2012 NFL Offseason: Giants Trading for Keith Rivers Would Be Latest Smart Move

Aaron NaglerNFL National Lead WriterApril 11, 2012

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 28:  Keith Rivers #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the game against the Cleveland Browns on September 28, 2008 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is certainly not sitting back polishing his club's newest Lombardi trophy this offseason. 

He started by signing former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett was a necessary pickup after the team watched its top two tight ends, Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, go down to injury in the Super Bowl. 

Then, instead of overpaying to keep Aaron Ross, Reese let the former first-round pick walk in favor of re-signing Terrell Thomas, Michael Coe and Justin Tryon. 

Speaking of letting guys walk, Reese also allowed aging offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie to walk. While McKenzie had been a solid player for the Giants for seven years, including helping the team win two Super Bowls, he is certainly on his last legs.

Then, earlier today, Reese signed veteran tackle Sean Locklear. While only two years younger than McKenzie, he would be a marked improvement at right tackle if he wins the job in camp. At the very least he will improve the competition level along the offensive line. 

Also earlier today, it was reported (first by Big Blue Huddle and then confirmed by various Giants and NFL reporters) that Reese is set to trade away his team's fifth-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, No. 167 overall, for Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers.

Rivers, a former top-10 pick in the 2008 NFL draft, has battled injuries throughout his career, including 2011 when he missed the entire season due to a wrist injury.

Rivers played mostly outside for the Bengals, but could play inside for the Giants. The more likely scenario, however, would see Michael Boley kicking inside, who Reese has mentioned as a candidate to play in the middle, and Rivers playing one of the outside linebacker positions in New York. 

As for what the move will cost, the Giants will not be restructuring Rivers' deal, meaning they will pay him the $2.5 million his contract calls for in 2012. After that, Rivers is set to become a free agent, meaning he is essentially in a "show me" year. 

Overall, it's a smart, calculated risk by one of the best general managers in the NFL.