Setting Odds New York Giants Sign These 5 2013 Free Agents
Even one of the league's quietest organizations is about to make some noise.
The release of running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive tackle Chris Canty and linebacker Michael Boley suddenly has the New York Giants scampering to fill a starting lineup this offseason. Despite a few recent hushed winters, it looks like the G-Men will see ostensible turnover on their roster this time around.
Big Blue's 9-7 2012 should field considerable changes for next year, and the NFL free-agent market is rich with serviceable replacements. Let's take a look at five high-profile players who would be good fits for New York, and their chances to land with Tom Coughlin and Co.
Philip Wheeler, OLB
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After spending four quiet years with the Colts, linebacker Philip Wheeler broke out in Oakland last season to the tune of three sacks, two forced fumbles and triple-digit tackle totals. Wheeler's athleticism off the edge and nose for run defense would be welcomed with arms wide open.
New York's 31st-ranked defense is looking to get younger and faster this offseason, and Wheeler skips the presumed learning curve of a first-round 'backer from the NFL draft.
Remaining under the radar in the sleepy Raiders market, Wheeler wouldn't break the bank, and the salary-cap slashing Giants would be willing to take a risk on a front-seven playmaker to replace Boley.
Landing Wheeler, or any free agent for that matter, is far from guaranteed. But you have to like this fit on paper.
Verdict: 40 percent
Andy Levitre, G
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A touted interior lineman that excels in run blocking, Andy Levitre would be a dream come true for the Giants.
The imminent free agency of Kevin Boothe leaves the Giants with questions at left guard, and Levitre comes off a season paving the middle for Buffalo's C.J. Spiller. Without Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield, New York will look to secure a ground presence with a strong front line.
Still, Levitre is one of the most acclaimed members of the 2013 free-agent class, and will likely demand a pretty penny. If the Giants can swing him, it could be an excellent fit, but don't expect too much here.
Verdict: 15 percent
Rey Maualuga, MLB
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With a big name and notable issues off the field, Maualuga is sort of an anti-Chase Blackburn.
Yet, with the Giants' recent struggles in run defense, scrapping Blackburn for a 'backer with 122 tackles last season might make some sense.
Maualuga's been a disappointment with the Bengals and could be a steal in the middle for Big Blue. It looks like he's on his way out of Cincinnati, according to Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com, and if the Giants aren't entirely sold on Blackburn or Mark Herzlich, this move makes sense.
But general manager Jerry Reese has always been one to shy away from players with character concerns. Maualuga will have to prove something to New York.
Verdict: 15 percent
Sean Smith, CB
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Smith ranked in the top 25 for cornerback win probability in 2012, according to Advanced NFL Stats, and the Giants desperately need help in the secondary after regressions from Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara.
Smith made a name for himself in Miami last year and shows No. 1 corner potential. New York needs a physical corner to compete with Dallas' Dez Bryant, Washington's Pierre Garcon and Philly's DeSean Jackson.
Yet, according to Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports, Smith's a bit over his head in contract demands, and the Giants are still not financially secure enough to take a risk on a player with five career interceptions. One of the highest-valued free agents on the market, a signing here is unlikely at best.
Verdict: 5 percent
Jake Long, OT
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Sure, the Giants need help at defensive tackle and cornerback, but both positions field skimpy prospects this winter. If New York can't work its right tackle situation out with veteran Sean Locklear, All-Pro Jake Long would certainly be a candidate for replacement.
Long will demand serious money, but the Giants will be able to back-load the deal and continue to hack away at the cap. B/R's own Doug Rush speculated on the feasibility of the G-Men signing one of the game's premier blockers.
After spending five years with the Dolphins, perhaps Long will want to give it a shot protecting Eli Manning and working with one of the league's best offenses.
Verdict: 25 percent