The New York Giants were quick to work on their defense this offseason. Jerry Reese and his staff have made some good moves to keep the possibility of winning a third Super Bowl in six seasons a possibility, but there have also been some questionable decisions along the way.
This slideshow will highlight the best and worst moves the Giants have made this offseason.
Some of the "bad" moves will be ones that the Giants could not control. Sometimes re-signing a player is not feasible.
There have been more good moves than bad, but this article will highlight an equal number for both. I would take the "best" slides as more heavily weighted than the "worst."
Some of these moves I will consider "bad" are due to limited resources. The Giants were up against the salary cap this offseason.
The Giants presumably offered Tollefson the veteran minimum, according to Paul Schwartz of The New York Post, but the long-time backup decided to move on to greener pastures.
Tollefson, known for his signature round-house kick celebration, had five sacks in 2011, a career high.
In his absence, young players like Justin Trattou, Craig Marshall or 2012 seventh-round pick Markus Kuhn will have to step up.
There might be some growing pains there, and the depth of the defensive end position has gotten a bit weaker.
As painful as it must have been, the Giants decided not to bring back free agent Kareem McKenzie. The long-time right tackle is still looking for work and will possibly consider retirement, reports Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger. According to ProFootballFocus, McKenzie ranked 63rd among tackles in pass-blocking efficiency.
In his absence there will be a battle for his right tackle spot with many considerations being made for the opening. Long-time tackle David Diehl, 2011 fourth-round pick James Brewer, 2012 fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley and newly acquired free agent Sean Locklear will all be fighting for the job.
It's anyone's guess who it will be in 2012, but it's not hard to figure they will be better than McKenzie was in 2011.
Once again this was a situation in which the Giants wanted to bring back a player but just did not have the funds to do so.
As frustratingly inconsistent as Manningham was, he was still a terrific weapon for Eli Manning. He proved how much he meant to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI when the New England Patriots made it a mission to stop Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
As you'll see in a future slide, the Giants made a great move to counter this bad one. However, for at least one year, the Giants will miss Manningham's experience and toughness.
With Brandon Jacobs having been cut after not agreeing to lower his base salary enough to warrant being a backup, the Giants needed to find someone who could compete for the backup running back job immediately.
Virginia Tech running back David Wilson was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, and the Hokie brings a lot to the table that Jacobs never did. Wilson is extremely explosive, has the capability to go the distance on any play and is underrated between the tackles.
With 290 carries, 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 for Tech, Wilson proved he can shoulder the load as an every-down back. For now, however, he'll have to settle for being Ahmad Bradshaw's backup. The two should be a formidable tandem.
I want to preface this slide by saying if the Giants kept Diehl around in a backup role or to fuel competition for the tackle positions, then I'm OK with it. However, something tells me the Giants could actually let Diehl start for one more year.
This would be a disaster. Diehl was ranked as the worst pass-blocking tackle AND guard in 2011 by ProFootballFocus.
Even if you do not buy into PFF's numbers, that's still an eye-opening statistic. The Giants need to inject some youth into the offensive line, and Diehl's presence as a starter will only stunt the growth of the talent behind him.
Not to mention he's just not the same player he once was.
Even if it was by process of elimination, I think it was a brilliant idea to give second-round pick Rueben Randle Mario Manningham's old number of 82.
The Giants actually admitted they considered taking Randle with their first pick, so when he dropped all the way to No. 63 there were no doubts.
Randle will join the fight for the No. 3 wide receiver duties with Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan. Even though the others have more experience in the offense, the fact that the Giants coaches and front-office people are throwing the term "NFL-ready" around when describing Randle makes me believe he'll have a huge impact his rookie season.
Though Randle only caught 53 passes for 917 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011, he played on a run-first offense with a couple of questionable quarterbacks. He showed flashes of big-play potential in his career at LSU.
Though there is still a possibility the Giants could bring back the 12-year vet, it remains unlikely Deon Grant will suit up for Big Blue in 2012.
The Giants signed two safeties in Chris Horton and Stevie Brown this offseason, and brought in former Tennessee standout Janzen Jackson as an undrafted free agent.
It would seem the Giants are preparing for life without Grant.
This could have a devastating impact on both the field and inside the locker room. Grant was a terrific leader and was all over the field for defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
Tyler Sash will have to step up in Grant's absence. The young second-year player from Iowa has some big shoes to fill.
When the Giants traded for Keith Rivers, I thought "finally, a playmaking outside linebacker." Unfortunately, that comes with a caveat, as Rivers has a history of injuries that leave questions surrounding him.
If the former No. 9 overall pick in the 2008 draft plays like he did in 2009 for the Bengals, the Giants may have stolen one of the better 4-3 defenders in the game for just a fifth-round pick.
The good news for the Giants is the injuries do not appear to be lingering issues. He had his jaw broken by Hines Ward in his rookie season and missed the entire 2011 season after having wrist surgery.
The Bengals placed Rivers on the non-football injured reserve, rather than the physically-unable-to-perform list (which caused Rivers to file a grievance against the Bengals).
Had Rivers been placed on the PUP list, he might have been able to play last season.
Although the Giants are quite obviously a better team with Osi Umenyiora on the field, Jerry Reese missed a golden opportunity to get value for him. The Giants have been trying for several years now to come to an agreement with Osi on a contract extension.
The fact that they have yet to successfully negotiate a deal should tell Reese that it is a lost cause. He should have lessened the inevitable blow and traded Osi for draft picks, rather than wait for him to leave at the end of next season.
In the meantime, the Giants could have moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to his original position of defensive end, drafted and developed a pass-rusher this season and been just as dominant along the defensive line in the future.
Though the former Texas A&M Aggie has not caught a touchdown since 2008, Martellus Bennett offers the Giants a ton of upside in the receiving game. When Jake Ballard tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, it became clear the Giants needed to bring someone in to mitigate that loss.
Bennett's addition is an immediate improvement of the blocking from the position. He is one of the better tight end blockers in the league and will help the league's worst run offense from a season ago.
At 6'7'', Bennett will give Eli another prominent target in the red zone. The Dallas Cowboys used Bennett in a backup role, but as a starter this could be his time to shine.
Hopefully a change of scenery will erase the "diva" reputation he has developed in Dallas. Given that the Giants only gave him a one-year deal, this was a very low-risk, high-reward move.