New York Giants: 5 Potential Free Agents Who May Not Be Back in 2012

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IFebruary 7, 2012

New York Giants: 5 Potential Free Agents Who May Not Be Back in 2012

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    It's been 24 hours since the New York Giants shocked the world again by becoming Super Bowl Champions.

    The Giants went to Indianapolis and knocked off the New England Patriots 21-17, winning their second championship in four years.

    The victory parade is now set for Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. in the "Canyon of Heroes" in New York City.

    The parade will be one of the last times that the 2011 roster will be together as a group, because once the free agency period begins, the Giants have a few players that Jerry Reese needs to make a decision on.

    There's a good chance that once the offseason begins for the NFL, some of the current Giants may not be coming back in 2012.

    What five players could potentially be finding new homes not in New York next season?

Kareem McKenzie

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    The Giants at times struggled with the offensive line, but by the end of the season, they finished strong and protected Eli Manning.

    Two of the five members of the 2007 Super Bowl offensive line have already departed in Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara, and it's possible that another one could be looking for work.

    Kareem McKenzie has been with the Giants since 2005 and has done a good job at right tackle. He'll also be 33 by the time the 2012 season starts.

    Jerry Reese could decide to draft a tackle in April's NFL Draft and go a little younger on the line and let McKenzie walk.

Aaron Ross

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    During the 2011 season, the Giants secondary was a huge weakness, but they, too, stepped up their game by the time they got to Indianapolis.

    Corey Webster is their most consistent corner and Prince Amukamara will get a chance to play an entire season after missing the first two months with a broken foot.

    The Giants were without Terrell Thomas for the entire season, who tore his ACL in the pre-season against the Chicago Bears. Thomas was viewed as the Giants best corner and, while he is a free agent, will likely be brought back.

    That leaves the former first-round pick from 2007 in Aaron Ross, who has battled numerous injuries in his time with New York, along with struggling on the field.

    Ross had to become a starter again when Thomas went down for the season and when Amukamara was out, but if they do bring Thomas back, the Giants might not have room for Ross.

    Don't be surprised if Ross is elsewhere in 2012.

Rocky Bernard

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    The defensive ends always get the talk when it comes to the front four. The tackles usually get overlooked, mostly because they are more key parts to stopping the run.

    In the middle, they have Chris Canty and Linval Joseph, who became the regular starters during the season. They also used Justin Tuck in the middle at times when they have Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka or Osi Umenyiora on the field.

    The Giants also have Marvin Austin in waiting, who never got to play because he was on injured reserve for the entire 2011 season. Austin is viewed as a potential starter with a lot of talent.

    That leaves veteran Rocky Bernard, who originally came to the Giants as a free agent in 2009 and was actually released in July of 2011, but was quickly brought back in August.

    Bernard was a regular part of the Giants rotation of defensive lineman, but with Austin coming back for 2012, Bernard could be the odd man out of the tackle rotation.

Jonathan Goff

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    Linebacker was an issue for the Giants in 2011.

    Not the level of play, but the health of players. They couldn't stay healthy.

    It got so bad that the Giants had to call Chase Blackburn away from becoming a teacher to return to the Giants.

    Blackburn's huge interception off Tom Brady and snagging away a pass from Rob Gronkowski was one of the biggest plays of Super Bowl XLVI,

    And because of his play in the game, to go along with how well he played down the stretch, Blackburn earned back his roster spot for 2012, at least that's what I'm thinking.

    Jonathan Goff was one of the many players who missed the entire season for the Giants in 2011, as he tore his ACL during the preseason.

    While Goff was out, the Giants used two rookies in Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones as starting linebackers during the season, and both were able to make contributions.

    It wouldn't shock me if Goff didn't get brought back in 2012. But I doubt he would have trouble finding work elsewhere if he is healthy.

Mario Manningham

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    This one might be a tough one for Giants fans to handle because of what happened on Sunday night.

    Mario Manningham's 38-yard catch on the sideline got the Giants going late in the fourth quarter, and many Giants fans will always remember the play.

    Manningham may now take the great game and the highlight-reel catch into free agency with momentum and cash in.

    On the Giants, Manningham is the No. 3 receiver behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

    If Manningham were to take less money, I could see him back on the Giants.

    But let's face it, there are a ton of teams out there who need help at wide receiver and will give Manningham top-receiver money to jump ship.

    Is Manningham worth top-receiver money? No. He's a No. 3 receiver at best, which is what he played like in 2011 with 39 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns.

    If the Giants have a chance to bring Steve Smith back, who according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, said back in late November that Smith is very much open to returning to the Giants, especially after how disappointing his season was with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    If Smith is genuine in returning, Manningham is playing elsewhere in 2012 because, when you really look at it, Smith would cost the Giants less money and he was always a favorite target for Eli Manning to throw to.