Terrell Thomas Injury: First Risk of New York Giants' Offseason Fails to Pay off

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Terrell Thomas #24 of the New York Giants fires up the crowd against the Washington Redskins on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Giants knew the risk they were taking when they re-signed Terrell Thomas and let Aaron Ross walk as a free agent earlier in the offseason. 

Now, with hindsight, it looks as though that was a bad tactic.

Thomas has injured his ACL for the third time in his football life, according to Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger, putting his season—and possibly his career—in jeopardy. 

If indeed they lose Thomas for the second consecutive season, the Giants will wish they had outbid the Jacksonville Jaguars for the veteran Ross, who signed a three-year, $15.3 million deal with the Jags in March.

That's probably too much money for a guy like Ross, who was mediocre in relief of Thomas last year and had been a backup for the most part since 2008, but now New York is probably going to be desperate for help.

There were lapses in coverage, but Ross also made some stellar plays and had four interceptions. The Giants have a lot of corners on the roster, but it's clearly a quantity-over-quality situation. There's no evidence that 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara is ready to raise his game to a Thomas/Ross level, and rookie Jayron Hosley might need time. 

I'd say that they should consider any veterans lingering on the leftover free-agent market, but they already have a trio of similarly skilled players in Michael Coe, Justin Tryon and Antwaun Molden. 

Sheer odds say someone should be capable of stepping up, but then your depth still takes a hit at a position where depth is particularly crucial. 

Plus—and I know I'm a broken record on this point, but it bears repeating at a time like this—the Giants can't just hope to be as good as they were last year in each spot. Yes, they won the Super Bowl in 2011, but they won't come close to successfully defending that title without actually getting better all over.

So while re-adding Deon Grant and using Antrel Rolle in nickel coverage is a feasible band-aid solution, and while there's a chance someone emerges from the bullpen to fill the Thomas/Ross gap, it's hard to envision this already shabby secondary being any better in 2012.

The Giants have overcome a lot in recent years, and they probably can get past a long-term injury to Thomas, but this could be a significant blow to their chances. If someone doesn't step up to complement Corey Webster in a big way, I can't see Big Blue's offense and pass rush successfully compensating for what might be the worst defensive backfield in the NFC East.