5 Free Agents the New York Giants Must Target

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIJanuary 23, 2013

5 Free Agents the New York Giants Must Target

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    The only date on the football calendar that still matters is February 3, but for the New York Giants, it's March 12—the start of free agency.

    For general manager Jerry Reese, he needs to deter media and fans alike away from the questions of why Big Blue is not playing right now, and his first chance to do that will come via free agency.

    Besides 22 of their own free agents to consider, the Giants are currently $4.7 million over the salary cap, so Reese will have to exhibit great foresight and a hint of frugality when acquiring free agents.

    The following five players make the most sense for Reese to target.  

Jake Is a Long Shot

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    Jake Long is not destined for Big Blue.  

    The Miami Dolphins have declined to pay the left tackle the $10,750,000 owed to him in 2013, and are less likely to franchise-tag him for $15.3.

    Bringing in a guy like Long who commands money like that is not a feasible option for the Giants.

    A player like Sebastian Vollmer would be.

    Vollmer has been a solid four-year tackle for the New England Patriots, and has done an above average job protecting one of the league's best quarterbacks.

    Vollmer is familiar with the demands of old-school coaches and fans; he knows what it takes to get to the playoffs, and he isn't a huge risk as he hasn't made over $1 million dollars in any single season.

    His youth and experience would fit in seamlessly with the Giants offensive line.

Who Says That You Have to Draft a Linebacker?

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    The Giants' need for a linebacker is the worst-kept secret in New York, and the most argumentative subject among fans.

    There is a strong possibility that Reese lets free agent Chase Blackburn go, and signs an experienced linebacker with a higher ceiling and skill-set to take his place.

    A guy who fits that mold is Bradie James of the Houston Texans, and he needs to be a top target of the Giants.

    James is an unrestricted free agent who made $825,000 in 2012, and before his one-year stint in Houston, he spent his previous nine seasons in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys

    Reese can't afford to sit around until April's draft and hope and pray that an Alec Ogletree or a Manti Te'o falls into the Giants' lap.

    Financially, the 32-year-old James would be low-risk and high reward. 

Two Cornerbacks to Pursue

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    Cornerback is going to be a position that Reese will have a close eye on when free agency starts for two reasons.

    One is because Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara didn't play up to their contract or potential in 2012, and two is because there are several affordable and talented corners in this free agency class.

    Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Philadelphia Eagles are both players that Giants brass should have on their short list.

    Shields and Rodgers-Cromartie both have a nose for the football, are extremely fast and could be be available to the G-Men without breaking the bank.

    Rodgers-Cromartie's familiarity with the NFC East, and Shields' blinding speed are both traits that Big Blue can't teach incoming free agents, but would love to have.

Israel Be a Protege Idonije

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    Israel Idonije's nine seasons with the Chicago Bears could be up as he is an unrestricted free agent.

    Idonije still has a lot to offer for a 32-year-old defensive end, as he is durable and can still give a team half a dozen or more sacks a year.

    Why replace a 31-year-old Osi Umenyiora with Idonije?

    For one, Idonije won't cost the Giants too much, seeing that the big defensive end earned a base salary of $900,000 in 2012.

    Secondly, Idonije would have a big impact on the defensive line right away, and Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo won't have to undertake the filling of the shoes of Osi.