NFL Free Agents Who NY Giants Should Pursue This Offseason

Ryan ClutterContributor IIIFebruary 14, 2013

NFL Free Agents Who NY Giants Should Pursue This Offseason

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    From Super Bowl Champions one year to missing the playoffs the next, the New York Giants are in store for some changes.

    They have about ten starters (22 total players) who could potentially walk via free agency, and just released three more: Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley.

    Looking at this team right now, they are trying to get under the salary cap which could prevent them from pursuing some big names on the market.

    The Giants need help in a variety of different positions and though free agency is often quiet in New York, look for them to make some moves this year.

    There’s still the possibility of re-signing some of their own free agents, but it remains uncertain who would come back at this point.

    Some of those positions will undoubtedly be addressed through the NFL Draft, but they will need to extend offers to veteran and proven free agents to help fill the holes.

    Here's some players the Giants should take a look at.

Israel Idonije

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    The Giants need someone who has a proven track record and comes cheap.

    Israel Idonije is that guy. He emerged as a valued piece of the Chicago Bears defensive line over the past few seasons and can play both defensive end or defensive tackle, two positions the Giants are looking for.

    Idonije is a nine year veteran and has been consistent his entire career. 

    He cost the Bears a $2.5 million cap hit last season, compared to recently cut DT Chris Canty who made $6 million. Signing Idonije would be a cost effective move with the chance to pay huge dividends.

    Idonije may not have the best numbers out there, but he did record 7.5 sacks last year with 48 total tackles.

    He's shown his ability to break into the backfield and put a helmet on the opposition.

    Their defensive line has had to deal with numerous injuries. He would be an intriguing option for the Giants to pursue and they would love his consistency.

Paul Kruger

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    Paul Kruger was one of the best defenders on the Baltimore Ravens last year. 

    In a contract year, he broke out with 42 tackles and nine sacks in the regular season. He added 4.5 sacks in the playoffs, including two in the Super Bowl.

    While the Ravens have plenty of personnel issues to deal with themselves, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kruger change teams.

    He is coming off a career year where he showed he could get to the quarterback in a hurry. He can stuff the run and will fill a major need for the Giants.

    Last year, he cost the Ravens a cap-hit of $865,000. While he will be looking for a raise, the Giants could have him at the right price. 

    He is only 26 years old and has played with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs the last four years. He will bring undeniable talent and the ability to teach the Giants young linebackers.

    He is another low cost option that would have the potential to be highly rewarding. He’s a perfect fit for the Giants.

    I can’t help but imagine the improvements on the linebacking corps if the Giants draft Manti Te’o for the middle and sign Kruger for the outside.

Derek Cox

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    The Giants seemed deep at the cornerback position two years ago.

    They have since lost Aaron Ross to free agency, lost Terrell Thomas to ACL injuries where he missed two full seasons (he’s re-signed for 2013) and saw Corey Webster struggle through coverage.

    Now, they need some help. Derek Cox is a premier talent—when he’s healthy.

    In 12 games last year, Cox played very well, making 60 tackles and intercepting four passes. His coverage has been inconsistent, but has gotten better throughout his career. 

    At this point, it seems like any coverage would be better than Corey Webster. 

    Cox has superstar potential if he can stay on the field and could fit in well with the Giants. He comes at a fair price (he cost the Jaguars a $1.46 million cap hit last year) and the ability to be a shutdown corner. 

    At full health, he could be in the same conversation as Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman. His potential is sky high, but his health is a concern. 

    The Giants should think long and hard about how to approach their cornerback situation. Cox should be one of those players worth thinking about.

Peyton Hillis

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    Peyton Hillis is a bruising running back who could be had at a bargain price.

    He has bounced around teams the past few years and has yet to establish himself. After scoring 11 touchdowns and rushing for 1,107 yards with Cleveland in 2010, he hasn’t exceeded 600 yards since.

    Starting at halfback is unlikely for Hillis, but he could be a great complement to David Wilson and Andre Brown. His fumbles are down and he can shed tackles like that of Brandon Jacobs

    After parting ways with Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants need some veteran presence at the running back position.

    At just 27 years old, Hillis could come in on a one year deal with a low base salary to try and get one last payday.  

    The Giants missed that bruising running back without Jacobs, and Hillis’ price could fall from his recent lack of production.

    He’s worth a look, but only at the right price.

Jake Long

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    One of the biggest priorities for the Giants is going to be reconstructing the offensive line. They are going to need to invest in a quality run blocker and someone capable of protecting Eli Manning’s blind side.

    Long, former No. 1 overall draft pick is going to be demanding a big contract. Once thought of as the best offensive tackle in football, he is coming off a year where he struggled through a variety of injuries and saw his overall production diminish. 

    Now, with the talented lineman set to hit free agency, Long has some competition in the free agency market. 

    This is just the type of deal I can see the Giants making. Invest in a lot of cheap players and then go with one guy who you know can give you what you need.

    The Giants could potentially lose the left side of their line, Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe, so adding a talent like Long will go a long way towards the reformation of the Giants offensive line.

    It will be interesting to see if the Giants front office can find some wiggle room to go after Long, but if its there, the Giants shouldn’t hesitate.

Patrick Chung

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    Patrick Chung has been a key piece of the Patriots secondary since he entered the league. 

    Marred by shoulder and hamstring injuries, his stats and overall production have been going in the wrong direction.

    Just 25 years old, if he can get his health in order and show teams he can be a force in their secondary, the Giants should be interested.

    Chung is a playmaker who has shown his ability to jump routes and intercept passes in his career.

    With the additions to the Patriots secondary, it looks like there’s no longer room for Chung.

    If Kenny Phillips signs elsewhere, expect the Giants to make a play for a safety to team up with Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Will Hill. 

    Chung, because of his injuries, may not get the payday he desired when he had 96 tackles in 2010, including nine pass deflections and three interceptions, which will benefit what the Giants are trying to do. 

    If his price is right, the Giants need to think about what Chung could offer them.

Michael Bennett

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    Michael Bennett is the brother of Giants tight end Martellus Bennett and there has been talk of them teaming up in 2013 as both are unrestricted free agents. 

    If that were to happen, it could very well be with the Giants. Martellus has said he wants to stay with New York long term.

    Michael, meanwhile, is coming off the best year of his career, one that included nine sacks and three forced fumbles.

    If Osi Umenyiora has played his last game as a Giant, then their defensive end depth is gone. Michael Bennett could come in and bring that depth right back. 

    To stay under the cap, maybe Michael and Martellus agree to less money in order to play together.

    The 27-year-old has gotten better each year and has seemed to enter his prime. The Giants need to at least entertain the option of bringing both Bennett’s aboard.