The New York Giants rarely get duped in free agency, and fans are hoping that trend continues in 2013.
There are multiple free agents slated to hit the open market this offseason, and with the G-Men needing a lot of help on defense, New York will likely be linked to most of them some way or another.
At the same time, the Giants need to take care of their own, as a number of players have expiring contracts and will be looking to cash in, whether it's in New York or not.
So what should the Giants avoid this offseason?
Let's take a look.
The G-Men have been successful in the draft in recent years—with the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Hakeem Nicks paying dividends—but New York can't expect every draft pick to pay off.
While 2013 is a deep draft class in terms of defense, the Giants can't stray away from pursuing free-agent defenders.
For the most part, rookies usually don't make an immediate impact on defense (depending on the position and skill set, of course), while there are NFL veterans out there who can make an immediate impact.
B/R NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon highlights a slew of free agents who are affordable and can fill voids in the Giants' defense in 2013, proving that there are more than enough free agents out there who can help New York make it back to the postseason.
Big Blue should be looking to add depth in the draft but should be seeking starters in free agency.
Despite being 36 and battling some injuries last season, Woodson has shown that he still has a couple of years left in the tank.
Woodson could draw some interest from the Giants, especially with CBS Sports' Larry Hartstein suggesting that the G-Men could part ways with safety Kenny Phillips.
I have no problem with New York potentially pursuing the veteran, as I've always admired the way he plays the game, but the Giants have to avoid paying too much for him.
Given his standing as one of the best corners/safeties of this generation, the odds of Woodson signing a mediocre deal aren't likely.
New York would be better-served keeping Kenny Phillips than overpaying Woodson.
The Giants would be making an immense mistake by not re-signing tight end Martellus Bennett.
Bennett had a breakout season in his first year with New York, posting 55 receptions for 626 yards and five touchdowns in his first season as a starter.
The 6'6" TE developed solid chemistry with Eli Manning and proved to be an effective blocker in the running game.
Bennett has already made it known that he's willing to take less money to stay with the Giants (via NFL.com's Kareem Copeland), but according to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, Bennett doesn't expect to be back in New York.
Larry Hartstein of CBS Sports reports that the Giants feel Adrien Robinson has made strides to replace Bennett, but I'm not buying it.
Bennett was extremely productive for the Giants last season and willing to re-sign for cheap.
What's the hold up?
Kenny Phillips played in just seven games last season because of a sprained MCL (via NBC Sports), but regardless, he's a valuable asset to New York's defense.
Phillips plays the safety position with the necessary toughness and brings a stout feel to the Giants secondary.
Prior to 2012, Phillips had missed just one game in the 2010 and 2011 seasons—a 2011 campaign that saw him set a career high in interceptions with four.
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, New York is interested in bringing Phillips back, but the safety is still likely to test the open market.
As long as Phillips isn't asking for a ridiculous amount of money, the Giants would be crazy not to bring him back to bolster their secondary for 2013.
The last thing the Giants want to do is enter the season with arguably their best receiver holding out.
Cruz's play the past two seasons undoubtedly warrants a big payday, as the 26-year-old eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in both seasons and combined for 19 touchdowns. His receiving performances the past two seasons have led the team both years.
The undrafted wideout has emerged as one of the best slot receivers in the NFL and one of the most important weapons in New York's offense, and head coach Tom Coughlin knows Cruz needs to stay with Big Blue.
Coughlin told ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk,
We want Victor Cruz to be a Giant. That is the bottom line. However, it takes two to tango. We would certainly want to do everything in our power to keep him here. Ownership has indicated that. Front office has indicated that.
Cruz was a bright spot on what was a disappointing Giants team last season, and no matter what it takes, he must remain a Giant for years to come.
New York doesn't need any distractions in 2013—in pursuit of making it to the postseason after missing out last season—and Cruz should be the No. 1 priority of the offseason.
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