The Giants have not made a splash in the free agent market as of yet (and probably won't) nor have they made any blockbuster trades to change the face and fate of their franchise. What they have done, however, is restructure contracts of some key veterans while giving some others their walking papers, keep DE Jason Pierre-Paul from becoming a free agent and re-sign a handful of their own UFAs.
Just because GM Jerry Reese has focused on upgrading the middle and back end of his roster, some critics are calling them "losers" this year in free agency. That remains to be seen. They spent quite a bit of money on free agents last March and were considered "winners". They finished with their worst record in a decade.
Q: What is your take on what the Giants have done so far in free agency? JF: I'm not doing cartwheels down 6th Avenue over these transactions, but they had some needs and JR went out and covered most of them. They needed depth and diversity at RB and I think they got that with Shane Vereen. He's a winning player that brings another dimension to the offense along with key intangibles. They needed to get deeper on special teams and LB and Jonathan Casillas and JT Thomas will help towards that. Of course the signing of KR/PR Dwayne Harris serves a duel purpose - giving the Giants a quality return man while taking a key player away from Dallas. OL Marshall Newhouse is an upgrade over the other backup lineman the Giants have had the past few seasons. So, overall, I believe these moves make the Giants a better team. Not sexy, but an efficient use of cap space. Five guys that will make the roster, as well as make it better and deeper.
Q: What is the plan at safety now that Antrel Rolle has moved on? JF: They chose not to continue on with Rolle, not because they didn't want him back, but because they didn't want to give him more than a two-year deal. He got three years from Chicago and the Giants chose not to match. They will miss him for sure, but as part of their new "young and cheap" philosophy, they didn't want to be paying Rolle past his prime. If you believe they will go into 2015 with Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor and Thomas Gordon as their safeties, think again. I see them re-signing Stevie Brown and possibly another veteran. They also can spend an early round pick on a safety. For some reason, I have this crazy notion that they might draft Washington OLB Shaq Thompson and make him a box safety. The kid is a great prospect.?
Yesterday, they re-signed two of their own UFAs (FB Henry Hynoski, LB Mark Herzlich) and now have 77 players under contract. Their estimated Top 51 cap space is $9.142 million.
So, you may ask, are they done adding players until the draft??The answer is no, but don't expect any signings worthy of breaking news.
[sny-box]RB Shane Vereen (NE) signed a 3 year / $12,350,000 contract which includes a $3,500,000 signing bonus, $4,750,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $4,116,667.
LB Jonathan Casillas (NE) signed a 3 year / $10,500,000 contract at an annual average salary of $3,500,000.
It has been rumored that Big Blue is interested in Eagles' DE Brandon Graham to replace Mathias Kiwanuka. From Rotoworld:
Best suited to a 4-3 defense, Graham would be an excellent fit in New York, rushing off the edge opposite Jason Pierre-Paul. He'd be a significant upgrade on outgoing Mathias Kiwanuka. Graham's market has been quiet for most of the weekend, which perhaps suggests he's going to come at a bargain price.Graham was never really a fit in Philly and also did not make the most of his opportunities when they came, only recording 14 sacks over the past three seasons. He is a fit for the Giants' situational DE role and could be a real asset if used properly.
The free agent buzz surrounding the Giants has been a low one thus far, with only a few names leaking out. The Giants are rumored to have interest in Kansas City safety Ron Parker and DT Dan Williams of the Cardinals.
Both players are in the Giants' wheelhouse for need, age (27) and upside. And both appear to be affordable. From Rotoworld:
The Giants, currently estimated to be about $13 million under the salary cap, are also expected to rework the contracts of players coming off injuries such as linebacker Jon Beason, wide receiver Victor Cruz and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz to give themselves more flexibility in the free agent market. It remains to be seen how much they are willing to spend to keep free agents on the team, starting with defensive back Antrel Rolle.
Ah, yes, they will spend more wisely this season. No one to a man was critical of last year's free agent signings, but rather the results of those signings, in which the Giants hope to reap dividends going forward.
For the majority of this offseason, bringing back S Antrel Rolle was viewed a given. Signing a new contract with the Giants was simply a foregone conclusion. Not so fast.
Jerry Reese has stated the Giants may not be as aggressive as they were last March in free agency, but also said he would explore every avenue to improve the roster. With yesterday's rumors regarding the Giants' sudden interest in ?Ndamakong Suh circulating throughout the internet, it's very possible that Reese is ready to let some more veterans go in order to do some serious bidding.
Last year, the Giants were mandated by management to upgrade the offense. They went headlong into free agency by signing veteran OL Geoff Schwartz and RB Rashad Jennings. Both players had their debut seasons with the Giants cut short and hampered by injuries. The club is still high on both players and expect them to produce as advertised this season.
Tags: 2015 New York Giants, 2015 NFL Free Agency, Eli Manning, giants, Jerry Reese, Ndamakong Suh, New York Giants, NFL Offseason, Rashad Jennings
The franchise tag for defensive ends will be $14.813 million (Vacchiano, March 2).
Other teams can make offers to Pierre-Paul between now and April 24.
The Lions' Reggie Bush, Green Bay's AJ Hawk and WR/KR Jacoby Jones of the Ravens are now all free agents who are free to sign with any team. So... are the Giants interested?
I say yes to Jones, maybe to Bush and no to Hawk. All three players are either over 30 or will be by the time the season starts. The Giants are focused on bringing in younger players with more upside going forward. But...
Other free agents the Giants are expected to attempt to re-sign are S Antrel Rolle, CB Walter Thurmond, FB Henry Hynoski, LB Jacquian Williams and S Stevie Brown.
Some other housekeeping items on the to-do list are tendering TE Larry Donnell and CB Chandler Fenner, who are both exclusive rights free agents this spring.
Unfortunately, Schwartz played just one game, Jennings missed five and started in only nine. DRC battled through several ailments to have a solid season, but overall the team's 2014 UFA crop was a bust.
This year, the Giants figure to be less aggressive in free agency, still having not realized last year's gains as of yet. As per the team's CEO, John Mara, the priority will be retaining some of their own free agents, most notably DE Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Antrel Rolle.
The increase of the salary cap from $123 million to $133 million this year has made it easier for teams to release themselves from some bloated contracts, and the Giants are no different. Baas' hit raises the Giants' dead money figure to $9,228,141 for 2014. Two other major hits in that figure come from the release of CB Corey Webster ($1.25m) and the decision not to bring back TE Brandon Myers ($1.125m).
It's clear very few people in this business, or any other, understand what "dead money" is and how it is applied in the NFL 's salary cap system. I found that the guys over at SteelersDepot.com explained it best (READ).
WFAN's Paul Dottino believes the Giants will strike quickly and sign two free agents on offense.
S Ryan Mundy - The Giants brought Mundy in last year on a one-year deal in hopes that he could bring some physicality to their secondary. Depending on who you ask, Mundy did just that. He's not starting material, but he's certainly good enough to add back to the roster as depth. He had 77 total tackles with a sack and an INT. I can see him back in camp this summer on another veteran minimum (or close to it) deal - especially if Will Hill is in jeopardy of missing time again.
S Stevie Brown - The lost season due to the torn knee ligaments will hurt his market value. So will his public statements that he wishes to return to the Giants. Depending on how his physical and workouts go, the Giants will look to bring Brown back at a reasonable rate.
Q.? When does the 2014 free agency signing period begin?
?A.? At 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11.?
From Rotoworld, via ESPN: "Mack, 28, will likely be the Browns' top priority and could be franchise-tagged, but CEO Joe Banner may not believe in doling out that kind of cash to a center. Mack is going to be a hot commodity on the open market and is easily the top center available in free agency -- he graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 1 center in 2013. He'll probably aim for a deal similar to the one Ryan Kalil signed with the Panthers at six years and $49.1 million with $19 million guaranteed. Mack has previously said he'll give the Browns a chance to match any offer, though that was before the coaching staff was fired after one season."
Let's preface this by saying it only holds water if the Giants are finished with Davis Baas as their starting center. And even if they are, their choices are limited. Mack won't last a week on the street. Half the league will be gunning for this guy. If the Giants want Mack, they'd have to strike quick.
It took nearly three months, but it's looking like former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw finally found a new backfield to star in.
NFL.com reporter Kimberly Jones cites a source close to negotiations as saying it "looks like the Colts and Bradshaw are going to get a contract done," quite the steal considering he is only 27 years-old, and is coming off a 1,000-yard season for the G-Men.
After midnight tonight, Cruz' options narrow greatly. His rights will revert to the Giants. He can accept the tender price ($2.879 million) offered to him by the Giants and report to the facility, or continue to stay away while his representatives attempt to secure a long term deal. He can also sign his tender, report and continue to negotiate with the Giants.
QB Eli Manning was asked if he was going to try and pry Cruz at some point to come in and participate.
Giants' UFAs still unsigned: K Lawrence Tynes, WR Ramses Barden. DL Rocky Bernard, TE Travis Beckum, CB Bruce Johnson, OL Sean Locklear, DB Justin Tryon
Fennelly: I don't expect to see any of these players in a Giant uniform ever again. They have a ton of DLs now and on the OL, they believe they have enough going into the draft after re-signing Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe. The only player we may see back is Tynes, but that would be only if the Josh Brown/David Buehler competition went completely awry.
The official explanation from the league is as follows:
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better?compensatory free agents?than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive?compensatory draft picks.
From Rotoworld: Along with LT Will Beatty, Boothe is the second in-house lineman the Giants have re-signed this offseason. The G-Men could return their entire offensive line for 2013 depending on what they do with RT David Diehl. Boothe underwhelmed as a pass blocker last season, but was sturdy in the run game and wasn't penalized. Boothe will turn 30 in July.
Keep in mind, the Giants have targeting players they can sign at the league minimum for one season at positions where they recently lost veterans. The only exception being DT Cullen Jenkins, who signed a three-year deal.
Jenkins replaces Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard. Canty signed his own three-year deal with Baltimore and Bernard is not expected back.
Osi expressed his desire to play for the Falcons on the Jamie and Jerome Show on 92.9 The Game on Friday. Co-Hosts Jamie Dukes and former Falcons Chuck Smith, who was subbing for Jerome Jurenovich, interviewed Umenyiora:It would be a fresh start for the 31-year-old pass specialist. The Falcons appear interested, but the price would have to right. Osi is said to be seeking in the upwards of $5 million per season. He might have wait and see how the free agent DE market shakes out first for Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney and John Abraham before he learns his true market value.
?New York fans definitely expect a lot out of you because of their history,? Umenyiora said. ?There was nothing better than to be able to win there. The only thing I can think of that would be better than being able to win in New York would be to be able to win here in Atlanta. We?ll see how that plays out. Hopefully, it works out in a positive direction.?
Free agents acquired by the GiantsDT Cullen Jenkins 3/10/2013: Signed a three-year, $8 million contract. The deal contains $3 million guaranteed, including a $2 million signing bonus. 2013: $1.1 million, 2014: $2.45 million, 2015: $2.2 million. Basically traded him for Chris Canty, who got a similar deal from Baltimore. Not a bad player, but not the run-stuffer they need.?
From ESPN Chicago:
Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune that he originally sought a two-year deal worth $11.5 million with hopes that it would lead to negotiations.?But the Bears' only offer to the star linebacker was a one-year contract worth $2 million, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Tags: 2013 New York Giants, Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, NFL Free Agency, Editorial Aside
As per Rotoworld....Ahmad Bradshaw (foot surgeries) has shed his walking boot, but is waiting until he's close to full health to begin making visits.Speaking in a Wednesday radio interview, Bradshaw also said "there's a chance" he re-signs with the Giants, and that the Jets have expressed interest. He's holding out hope of signing as a No. 1 running back. In addition to the Jets, Bradshaw has also drawn interest from the Steelers and Packers.
Former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora has been rumored to be on the Miami Dolphins' radar. Apparently the Atlanta Falcons are interested as well.
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.
From Rotoworld: They're the first teams Bradshaw has been linked to since being released by the Giants last month. Bradshaw (foot surgeries) was cleared to begin visiting teams two weeks ago. Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh could use a jolt of talent in the running game, and Bradshaw ? despite his injury history ? is easily the top remaining free-agent back. He could soon start lining up visits.
He comes to the Giants as less than a complete player, however. The caveat emptor with Myers is that he is a poor run blocker.
Our man Jimmy Kempski turned over the rock on Myers this morning, dispelling the notion that Myers' run blocking is not as bad as the statistics show......but still needs work:
The Giants have now signed seven veterans from other teams this March: the above three, DT Cullen Jenkins (3 years, $8 mil), K Josh Brown, CB Aaron Ross and S Ryan Mundy. The last three all were signed to one-year deals.
In February, they signed K David Bueller to a one-year contract.
Osi has claimed he will be the Defensive Player of the Year this season. That's not going to be easy to do from his couch. It was rumored the Falcons were "keenly interested" in Osi, but that was before free agency began. Umenyiora's name has not been mentioned to be on anyone's radar since free agency opened on Tuesday afternoon. Could he eventually end up back here? Certainly, but it will have to be a very team-friendly deal.
Boothe is on the Giants' shopping list, but his price is probably still too high. Jason LaCanfora reported yesterday the Giants were one of four teams vying for Boothe's services. The Cardinals, Panthers and Jets were also looking at him, but the Jets signed Willie Colon yesterday, so they may have cooled.
This of course means the Giants are through with fan favorite Chase Blackburn, who is also a UFA this offseason.
From Rotoworld:?Connor was a marked man in free agency, drawing visits with the Steelers, Raiders, and Giants. Connor was miscast for the Cowboys' 3-4 defense last season, but he'll return to a 4-3 with the Giants. He and Mark Herzlich will likely battle for middle linebacker duties, perhaps with a rookie from April's draft.
From PFT: A fourth-round pick in 2009, Murphy spent three years with the Raiders before being traded to the Panthers. He showed promise as a rookie, and he actually improved his production in his second season. But Murphy became largely forgotten in 2011.
They have no cap room to sign a big time FA. They don't even have the cap space to sign a middle-of-the-road FA.
Sorry to bust everyone's bubble, but all of these bloggers putting out pieces about the Giants signing Karlos Dansby or any other FA that is demanding big bucks, are simply pipe dreaming. It ain't happening....
Let's take a quick look at the current needs on the offensive side of the ball and who on the roster may be stepping into key starting roles this fall.
Openings: LG, RT, TE, RB, Backup QB
?Anytime you step on the field you have something to prove ? me, more so,? Rivers said. ?Obviously, I have to prove I can stay healthy. I haven?t necessarily been able to be trusted to stay healthy. Hopefully, taking a big rest this offseason will help me do that.?Rivers has yet to play a full 16-game schedule yet. He missed five contests in his first year in New York due to a slow-healing hamstring injury after missing all of 2011 following wrist surgery. The Giants acquired Rivers following 2011 via a trade with Cincinnati.
Playing in 13 games in 2009 with the Bengals, Rivers recorded 46 tackles, a sack and an interception. He pretty much duplicated those numbers a year later in the same playing time.
Tags: Keith Rivers, New York Giants, NFL Free Agency, NYG
Our man Jimmy Kempski did some recon on the mysterious Mr. Mundy and came up with the same conclusion we did yesterday: is this this guy even going to make the roster...? From Jimmy....
Murphy has always been fast (he was drafted by Oakland, who used to draft players solely based on 40 times, it seemed) but he hasn't taken full advantage of his opportunities in the NFL. After his promising start with the Raiders (75 catches for 1,130 yards and 6 TDs in his first 2 seasons), he leveled out and was traded to Carolina, where he caught only 25 passes for 336 yards and 1 TD last year.
Keller is currently testing the market, meeting with the Dolphins this week and leaving Miami without a deal. His asking price was apparently too high.
The recent rash of TE free agent signings have Keller seeing dollar signs. The Giants' own Martellus Bennett garnered a four-year, $20 million deal from Chicago. Other mildly distinguished TEs scored big money as well. From PFT:
Tags: Dustin Keller, New York Giants, New York Giants News, New York Jets, NFL Free Agency, Editorial Aside
Phillips, who played all five years with the Giants after being drafted in the first round in '08, was not expected to be brought back to New York.
In his career, Phillips notched eight interceptions while making over 200 total tackles.
From Rotoworld: The ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Rivers has been a borderline-complete bust in the pros. Turning 27 in May, Rivers made six starts last season and racked up six special teams tackles. He'll battle for a roster spot in camp.
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.
The Giants hosted Jasper Brinkley, but he left to go visit the Cardinals. I can?t say that I know anything about Brinkley?s game, but the overwhelming theme in reading up on him quickly is that he wouldn?t be much of an upgrade over Chase Blackburn, a player who shouldn?t have been starting in the NFL in the first place.