Deon Grant has played in 36 consecutive games for the Giants. His leadership, veteran savvy and instinctive play have been a welcome addition for Big Blue’s maddeningly-inconsistent secondary.
According to Ralph Vacciano of the New York Daily News, the veteran safety may be on his way out of the Big Apple. Grant told Sirius XM that the Cowboys, Lions and Giants have all expressed interest in signing him, but added that a deal is not imminent.
Bringing back Grant would provide Big Blue’s oft-maligned pass defense with a familiar, reliable presence, one that knows the ins-and-outs of Perry Fewell’s complex, DB-heavy sets.
At age 31, Grant is past his prime and it’s highly unlikely that he would demand anything more than a one-year, minimum salary deal. He’s done nothing but good for Big Blue’s secondary, helping it persevere through the sadder, more devastating stages (cough, cough, @ Green Bay. Week 16. 2010) of its development.
No brainer, right? Perhaps not.
As it stands, the safety position is well-stocked. The Giants brought in an ensemble of new faces this offseason, including two free agents (Stevie Brown, Chris Horton) and three undrafted rookies (Jojo Nicolas, Will Hill and Janzen Jackson), all of whom Fewell and Tom Coughlin have high hopes for. The bad blood between Fewell and Antrel Rolle that seems to have dissipated quite a bit—a Super Bowl championship tends to solve a lot of problems—and Kenny Phillips finally played like the rangy, ball-hawking force that everyone knew he could be when the Giants drafted him.
Plus, after mixing-and-matching with several three-safety sets last season, Fewell—armed with better depth at cornerback and linebacker—may be more inclined to use no more than two in 2012.
Now that I’ve given you a brief outline of both sides of the argument, here’s my take:
With the way quarterbacks picked apart the Giants’ secondary for large parts of last season, the minimal cap hit to bring in Grant is a small price to pay in exchange for what he provides.
Safety Depth is no longer an issue, not with the host of newcomers joining the fold this offseason. That’s all well and good. Or, at least it would be, if any of those players were reliable enough to grapple with top-flight NFL receivers, quarterbacks and some of the best offensive minds in the League.
From all that I’ve heard/read, Hill, Jackson, and Nicolas are sound, well-principled players, upper-echelon talents who can make an impact some time down the road. Emphasis on “down the road.” Brown played a minimal role in just eight games last season and Horton didn’t play at all. Tyler Sash—for all his heroic efforts on special teams—is yet to prove that he’s ready to take on a larger role.
All of which is to say, that in terms of reliable safety depth, the cupboard is pretty bare. Grant, for all of his shortcomings, can at the least be trusted to not singlehandedly lose games, to not blow a coverage on that late-game bomb to [fill-in with name of Pro-Bowl receiver]. I’m not sure that the same can be said for the names I just mentioned.
Resigning Grant is a low-risk, moderate-reward proposition. What is there to lose?