The Giants, like the Redskins and Cowboys, didn’t have much room to work with under the salary cap, so they were limited in what they could do in free agency, but here’s a roundup of the roster moves they made, with analysis.
• The Giants were able to get a deal done with LT Will Beatty before he hit free agency. 5 year, $38.75 million, $19 million guaranteed. The Giants had to get this done, and they did. That was their #1 priority of the offseason, and they were able to retain Beatty before he could hit the market (although the market for OTs turned out to be less lucrative than normal). Still, good work.
• The Giants cut Chris Canty. Not much of a surprise there. Canty was a nice player during the Giants’ SB run, but was way overpaid. He eventually signed with the Ravens.
• Corey Webster took a pay cut. Good job by the Giants there. Staying with corners, the Giants signed Aaron Ross. This is a move I like for them. 1 year, $715K. Ross knows the defense, obviously, and played well his last year in NJ. Decent depth (better than Justin Tryon, anyway) at the veteran minimum? Yes, please.
• The Giants restructured C David Baas’ contract. Baas has been one of those “just a guy” kind of players in his 2-year tenure with the Giants. He turns 32 in September, and the team is pretty much married to him through 2014 because of the amount of dead money they’ll incur if they cut him:
• The Giants signed Cullen Jenkins. I believe I’m in the minority on this, but Jenkins isn’t a great signing, in my opinion. The Giants’ run defense was atrocious at crucial times during the season last year. While I like Jenkins as a pass rushing role player, he will not help much against the run. I got into a lot more detail on Jenkins and the Giants’ run D a couple weeks ago. The move is fine if the Giants have plans on acquiring another DT who can contribute against the run, because I’m not so sure anyone can trust Shaun Rogers to stay on the field, or Marvin Austin… at all.
• The Giants tendered Victor Cruz at the first round level. No surprise there. Several teams were rumored and/or speculated to have interest in signing Cruz to an offer sheet, and potentially forfeiting their 1st round pick to do so. Those teams included 49ers, Patriots, Vikings, and Rams. It doesn’t appear that any of those teams ever had any serious interest in considering that move, and it was somewhat surprising how little teams around the league valued WRs who do a significant amount of damage from the slot (Wes Welker, Anquan Boldin, etc).
• The Bears overpaid Martellus Bennett, but the Giants were able to sign Raiders TE Brandon Myers. Upgrade. Here are my thoughts of Myers in general, and here is a more detailed look at Myers’ deficiencies in his run blocking. Myers is far from a perfect player. He’s not fast, and he’s a below average blocker. But he’ll always be where he needs to be, and he won’t drop many passes. He is a perfect compliment to Eli Manning and the Giants’ WRs. On a side note, here’s Bennett rambling nonsensically on NFL Network, in case you missed it.
• The Giants signed kicker Josh Brown, ending Lawrence Tynes’ run with the Giants. He got two rings out of it, so good for him. Don’t be surprised if the Giants continue to address the kicker position in the draft. The guy that I would keep an eye on is Caleb Sturgis of Florida, who was absolutely murdering the ball at the East-West Shrine Game practices.
• Kenny Phillips signed with the Eagles for very little money. Clearly, the Giants’ doctors don’t think his knee is OK.
• On the LB front, Jasper Brinkley visited NJ, but eventually signed with the Cardinals. Instead, they signed Dan Connor, who the Cowboys recently cut. Connor was a disappointment in Dallas. Teams will target him in the passing game, but at least he’ll be better against the run than Chase Blackburn was. They also signed Keith Rivers. Rivers can’t stay on the field, but at $715K, I’m not going to kill the Giants for bringing him back.
• The Giants signed Ryan Mundy for the veteran minimum. I did a lot of work on a guy that will be competing just to make the roster.
• On the offensive side of the ball, WR Louis Murphy is now a Giant. I can understand that to some degree. Murphy has good speed, so there’s logic in bringing in a guy that can stretch the field so that Brandon Myers and Victor Cruz can work the underneath stuff. The problem is that if I’m an opposing defense, I’m happy to let the Giants try to throw down the field to a receiver that I just don’t think is very good, instead of one of the other excellent options. In other words, I’m not sure he accomplishes the desired result of stretching the field and making it easier on Cruz and Myers. Personally, I’ll take Domenik Hixon over Louis Murphy any day.
• Has Osi Umenyiora even visited anyone yet? For years, Umenyiora overvalued himself, whining about his contract, holding out, and being an annoying distraction. My guess would be that he’s still overvaluing himself. That’s the only explanation I have for a guy that makes so many plays to be getting this little attention.
Overview: The Giants absolutely, positively had to retain Will Beatty, and they did. They made some other moves I absolutely loved (letting Martellus Bennett walk and signing Brandon Myers). Otherwise, they did a lot of shopping at the dollar store, because frankly, that’s all they could afford. While I could nitpick a move here or there, they were able to bring in those additional guys at a low cost, so no harm done. Overall, a nice job by the Giants for what they had to work with, or more accurately, the position they put themselves in.