who the Giants signed earlier this month, will wear No. 15 this coming season...

Click here to see the photo

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New York Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson (Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson (Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants announced their deal with LB Keenan Robinson, which is for one year and is worth up to $4 million, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Robinson recorded 54 total tackles (83 combined) in his first season with the Giants in 2016.

New York had been trying to re-sign him prior to free agency beginning, though Robinson reportedly visited with the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. 

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson
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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Geno Smith signed on to be the backup -- or possibly even the third-stringer -- behind a quarterback who has started every game since Nov. 21, 2004. He likely will never see the field. It's possible he won't even be on the active roster.

Still, the ex-Jets starter said the Giants represented "a perfect scenario for me."

Tags: Geno Smith
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New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich reacts after stopping Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich reacts after stopping Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Mark Herzlich has made a career out of defying the odds and exceeding everyone's expectations. Now it appears he's done it again.

The 29-year-old linebacker will be back for his seventh season with the Giants after signing a new contract with the team on Monday. He was used almost exclusively on special teams last season, though he has proven at times to be a useful fill-in at linebacker, where he's started 17 games in his six years.

In his career, though, Herzlich has become one of the leaders in the Giants locker room -- a respected and steady veteran voice, who is popular among his teammates, coaches and ownership. He's been a team favorite since making the Giants as an undrafted rookie back in 2011.

Tags: Mark Herzlich, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants added some depth in the secondary and some help on special teams when they signed cornerback Valentino Blake on Monday.

The 5-9, 198-pounder -- formerly known as Antwon Blake before deciding to go by his middle name last year -- has spent time with the Jaguars, Steelers, and Titans during his five-year NFL career. He started 16 games for the Steelers in 2015, picking off two passes -- one of which he returned 70 yards for a touchdown -- forcing one fumble and recording one sack...

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Geno Smith still envisions himself as a starting quarterback, which is one thing the Giants absolutely don't need. In fact, the Giants don't expect to need one until at least the 2020 season, when Smith will turn 30 and will probably be long gone.

That's why Smith's decision to sign with the Giants -- and to a lesser extent, the Giants' decision to sign Smith -- is so strange. For a player looking for a fresh start, hoping to re-establish his value, and desperate to compete for a starting job, the last thing that makes sense is for him to remain in New York to be the second- or maybe third-stringer behind Eli Manning, who hasn't missed a game in his 13-year NFL career.

Yet here we are, with the 26-year-old ex-Jets quarterback now officially a Giant after he passed his physical on Monday and is expected to sign what the NFL Network says is a one-year, $2 million deal. The Giants also signed backup quarterback Josh Johnson on Friday, so as long as Smith's repaired ACL is strong enough, it'll be a heck of a training camp battle between the two to see who gets to hold Manning's hat.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser (USA Today))
(William Hauser (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the NFL free-agent signing period began, almost everyone assumed that Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was about to strike it rich. The only question seemed to be how close he'd get to the five-year, $46.25 million contract the Giants gave defensive tackle Damon Harrison last season, or whether he had a shot to exceed it.

A bit over a week after the market opened, though, the 24-year-old Hankins remains unsigned and the market for defensive tackles has collapsed around him. So now, as free-agency begins its second, far-less-lucrative wave, the big, unanswered question about Hankins is this:

What the heck happened?

Tags: Damon Harrison, Johnathan Hankins, Ralph Vacchiano
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On the latest edition of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, former Jets QB Geno Smith sits down with Taylor to discuss his time with the Jets and his decision to join the Giants.

"I think it's just a first class organization. They will have a great shot at winning the Super Bowl in the next 2-3 years."

Click below to listen...

 

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GEICO SportsNite: Giants moves 00:02:28
Jeane Coakley and Ralph Vacchiano discuss Jason Pierre Paul's decision to stay with the Giants and the addition of Geno Smith.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It was just over 20 months ago that the first call was made to the Giants' offices with a scary report that lacked many important details. Their star defensive end had been involved in a fireworks accident, and no one could tell them how bad it really was.

In the days that followed, as they struggled to get information, the anger inside their offices grew. By the time the extent of the damage to Jason Pierre-Paul's right hand was clear, his NFL future was in doubt. And if he had one, it sure looked like his bridge back to the Giants had been burned.

Less than two years later, JPP's miracle return is complete. He's not just an NFL player, he's again one of the NFL's premier pass rushers, and a key cog in the Giants' defense. He's also once again a big part of the Giants' future, which they secured on Friday when they signed him to a massive, four-year, $62 million deal...

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants have agreed with DE Jason Pierre-Paul on a four-year deal, a source confirmed to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The deal has a base of $62 million and can be worth up to $66 million, according to Vacchiano. $40 million is guaranteed.

The Giants placed the nearly $17 million franchise tag on Pierre-Paul earlier this offseason, but did so with the hope that they'd be able to reach a long-term deal before the deadline, Vacchiano reported on March 3.

"We're going to create history," Pierre-Paul said in a statement released by the team. "We made it to the playoffs, but unfortunately I wasn't there to play. But I'm looking to get back to the playoffs this year with that great defensive line that we have, and the great defense that coach Spags (coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) is going to put out there."

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul
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New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass during the pregame warmups for their game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass during the pregame warmups for their game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants are expected to sign former Jets QB Geno Smith, a source confirmed to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

Smith, who met with the Giants last Saturday, has played in three games over the past two years with the Jets. Since New York drafted him in the second round in 2013, he has played in 33 games, throwing for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

In addition, New York has agreed to a two-year contract with QB Josh Johnsonper his agent Doug Hendrickson.

Tags: Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Hoffman)
Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Hoffman)

In today's Giants mailbag, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks about the club re-signing Jonathan Hankins and if the signing of free agent Rhett Ellison really solved the Giants' tight end issues...

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Any chance the Giants re-sign Hankins -- @gpbloom

My standard answer to this is that as long as he's unsigned, there's always a chance. And that's true, even in this case. But the situation is a bit complicated.

First, nearly everyone I talked to around the league thought Hankins was in for a big-money free agent deal - one that would be close to, but probably not exceed what the Giants gave DT Damon Harrison last March. Suffice to say, a lot of people are stunned that his market never developed and it's looking more and more like he's going to have to play next season on a one-year, "prove-it" deal...

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 (Ron Schwane/AP)
(Ron Schwane/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Bobby Hart went from a seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft to a mainstay in the Giants' starting lineup the next year. And he gets to cash a big check for that.

The 22-year-old Hart, who started 13 games at right tackle last season for the Giants, led his team in performance-based compensation from the NFL, getting a bonus of $361,072 for his efforts. The bonus was so big, in fact, that it ranked 19th among all performance-based pay recipients in the NFL for 2016.

The annual bonus distribution is a way for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make sure that lower-salaried players are compensated for excellent performances, without counting against a team's salary cap. Hart, in the second year of his rookie deal, earned a $525,000 salary in 2016, so his bonus was worth about 69 percent of that...

Tags: Bobby Hart, Devon Kennard, Will Tye, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 16, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) reacts to a referee's call during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 16, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) reacts to a referee's call during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

It's funny (or not), but a week into free agency the questions about the Giants are largely the same ones most people had at the end of the season. A few things have cleared up, but not much has changed.

So let's get right to it. Here's the latest offseason edition of our SNY Giants Twitter Mailbag - the first since free agency began:


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Are the Giants forced to spend a 1st or 2nd rd pick on OL given we didn't land any of the top FAs -- @D_Ricker81

I don't know if they're forced to do anything, really. I think an offensive lineman in one of those spots would be a good idea, and I think they're likely to do it...

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 (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports Images)
(Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports Images)

The Giants have re-signed OL John Jerry to a three-year deal worth $10 million, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

$4.25 million of the deal is guaranteed, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Jerry, 30, started all 16 games for the Giants this past season.

Tags: Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg
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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants don't have a ton of salary cap room. In fact, at the moment they really don't have any. So even if they make some cuts or restructure some contracts, they're likely to shop mostly in free agency's bargain bin.

The thing about the bargain bin, though, is that you can sometimes find real bargains -- valuable players that can actually help, for a price that is pretty low. So here are five still-available players the Giants might want to consider -- if, of course, their price is right:

RB LeGarrette Blount (Patriots) - He's 30 years old and his body has taken a beating over the years, so even though he's coming off his first 1,000-yard season since 2010 (1,161 yards), no one thinks he's a No. 1 back anymore. What he is is a 250-pound battering ram and a terrific goal-line back who had 18 touchdowns last season. The Giants, who have been a disaster in goal-line and short-yardage rushing in recent years, sure could use that kind of power in the backfield, and he could be the ideal complement to the smaller, speedier, shiftier, Paul Perkins...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins, Ryan Clady, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (AP)
(AP)

The Giants will pay RB Shane Vereen's $500,000 roster bonus prior to Monday's deadline, ensuring he will be on the roster.

He is due $3.6 million this coming season, with a cap hit of $4.9 million.

The 28-year-old Vereen tore his triceps last September. He returned in December but re-injured his triceps and missed the remainder of the season.

Tags: Shane Vereen
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Oct 9, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; The New York Giants offense huddles during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Oct 9, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; The New York Giants offense huddles during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Giants haven't been big spenders in the first few days of the NFL's free-agent frenzy, but they have been players, adding a receiver, a blocking tight end, and a starting offensive lineman. Not surprisingly, all their work has been on the side of the ball that struggled the most.

So what's next? There's still work to do as the Giants try to build themselves into a true Super Bowl contender to take advantage of the final few years of Eli Manning's career. And with that in mind, here's another look at some of the biggest questions facing the Giants as they move into free agency's second wave. Some of them have been hovering over the team all offseason. Some of them are new.

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Jan 1, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive guard D.J. Fluker (76) blocks Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins (94) as quarterback Philip Rivers (17) receives the ball during the second half of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chiefs won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
Jan 1, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive guard D.J. Fluker (76) blocks Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins (94) as quarterback Philip Rivers (17) receives the ball during the second half of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chiefs won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The top priority for the Giants heading into their offseason figured to be fixing their beleaguered offensive line. On Saturday night, on the third day of free agency, they took their first steps in that direction.

The Giants agreed to terms with D.J. Fluker on a one-year contract, an NFL source confirmed. The deal was reportedly to be worth only $3 million, making it a bargain for the Giants, and giving the former 11th overall pick (in the 2013 draft) a chance to re-establish his value and reset his career.

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets still haven't ruled out bringing Geno Smith back to compete for their starting quarterback job next season. But the Giants may be taking a shot at him first.

Smith, the former Jets second-round pick, is making a free agent visit across town to the Giants on Saturday afternoon, an NFL source confirmed. The Giants are in the market for a backup to Eli Manning, with both Josh Johnson and Ryan Nassib currently unrestricted free agents.

A big part of the visit, according to one source, is so the Giants can get a sense for where the 26-year-old Smith is in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October in his lone start last season with the Jets. In a recent interview with NFL Network, Smith said he was on track to be ready for the start of training camp in July, but likely wouldn't be ready for football activities before that.

Tags: Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (James Lang/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (James Lang/USA Today Sports Images)

The Giants are short on salary cap space. Now they're short on offensive linemen too.

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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

With almost no salary cap space left to spend - at least at the moment - the Giants are still trying to upgrade their offensive line. And their first step will be to meet with former first-round pick D.J. Fluker.

The Giants are interested in the 6-5, 339-pound guard/tackle who was released by the Chargers on Tuesday, according to an NFL source, and they are bringing him in for a free agent visit. They are serious about signing him, another source said, assuming the price is right.

Fluker, the 11th overall pick in 2013, would be a big addition for the Giants. Though he never quite lived up to his draft status, he was a solid four-year starter in San Diego. He started all but five games, including 21 at tackle and 28 at guard - exactly the kind of versatility the Giants like to have...

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Oakland Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (71) celebrates as he runs off the field after a 19-16 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. (Jake Roth)
Oakland Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (71) celebrates as he runs off the field after a 19-16 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. (Jake Roth)

The Giants have expressed interest in former Raiders offensive tackle Menelik Watsonaccording to Seth Walder of New York Daily News.

Per Walder, the talks are still in a preliminary stage.

Watson was taken by Oakland in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After starting 12 games during his first two seasons, Watson tore his Achilles during the 2015 campaign and missed the entire season. The injury seemed to linger last year as the tackle struggled throughout the whole season.

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Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants place kicker Robbie Gould (5) kicks a field goal against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants place kicker Robbie Gould (5) kicks a field goal against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Giants free agent K Robbie Gould will sign a two-year deal with the 49ers, the team confirmed Thursday night.

New York signed Gould last Oct. 20 after Josh Brown was suspended and ultimately released due to domestic abuse allegations.

The 35-year-old connected on all 10 of his field goal tries and was successful on 20-of-23 extra point attempts in 10 regular season games with the Giants. He remained perfect with two more field goals and a successful extra point attempt in New York's 38-13 Wild Card loss to the Packers.

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Giants addressing needs in FA? 00:02:34
The DNL panel discusses what the Giants biggest remaining needs are in free agency as the NFL New Year officially begins.

The Giants have agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $18 million with TE/FB Rhett Ellisonreports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

$8 million of the deal will be fully guaranteed.

Ellison, 28, had nine catches for 57 yards and one touchdown last season for the Minnesota Vikings.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Andrew Weber)
(Andrew Weber)

RB Orleans Darkwa has agreed to a one-year deal with the Giants, reports Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday.

The Giants didn't initially tender a contract to the 25-year-old Darkwa, who was a restricted free agent. He had been set to become an unrestricted free agent today at 4 p.m. 

There had been some discussions about Darkwa returning at a lesser price, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported last week, but a source recently indicated he was planning to test the free agent market first...

Tags: Orleans Darkwa
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 (Christopher Hanewinckel)
(Christopher Hanewinckel)

Free agent TE Anthony Fasano has agreed to re-sign with the Dolphins, reports Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

Paul Schwartz of the NY Post reported Tuesday that the Giants had interest in Fasano.

Fasano, 32, is used mostly as a run-blocker.

He had eight receptions for 83 yards to go along with two touchdowns in 16 games last season for the Titans, in what was the final year of his two-year deal...

Tags: Larry Donnell, Will Tye
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New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) looks on in the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) looks on in the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)

WR Brandon Marshall does not believe the Giants' young receivers would have gone to party in Miami following their Week 17 victory over the Redskins had he been a member of the team at the time.

"You know what? No, it doesn't happen," Marshall said on NFL Network's 'Good Morning Football' Thursday morning. "Well, I can't say that. Everyone is different. But I would have been against that, and partly because of my pains, right? I've been in the league so long and I've never made the playoffs. so for me, I'm a guy … I'm in year 11 (in that scenario), and I'm all-in, because I know this opportunity doesn't come around often. But then you have younger guys."

Marshall followed that comment up with an explanation of how a younger football star might think differently that a veteran in such situations.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
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LM on star receivers joining up 00:03:26
Jon and Marc analyze what impact the veteran WR Brandon Marshall will have on the young Odell Beckham Jr..

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

It may be showtime for the Giants offense now that Brandon Marshall has signed on, but his appearances on Showtime may be over.

Marshall, who had been one of the highest profile Jets the last two years and a weekly panelist on Showtime's "Inside the NFL," said he plans to cut back on his media appearances now that he's signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Giants. It was unclear if that was his choice or something the Giants asked him to do.

But he certainly sounded like he was done with Showtime show.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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Marshall's impact on Giants 00:03:13
Marc and Jon debate whether adding a star wideout in Brandon Marshall makes the Giants immediate Super Bowl contenders

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

After 11 seasons in the NFL with not a single taste of the playoffs and a string of mediocre (or worse) quarterbacks throwing him passes, Brandon Marshall had enough. That's why he insisted his trip to free agency wasn't going to be driven by money.

And he said he proved that by signing with the Giants when he had a chance to go elsewhere and make more.

"They definitely didn't offer me the most money," Marshall said on a conference call with the media on Wednesday. "It was probably the least money. It was all about championships, to get straight to the point. It was all about a championship. They presented the best opportunity to be in a championship organization."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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Marshall inks deal with Giants 00:04:14
SNY insider Pat Leonard breaks down what the Brandon Marshall signing means for the Giants' team chemistry.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The Giants made a much bigger splash into the free agent pool than anyone expected, landing one of the biggest receivers they've had in years.

On the eve of the opening of the free-agent signing period, the Giants signed receiver Brandon Marshall, an 11-year veteran who was released last week by the Jets. The 6-4, 230-pounder is exactly the kind of big target on the outside the Giants have so desperately needed to take some of the heat off of Odell Beckham, Jr..

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc and Pauline on Giants draft 00:03:38
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com discuss the Giants' needs in this year's NFL Draft.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com discuss the Giants' needs in this year's NFL Draft.

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 (William Hauser (USA Today))
(William Hauser (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL free agency period is about to start, and the Giants are expected to spend it sitting on the sidelines. Prices, as usual, already seem out of control and the Giants just don't have the salary cap room to spend.

That doesn't mean that nothing of interest will happen with or to the Giants when the market opens. So now that teams are legally allowed to talk, here are five things to watch in the hours before 4 p.m. Thursday when the signing period officially starts:

1. The explosion of the market for DT Johnathan Hankins. Never underestimate the crazy sizes of NFL deals, not when the market is loaded with mediocre players and teams have over $1 billion in cap room to spend. Hankins, all of 25 years old, is probably one of the three best defensive tackles on the market. And another one, Dontari Poe, is reportedly seeking $10 million per season. A month ago, an NFL agent told me Hankins wouldn't get near the five-year $46.25 million contract the Giants gave Damon Harrison last year. But I wouldn't bet against it.

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Should the Giants pursue Pryor? 00:04:06
Marc Malusis and Jon Hein discuss if the Giants should pursue wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.

The two-day legal tampering period began on Tuesday and the Giants are among the teams with interest in free agent WR Terrelle Pryoraccording to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

The Steelers, 49ers, Titans, and Eagles are also expressing interest in Pryor, according to Cabot.

Pryor, 27, caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns for the Browns last season.

He had six receptions for 131 yards on Nov. 27 when the Browns lost to the Giants...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz
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Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; The New York Giants take the field before the start of their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium.  (Ed Mulholland (USA Today))
Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; The New York Giants take the field before the start of their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland (USA Today))

The Giants emailed season ticket holders their invoices for 2017 on Tuesday and they included price increases across a large portion of the available seating options.

These increases will mark the first for non-club PSL members since MetLife Stadium opened in 2010.

The Giants summarized their season ticket plan for 2017 as such:

  1. All club prices remain the same as 2016 pricing.
  2. Field 1 pricing increases by $10. Preseason pricing remains at 50% of regular season pricing.
  3. All other non-club prices have increased by $5 for all regular season games. Preseason pricing remains at approximately 50% of the regular season price.

The average ticket increase is four percent and further specifics are expected to be released in the near future. 

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