NFL Free Agency 2012: 6 Players New York Giants Should Target

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2012

NFL Free Agency 2012: 6 Players New York Giants Should Target

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    Free agency is more important than the NFL draft.

    It makes more sense to spend money on proven NFL players than university heroes, and there are plenty of big names in 2012 free agency.

    The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants have a plethora of free agent players who will hit the market this offseason. New York will be looking to reinforce its championship squad, seeking help at various positions on both sides of the ball.

    Here are six players the Giants should target in 2012 free agency.

Jermichael Finley, TE

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    Jermichael Finley is the top free agent tight end on the market. And given the recent reports that Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum will begin the 2012 season on the PUP list, the New York Giants should look to target Finley.

    Finley shined brightest in 2011, his fourth season, playing in all 16 games and grabbing 55 receptions for 767 yards and eight touchdowns, which would be an upgrade from any tight end the Giants currently possess.

    Ballard, Beckum and Bear Pascoe combined for just 55 receptions, 833 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.

    Finley had the best 2011 campaign among fellow free agent tight ends Fred Davis and John Carlson.

    Look for the G-Men to go hard for Finley this offseason.

Stephen Tulloch, LB

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    Stephen Tulloch is a solid run stopper and plays the pass well. He's one of the league's best tacklers, as he finished in the top 17 in tackles, with 111 in 2011.

    Along with his tackling ability, Tulloch added three sacks and two interceptions to a solid 2011 campaign.

    The 27-year-old could come to New York and help the Giants immediately, as Big Blue sported four rookie linebackers this season, and saw Jonathan Goff and Clint Sintim miss the entire season.

    Tulloch is coming off of his third consecutive season in which he recorded more than 100 tackles, and he could immediately help bolster the Giants' defense.

Carl Nicks, G

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    The New York Giants need help on the offensive line, and Carl Nicks is the answer.

    After protecting Drew Brees for the past few seasons, the Pro Bowler Nicks will hit the free agent market, as reported by NBC's Gregg Rosenthal.

    He's regarded as one of the best guards in football, a position the Giants need to improve. New York's running game suffered in 2011, ranking dead last in the NFL at 89.2 yards per game. 

    Late in the season, the Giants moved guard David Diehl to the left tackle position, which would leave a wide open spot for Nicks to come in and play guard on the Giants' offensive line.

Terrell Thomas, DB

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    Terrell Thomas will be coming off of an ACL injury that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season.

    But Thomas' body of work before his injury is evidence that he is a solid corner, as he led the Giants in tackles and interceptions before his injury.

    In 2009 and 2010, Thomas had back-to-back seasons of 85-plus tackles, one sack and five interceptions, including more than 100 tackles in 2010.

    Aaron Ross will hit the free agent market this offseason, and Thomas is a guy who would be an upgrade over Ross, who has never recorded more than 60 tackles or four interceptions in five seasons with the G-Men.

Steve Smith, WR

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    Super Bowl winners who enter free agency the following season usually cash in on the free agent market. That said, it's likely that Mario Manningham will take more money to play elsewhere, leaving the Giants with an open wide receiver position.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, ex-Giant Steve Smith would be open to a reunion in New York. His one-year stop in Philadelphia was a bust, as he had just 11 catches in nine games for the Eagles.

    Smith was a favorite target of Eli Manning, especially in 2009, when he recorded a career-high 107 receptions and seven touchdowns.

    Bringing Smith back to New York seems like the right move, as he knows the system and has proved to be a viable slot receiver.

Michael Bush, RB

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    Michael Bush is one of the best backups in the NFL.

    Filling in for Darren McFadden for most of the 2011 season, Bush gained 977 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He's also a usable running back in the passing game, as he caught 37 passes out of the backfield for 418 yards and a touchdown.

    While Brandon Jacobs has expressed interest in keeping this Giants' squad together, it's unclear whether New York's front office feels the same way.

    Adding Bush would bolster the Giants' rushing attack, along with Ahmad Bradshaw and Da'Rel Scott.