The New York Giants have more money to spend on free agents than in recent years, which is why it's gotta be refreshing for fans to hear that they're making calls regarding some of the top players on the verge of hitting the open market.
But word from Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News that the G-Men are interested in top-tier cornerback Alterraun Verner came as somewhat of a surprise, just because the cornerback market is by all indications exploding, Verner is at the top of the totem pole in said market, and the Giants actually have a decent group of corners on their roster.
First, the market. Vacchiano also reported that New York was interested in Sam Shields before he re-signed with the Packers—for $39 million over four years with $12 million guaranteed.
Shields has never had more than four interceptions in a season, and the four-year vet has never played a complete season in the NFL. In 2013, he received a lukewarm grade of 0.4 from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), ranking 52nd among 110 qualifying players at that position.
Verner is a year younger, had five picks last year, hasn't missed a game since 2011 and was ranked by PFF as the 12th-best corner in the game in 2013. That doesn't do him justice, though, because the 25-year-old was targeted only once every 7.4 snaps, which was the sixth-lowest rate in football. He was one of only four corners to average more than 15 snaps per reception.
The Giants may have aimed high at the cornerback position, but there is a limit to their interest.
It appears the limit was well exceeded in talks for Alterraun Verner. The top-tier free-agent corner's price tag has reached a number the Giants are not willing to spend at the position, according to a person with knowledge of the team's thinking.
One industry insider suggested a player of Verner's ilk is likely to command around $10 million annually on the free agent market.
The Giants have money to spend, but why blow it all on a corner? That's not how this team won Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011. It's not how anyone wins Super Bowls, really. They need to spruce up the pass rush and bolster the linebacker corps. They need to improve their pass protection, especially within the interior of the offensive line. They need a tight end.
But they don't need a cornerback.
They used a first-round pick in 2011 on Prince Amukamara, who has become better each year and is a decent No. 1 corner entering 2014. Terrell Thomas had a remarkable bounce-back season, and Trumaine McBride was fantastic after being signed in September. Those two veterans aren't currently under contract, but combined they'd cost significantly less than a guy like Verner.
|New York's top three corners, 2013|
|Age||PFF grade (rank)||INT|
|1. Prince Amukamara||24||4.0 (34th)||1|
|2. Trumaine McBride||28||6.6 (24th)||2|
|3. Terrell Thomas||29||0.4 (52nd)||1|
|Pro Football Focus|
This is a situation in which the Giants have to trust in the guys they have, including 2012 third-round pick Jayron Hosley. This defense doesn't need a makeover. The front office doesn't have to make a splash on a unit that ranked in the top 10 in every major category during the second half of the season.
Having money is nice, but there are better places to spend it.