Weighing the Pros and Cons of New York Giants' Top Free-Agent Targets
There is no such thing as a perfect player, as all athletes are both blessed with strengths and stricken with weaknesses.
It is the responsibility of the New York Giants scouting department to pinpoint all strengths and weaknesses of potential targets in free agency. Perhaps New York's scouts have reported their findings in the form of a list of pros and cons.
In this article I'll play scout. I'll borrow three free-agent targets named by Art Stapleton, the Giants beat writer for The Record, and I'll tack on two of my own. For each of these five targets, I'll list the pros and cons of bringing them to New York. I'll format their profiles as if they are a scout's report—complete with headshots.
There are four offensive players and one defensive player highlighted in this slideshow; which ones will the Giants pursue starting next Tuesday, March 11, when the unrestricted market opens?
G Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
NAME: Jon Asamoah
AGE (DOB): 25 (7/21/1988)
HT/WT: 6'4"/305 lbs.
EXP: 4 seasons (2010-2013)
- Started 31 of 32 games at right guard from 2011-2012; accumulated 41 total starts through four seasons with the Chiefs.
- Ranked eighth-best guard among 2014 unrestricted free agents by WalterFootball.com.
- Often described as big and tough—two characteristics New York's O-line lacked last season.
- A reportedly solid run-blocker, whom Jamaal Charles ran wild behind in Kansas City.
- Fit could possibly be better with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo in New York; for one reason or another, Asamoah was ill-equipped to survive Andy Reid's takeover in Kansas City.
- Could become eventual long-term replacement for longtime Giant Chris Snee at right guard.
- Was "benched" in second half of 2013 (it may be more accurate to say he yielded the starting job to Geoff Schwartz, who was simply a better fit).
- Must re-prove his value as starting-caliber with Giants, or wherever he lands.
- Had thumb surgery in 2012 and shoulder surgery following his senior season at Illinois (2010), but has a sparse injury history otherwise.
C Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers
NAME: Evan Dietrich-Smith
AGE (DOB): 27 (7/19/1986)
HT/WT: 6'2"/308 lbs.
COLLEGE: Idaho State
EXP: 4 seasons (2009, 2011-2013)
- Completed his first full season as the Packers' starting center in 2013; played in 61 games since 2009.
- Ranked second-best center among 2014 unrestricted free agents by WalterFootball.com (No. 1 Alex Mack was transition tagged by the Browns).
- Has experience playing guard, in addition to center.
- Considered a serviceable run-blocker, but excels in pass-blocking.
- Could make for a valuable, versatile addition to the Giants O-line, especially if Kevin Boothe is not retained through 2014.
RB Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings
NAME: Toby Gerhart
AGE (DOB): 26 (3/28/1987)
HT/WT: 6'0"/231 lbs.
EXP: 4 seasons (2010-2013)
- Has missed only three games since his rookie year; played in 61 games since 2010.
- Was a second-round selection out of Stanford in 2010 NFL draft; finished second in Heisman voting to Mark Ingram after his senior season.
- Accumulated 1,305 yards and five touchdowns on the ground through four seasons of backing up Adrian Peterson; also caught 77 passes for 600 yards and three touchdowns receiving.
- Will finally be able to compete for a starting job with the league's best running back no longer standing in his way.
- A big-bodied, tough runner that could spearhead New York's power running game; is willing to take on and fight through contact.
- Has not started a game since 2011; accumulated only six starts through four seasons with the Vikings.
- Surpassed 100 carries in a season only once (2011); workload limitations as a pro are virtually unknown.
- Has fumbled seven times on 353 total touches (rushing and receiving); that is an average of one fumble every 50 times he touches the ball.
- A dozen unrestricted free agent running backs are ranked ahead of him by WalterFootball.com.
TE Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
NAME: Scott Chandler
AGE (DOB): 28 (7/23/1985)
HT/WT: 6'7"/260 lbs.
EXP: 5 seasons (2007, 2010-2013)
- Has played in 59 games for three different teams since 2007; Chandler started in 30 of them.
- Caught 135 passes for 1,623 yards and 14 touchdowns; had six touchdowns in both 2011 and 2012, but 2013 stat-line of 53-655-2 was his most productive in terms of receptions and yardage.
- A tall target at 6'7"; could be a valuable option in the red zone, and should be a hard one for quarterback Eli Manning to miss.
- Ranked sixth-best tight end among 2014 unrestricted free agents by WalterFootball.com.
- Could finally solve Giants' dilemma at tight end after a different player has started at the position every season for the past four years.
- Actually had a brief stint with the Giants in 2009.
- The 2013 season was the first in which Chandler played in all 16 games.
- Had a tumultuous start to his career, failing to find the field in both 2008 and 2009; was cut by the Cowboys and claimed by the Bills in December of 2010, where he finally caught on.
- Is the oldest of all free agents listed in this slideshow at 28 years of age.
- Twice finished the season on injured reserve—in 2008 (as a Charger) with a toe injury and in 2012 with a torn ACL.
CB Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers
NAME: Sam Shields
AGE (DOB): 26 (12/8/1987)
HT/WT: 5'11"/184 lbs.
EXP: 4 seasons (2010-2013)
- Has started 35 of the 53 games in which he's appeared with the Packers since making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
- Often found around the ball with 43 career pass defenses, in addition to 13 interceptions.
- Averages 34 tackles a season, but can be more physical than that statistic implies.
- Ranked fourth-best cornerback among 2014 unrestricted free agents by WalterFootball.com (No. 1 Brent Grimes has re-signed with the Dolphins).
- Could fill in across from Prince Amukamara immediately, replacing longtime Giant Corey Webster, whose contract was voided in February.
- Has never completed a full 16-game season, thanks to a laundry list of injuries he has incurred since his rookie season.
- Price tag will be high, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network suspects he's in search of a deal averaging more than $6 million per year.