Updates from Monday, April 28
Michael Eisen of Giants.com confirms the team has signed quarterback Rusty Smith:
Smith’s arrival gives the Giants five quarterbacks – starter Eli Manning, 2013 reserves Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib, and former first-round draft choice and ex-Buccaneer and Viking Josh Freeman, who was signed a week ago. Manning is recovering from arthroscopic ankle surgery and is not expected to begin running until next month.
Updates from Wednesday, April 16
NFL.com's Adam Caplan reports that the Giants are close to finalizing a deal with Josh Freeman:
Josh Freeman and the Giants are working toward a deal which should be completed over the next day or so, per source.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 16, 2014
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com later confirmed the Giants signed Freeman:
It’s a one-year deal for the #Giants and QB Josh Freeman, source says. May get increased snaps as Eli recovers from surgery— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2014
Updates from Sunday, Mar. 16
ESPN's Adam Schefter and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora report the Giants and Walter Thurmond have agreed to a contract:
Giants and former Seahawks CB Walter Thurmond reached agreement on a one-year deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2014
CB Walter Thurmond's 1-year deal with the Giants is worth $3.5M.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 16, 2014
Conor Orr of NJ.com previously reported the Giants and Quintin Demps have agreed to a contract:
Late last night the #Giants got their return man, coming to an agreement with Quintin Demps.— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) March 16, 2014
Updates from Friday, Mar. 14
Henry Hynoski posted an image on Twitter of himself re-signing with the Giants:
Updates from Thursday, Mar. 13
ESPN's Adam Schefter provided details on Jon Beason's contract:
Giants gave LB Jon Beason a three-year, $19M deal that includes $7M gtd and $12M in first two years. Agent did a great job with deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2014
USA Today's Tom Pelissero reports that the Giants are signing Jameel McClain:
Updates from Wednesday, Mar. 12
Rashad Jennings announced that he has officially inked a 4-year contract with the Giants:
The Giants have reportedly re-signed three of their own free agents, agreeing to terms with safety Stevie Brown, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jon Beason, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala, and kicker Josh Brown's announcement via Twitter that he was staying with the team.
The Giants and Jon Beason have agreed to a new deal, person apprised of negotiations tells me. (Sorry if that broke during my last hit!)— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 12, 2014
Stevie Brown is a risk-reward gamble after tearing his ACL last year. He played in all 16 games with the Giants two years ago, recording 64 total tackles and eight interceptions.
Josh Brown had an excellent first season in New York, hitting on 23 of his 26 field goal attempts and all 31 extra point attempts.
Two solid moves for the Giants, who still have to figure out several positions before the market completely dwindles.
Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
Conor Orr of NJ.com reports Peyton Hillis and the Giants have agreed to terms:
Peyton Hillis' deal is worth $1.8 million over two years, per source. #nyg— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) March 11, 2014
Given the team's need for an experienced running back in wake of David Wilson's injury concerns, this is a solid "B" signing for the organization.
Following a disappointing 7-9 season, the New York Giants enter free agency with a lot of questions to be answered.
The Giants aren't the biggest spenders in free agency, opting to retain their own key players instead of investing big money in aging stars, but that could change after last year's lackluster showing.
A problem they will have spending on free agents this offseason is lack of cap space. They do have some money available, approximately $17.5 million, according to Spotrac.com.
According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, the Giants were one of three teams that didn't have any salary-cap carryover from 2013:
That means they spent all of their allotted cap money last year and don't get to apply any of the savings to their cap this season.
Tom Coughlin returns as head coach for his 11th season. He was entering the final year of his previous deal before signing a one-year extension that will keep him in New York through 2015. That might be the most notable deal the team signs this offseason.
New York's front office and ownership group clearly view stability on the coaching staff. They have had three head coaches since 1993, winning two Super Bowls along the way. That trust in Coughlin is what has made the Giants so successful throughout his tenure.
Let's not forget that with all their problems at the beginning of 2013, the Giants went 7-3 after an 0-6 start. Eli Manning may never be the best quarterback in the NFL, but when he has an offensive line to protect him, he's really good.
The Giants aren't a team that has to undergo a drastic overhaul to compete in the volatile NFC East. A tweak or two here and there might be good enough.
Giants 2014 Free-Agent Class
|Player||Position||2014 Team||Contract Details|
|Justin Tuck||DE||Raiders||Reported $11M for 2 years|
|Jon Beason||LB||Giants||Reported $19M for 3 years|
|Stevie Brown||S||Giants||Reported $4M for 1 year|
|Peyton Hillis||RB||Giants||Reported $1.8M for 2 years|
|Henry Hynoski||FB||Giants||$1M for 1 year|
|Linval Joseph||DT||Vikings||Reported $31.5M for 5 years|
|Trumaine McBride||CB||Giants||Reported 2 years, $3.1 million|
|Ryan Mundy||S||Bears||Reported for 2 years ($ undisclosed)|
|Brandon Myers||TE||Buccaneers||Reported 2 years, $4.25 million|
|Keith Rivers||LB||Bills||Reported 2 years, $5 million|
|Player||Position||2013 Team||Contract Details|
|O'Brien Schofield||LB||Seahawks||Reported $8M for 2 years|
Offensive Line (Center): Much was made of Eli Manning's struggles in 2013, some of which were his fault. You can't throw 27 interceptions without making some mistakes. Unfortunately, the offensive line didn't give him a lot of time, as he was sacked 39 times.
Pro Football Focus had the Giants ranked as the fourth-worst offensive line last year and 31st in pass blocking. David Diehl graded out horribly in his transition to right guard. Losing center David Bass to knee problems certainly impacted Manning.
Cornerback: Prince Amukamara gives the Giants one reliable starter in the secondary. After that, there are a lot of questions. Free agent Trumaine McBride was effective as a starter for the Giants, recording 15 passes defended, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in 15 games. They need depth and a second starter to plug in opposite Amukamara.
Wide Receiver: Two years ago, the Giants never would have let Hakeem Nicks go. Now, after two disappointing seasons, he has little chance of returning to New York and is already exploring his options ahead of free agency. Rueben Randle performed well in 2013, catching six touchdowns with over 600 yards, but the team needs more depth on the outside. Jerrel Jernigan could be a valuable slot option, but he's never caught more than 29 passes in a season.
Running Back: Another problem position last year that wasn't helped by a porous offensive line, running back has to be a target area for the Giants. They have finished in the bottom five of the league in rushing yards two of the last three years. David Wilson missed the last 11 games last year after undergoing neck surgery. Andre Brown was given a chance to start but could muster just 3.5 yards per carry.
Tight End: Brandon Myers came to New York last year after four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, including a 79-catch, 806-yard campaign in 2012. He regressed badly in 2013, catching just 47 passes for 522 yards and 28 first downs. Manning is at his best when he's got that safety net over the middle, which he didn't have last year.
Latest Giants Free Agency Rumors
Giants in on TE Andrew Quarless
The Green Bay Packers have two free-agent tight ends this offseason. Jermichael Finley is the one who will draw a lot of buzz, but Andrew Quarless might have more upside. The latter appears to be of serious interest to the Giants.
According to Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr of NJ.com, New York has shown interest in the 25-year-old tight end:
Andrew Quarless, who worked under new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo as a tight end in Green Bay, drew early interest from the team this weekend, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The fact that Quarless has a relationship with a member of New York's coaching staff can't hurt the team's chances of signing him. He's never entered a season as a full-time starter, but he did take over after Finley got injured last year.
Quarless is still raw, especially when it comes to run blocking. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quoted Packers tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot in December as saying, "He plays high. We need more out of him at the point of attack and finish. We’ve talked about that."
With age and upside on his side, Quarless represents a clear improvement for the Giants from the disappointment that was Myers. They will have plenty of competition for him, as the NJ.com report says the Giants were one of seven teams to contact him.
Giants "serious" about C Evan Dietrich-Smith
In their effort to remake themselves in the image of the Green Bay Packers, the Giants are also reportedly targeting their center, Even Dietrich-Smith, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News:
The Giants were left in a lurch last year when Bass got hurt, relying on an unproven Jim Cordle. With Bass being 32 and counting more than $8 million against the salary cap in 2014 and 2015, according to Spotrac.com, the Giants will have decisions to make.
Dietrich-Smith will turn 28 in July and was the ninth-ranked center in football, according to Pro Football Focus (h/t Scout.com, subscription required). Bill Huber of Scout.com wrote about Green Bay's improved running game with him under center:
Dietrich-Smith has provided some much-needed horsepower to the running game. They’re averaging 5.5 yards per rush on middle-left carries and 4.6 on middle-right carries compared to 3.1 and 3.2 last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. According to the league’s media-only stats site, the Packers are averaging a full yard per carry more up the middle compared to last year.
For a team with as many holes up front as the Giants had, finding a player like Dietrich-Smith on the market should be considered a no-brainer. Sometimes need and availability match perfectly, making for a long, prosperous marriage.
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