The Giants couldn't get veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to agree to a pay cut, so they officially released him on Sunday.
And now their cornerback corps suddenly looks very, very thin.
With DRC officially gone, the Giants still have veteran Janoris Jenkins and the troubled Eli Apple, but not much else at a very important position. In fact, even bringing Jenkins and Apple back as starters for next season isn't a completely comforting thought.
Remember, Jenkins, who'll be 30 in October, missed the last month of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery. And that was after he served a one-game suspension for failing to return from the bye week on time, and then getting roundly criticized for appearing to quit during a game in San Francisco the following week. The Giants were dysfunctional in the secondary last season, and Jenkins was a big part of that.
The biggest part of that, though, was Apple, who openly feuded with teammates and coaches and ended up being benched for much of the second half of the season. Famously called "a cancer" by teammate Landon Collins, he has been given "a clean slate" after meeting with new GM Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur. But Apple hasn't spoken publicly since he was suspended for the final game of the season, so it's unclear how much his attitude or issues have actually changed.
And that leaves the Giants in a precarious position. They have to trust Jenkins and Apple to rebound from awful seasons because they don't really have any other choice. They will likely make an effort to re-sign veteran Ross Cockrell to be their third corner, a team source said, but even that makes this a far-from-imposing group.
So they need help, both in the short-term and - considering they can easily get out of Jenkins' contract after this season - long-term, too. And here's a quick look at where they can get it:
Free agent CB Patrick Robinson (Eagles) - He'd actually be an ideal replacement for DRC given the similarties in age (Robinson is 30) and inside-outside flexibility. He'd probably play the slot for the Giants. The problem with him, though, is it appears multiple teams will be interested so his price might end up around $7 million per season.
Free agent CB Malcolm Butler (Patriots) - He was poised to enter free agency as one of the top corners on the market, and he might still be. But following a down season and his odd and mysterious benching in the Super Bowl, many around the league think his stock has dropped far below what he's expecting. That opens up the possibility of getting him cheap. The 28-year-old could even end up with a one-year, prove-it type of deal.
Free agent CB Morris Claiborne (Jets) - He had hoped to cash in after taking a prove-it deal from the Jets last season, and he might. But while he played 15 games last season - and mostly played well -- he did battle a foot injury through much of the second half of the season. The jury is still out on how much teams will want to invest in him given his injury history.
Alabama CB Minkah Fitzpatrick - It seems unlikely the Giants would draft him with the second overall pick, but consider this scenario: What if Saquon Barkley is taken No. 1 and the Giants don't fall in love with any of the top quarterbacks? That would make them a candidate to trade down. They wouldn't drop far, of course. They almost certainly would stay in or near the Top 5. That could put the best corner in the draft in play.