Plight of Brandon Jacobs and Others a Good Omen Regarding Giants' 2013 Losses

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 9, 2013

August 10, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs (45) carries the ball during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I was reading earlier Tuesday morning about Brandon Jacobs' desperate attempt to catch the New York Giants' attention and it occurred to me this is a team that certainly doesn't miss any of its offseason departures from 2012.

Giants fans have every right to be insecure about losing Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, Chris Canty, Martellus Bennett, Kenny Phillips, Osi Umenyiora and Chase Blackburn this offseason, but if history is an indicator, a lot of those guys could be about to hit a wall anyway. 

Of the six players the Giants lost on the free-agent market last offseason, only one remains with the team he departed for (Mario Manningham). One (Aaron Ross) is already back with the G-Men and another (Jacobs) is pushing to re-join the team. Two (Tony Ugoh and Devin Thomas) went the entire 2012 season without playing a single down. 

Manningham was considered to be the worst loss, but he had a career-low (excluding his rookie season) 449 yards and only a single touchdown in San Francisco, not factoring in at all as the Niners went on their run to the Super Bowl. His 10.7 average was also (by far) his lowest since he became a legit NFL contributor in 2009. 

Yet he's the only one still employed by the team he left for. Jacobs, Ross and Tollefson were all cut and Ugoh and Thomas retired. 

Going back one year further, the Giants certainly don't miss Steve Smith or Kevin Boss, both of whom have failed with a grand total of four different teams in two years since leaving New York. In fact, Barry Cofield is the only player New York has lost since 2009 who has experienced even mild success elsewhere.

Even before that, Kawika Mitchell was the team's biggest loss in 2008, but Mitchell had just four sacks the rest of his career after signing a five-year, $17.5 million deal with the Bills. Derrick Ward was a bust in Tampa Bay in 2009 and Fred Robbins' career ended after just two years in St. Louis. 

My point is that the Giants have exhibited a top-notch ability to know when it's time to let go. Head coach Tom Coughlin has been criticized for getting too attached to players he drafted, stubbornly hanging on for too long, but the team's recent history with its own free agents indicates that isn't a problem with veterans. 

The Giants gave up on Jacobs a year ago because he didn't appear to have a lot left after averaging just 3.8 yards per carry as a 29-year-old sidekick to Bradshaw. Now, the Giants are replacing Bradshaw with first-round lightning bolt David Wilson and have a young, more promising complementary weapon on board in Andre Brown. 

Jacobs can bring a new element to this or any offense, but you know what they say about running backs over the age of 30. The guy pouted his way out of San Francisco, so I cannot see Coughlin or Jerry Reese feeling the small risk is worth the small potential reward. 

He'd come cheap, as did Ross in his return, but the Giants are less desperate at running back than they are at cornerback. They made the right decision in this regard last year, so there's no use risking spoiling that by going back down a road that almost certainly leads to the same dead end.