New York Giants: 5 Bold Moves Big Blue Could Make in 2013 NFL Free Agency

Doug RushSenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2013

New York Giants: 5 Bold Moves Big Blue Could Make in 2013 NFL Free Agency

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    The Giants usually don't build their team through free agency.

    Ever since Jerry Reese took the reins as the general manager in 2007, he has built the team through the draft along with adding small pieces through free agency.

    And then you see Reese pick up undrafted free agents like Victor Cruz and watch them shine when they are given the chance.

    However, Reese could be looking to make some changes to the team that finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs.

    After winning Super Bowl XLVI in February of 2012, the Giants are sitting at home watching the NFL playoffs and were unable to defend their title this January.

    What potential free agents could the Giants look to add to make their team better for 2013?

    Here's five potential free agents who might be able to help Big Blue next season.

Andre Smith, OT, Cincinnati Bengals

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    When Andre Smith first came into the NFL, people thought he was going to be an issue.

    He had maturity problems, plus he had trouble getting into football shape when he was a rookie, but Smith seems to have matured since being drafted in 2009.

    Smith solidified himself on the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line as their starting right tackle, leading the way for RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis and protecting Andy Dalton.

    Now a free agent, Smith is one of the top offensive lineman available and could be in line for a nice long-term deal.

    The Giants could have an opening at right tackle if they decide to cut David Diehl and if Sean Locklear's broken leg doesn't heal properly.

    The 26-year-old Smith would be a solid addition to the Giants offensive line.

Michael Bennett, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    I think Michael Bennett's sibling may play a big factor in this potential signing.

    Bennett really made a name for himself in 2012 with nine sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and his older brother, Giants TE Martellus, may try to lure him to New York for 2013.

    With Osi Umenyiora's pending departure, the Giants will likely need someone to take his spot on the line.

    I think they will move Mathias Kiwanuka back to the end spot anyway, but the Giants defensive line was always at its best when they had fresh bodies to rotate in.

    Bennett would be a solid addition to a Giants defensive line that struggled in 2012.

Philip Wheeler, OLB, Oakland Raiders

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    The Giants need to get more athletic and younger at the linebacker spot.

    Many fans always wonder when the Giants will draft a top linebacker, but it always seems the team goes in a different direction, resorting to the best-player-available approach.

    They still need to focus on improving the linebacker position and one of the top names on the market will be Philip Wheeler, who was with the Oakland Raiders in 2012.

    Wheeler spent the first four years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts before being let go and signing with Oakland last season.

    The 28-year-old had 109 total tackles along with three sacks and two forced fumbles in 2012. He could be one of the more underappreciated players available.

    With Keith Rivers and Chase Blackburn both free agents, plus Michael Boley being someone who might need to restructure his deal or could be cut, Wheeler's name is one that Jerry Reese could look to add as free agent.

Sean Smith, CB, Miami Dolphins

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    One of the Giants weakest areas in 2012 was at the cornerback position.

    Both Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley are still developing. Terrell Thomas missed the entire season with a knee injury and might get moved to safety, and Corey Webster had a terrible 2012 campaign.

    Webster is in the final year of his contract, and he could be a candidate to get cut if he doesn't restructure his current deal for next year.

    But the Giants absolutely need to focus on adding depth at cornerback, and one person they could look at is Sean Smith.

    For the Miami Dolphins in 2012, Smith had 59 total tackles along with two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

    The 25-year-old could certainly add experience and play for a starting spot on the team if signed.

    Even if the team brings back Webster for one more year, a player like Smith would be a solid pickup for a position that needs depth.

Jake Long, OT, Miami Dolphins

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    I'm going to put at least one free agent on the list who will be considered a major reach.

    But why not—especially since the Giants need to rebuild their offensive line.

    The Giants starting left tackle Will Beatty is a free agent, and they have to decide if he comes back or not. If Beatty doesn't come back, the Giants will need a plan to fill the void left by his departure.

    Which is where Jake Long comes in.

    The former number one overall pick of the 2008 NFL draft could be a very expensive free agent, but I think he could benefit from a change of scenery and a fresh start.

    The Dolphins may be going with Jonathan Martin at the left tackle spot, so Long might be expendable.

    The 27-year-old Long would bring some youth and new blood to an offensive line that needs to get younger and tougher and better able to protect Eli Manning.

    Of the free agents listed, Long would be the one whom I would want most, but like I said before, he might be considered a reach given that he could get huge money this spring.