A year after winning another Super Bowl, the New York Giants find themselves at somewhat of a standstill. Free agency is about to begin and even though CB Corey Webster took a pay cut this week, cap space is still limited. Do they give a contract to key players out of loyalty? Or will Jerry Reese stay the course of making business decisions that are best for the team?
NFL fans can sit at home and play GM all they want, but this time of the year is the toughest for a real GM. Luckily though, the Giants have one of the top GM’s in football, Reese, who has won two Super Bowls in five years after taking over for Ernie Accorsi.
In Reese We Trust.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
QB David Carr:
Believe it or not, Carr has spent a bulk of his career in New York. In his ten year career, he’s spent four with the Giants, one less than the team that drafted him 1st overall in 2002, the Houston Texans.
Carr is an excellent athlete and maybe if he had an offensive line in Houston he could have been decent. That is a conversation for another day. Carr is more than a solid backup and fans love the fact that he knows the system well at this point. They did sign Curtis Painter at the beginning of the off-season but just ask Eli’s brother about Painter’s ability.
Re-sign: Based on the fact that he has been here four years makes you comfortable. Eli is probably comfortable with him, which is just as important. He lacks accuracy on some throws but he makes up for it with his athleticism. Carr can extend plays with his legs, and when you have good receivers like the Giants do, they will find a way to get open. Even if your backup is a decent passer, having no running ability makes him limited and therefore the season becomes a disaster. Having Carr still gives you some hope if Eli goes down. (God forbid).
RB Kregg Lumpkin
The Giants own “Double G,” Lumpkin was signed once Andre Brown was lost for the season. He barely saw the field this year. Lumpkin has more career receiving yards than rushing. If anything, he can be a nice third down back to use once or twice a game.
Don’t re-sign: David Wilson is the guy now and he’s the best option for the screen game so Lumpkin has no value for the Giants. Da’Rel Scott is coming off of an injury but he may be the fastest player on the team, so he’ll get the third running back reps in the pre-season.
WR Domenik Hixon
Giant fans will always remember Hixon for his kickoff return against New England in the 2007 Week 17 loss. He has decent hands, nice speed and can run his routes. Very clean receiver. I’ll never forget his drop on a post in the 2008 Divisional loss to the Eagles that would have been a huge gain or even a touchdown.
Don’t re-sign: The Giants owe him nothing. They took him back after each of his ACL tears and he’s been given plenty of opportunities. He is only 28 and you feel comfortable with a guy that knows your system and with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz’s Giants careers up in the air, it’s a safe signing. He’s fragile though. If you can get him to stay for a cheap price than it will be worth it but see what’s on the market.
WR Ramses Barden
Giants fans really wanted to see him do well and he did in the 36-7 beat down of the Panthers in Week 3. It was essentially nothing after that, like his whole career.
Don’t re-sign: He has great size at 6-6 and we all thought he’d replace Plaxico, but the project is most likely over. He’ll plead his case for one more year and it will be for a low price but again, it’s not worth it if you want to win now.
TE Martellus Bennett
Didn’t like the signing last year because if the Cowboys think you’re a problem, then you really must be one. He seemed a little more mature with the Giants (credit coaching) and fit well in the offense. He had over 600yds, 5ds and made some tough catches, something Giants fans love in their tight ends.
Re-sign: Bennett on Twitter said the Giants are moving on and shame on them if they do. According to the NY Daily News though, they would like to sign him before the market opens and a late push is happening. Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert will most likely be available when the Giants are on the clock in April but Bennett can do so well with the Giants. Mike Pope can get so much more out of Bennett if you re-sign him.
TE Travis Beckum
Another raw talent player the Giants knew would be an experiment. You could put him out wide on some plays and is a very athletic tight end. Made some nice catches in 2010 and ’11.
Don’t re-sign: May be time to move on. Bear Pascoe was re-signed and it seems the starter will be Bennett or Eifert. Don’t really see any big reason to re-sign him. Props to him though, he was spotted hanging out with Katy Perry after the Super Bowl.
OG Kevin Boothe
Hard worker who earned his way to being a full time starter. His starts have increased each year in New York and he started all 16 games in 2012. Did a nice job during the Super Bowl run as well.
Re-sign: Camaraderie is an important thing to have on the offensive line and it was extremely key in the 2007 run. Eli was sacked 20 times this season (1st in the NFL) and 26 times in 2011 which means these guys are working well together. The running game hasn’t been great but it’s all about protecting the franchise QB right? I expect the Giants to re-sign him and they want to as well.
OT Sean Locklear
A veteran offensive lineman who has started 91 games in his eight-year career. Does a nice job wherever he goes and played well in the nine games he started in 2012 before he was lost for the season at Washington.
Re-sign: It’s not going to happen because I think it would have at this point but I would re-sign him. Cap space may be the reason but offensive line depth is so important so they should try to find a way to keep Locklear.
DE Osi Umenyiora
In his time as a starter, no one was better off the edge. The sack-strip has become a signature move. His ten forced fumbles is still a single season record (tied by Charles Tillman this season). With the emergence of JPP he lost his starting role but still made an impact when healthy.
Don’t re-sign: They should have traded him at the end of last year but Reese felt he didn’t have enough pass rushers behind JPP and Tuck. He’s asking for too much, he never shuts up and he can’t play the run. They will find another pass rusher for their “bullpen,” because they always do.
DT Rocky Bernard
Great size for a defensive tackler and can clog the A-gaps but he was inconsistent. That image of him with the bloody mouth in the 2011 NFC Championship was awesome, just wanted to make note of that.
Don’t re-sign: He’s 33 and the re-signing of Shaun Rogers told you where the Giants stand on him. There’s better out there and you have some young guys like Marvin Austin to work on.
LB Chase Blackburn
A definitive blue-collar type player and fan favorite, Blackburn has been through a lot in his career. A neck injury in his rookie year, being released to go substitute teach then comeback to intercept Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in a span of less than two months. He was always a good special teamer and plays his butt off when he’s at linebacker.
Re-sign: He’s a great player to have on your team. Good leader, scrappy and a solid tackler. He wants to be here and won’t cost too much. He’s not the long-term answer at middle linebacker but he played hard all year. Blackburn is a good player to have on your team.
LB Keith Rivers
A former first round pick who has speed, athleticism and makes some nice tackles. The Giants traded for him last off-season and when he played this year I thought he did a good job. He can grow in this system.
Re-sign: I doubt he’s asking for much. When he made a play this year it was noticeable. With Michael Boley gone you should keep him unless there are guys you know you can get in free agency or the draft. I say give him a one year deal.
CB Justin Tryon
Back up corner who did what he could when called upon. Was brought back again this year after being cut halfway through 2011. He’s on his way to becoming a journeyman corner.
Don’t re-sign: The secondary needs a little work and with a lot of injury prone DB’s on the team, you need better depth. Tryon is not the answer.
CB Bruce Johnson
Other than a pick six in the Jerry’s World Grand Opening, Johnson hasn’t done much. Actually, he’s hurt most of the time. Another guy with speed and potential; there’s obviously something there is he’s been here this long.
Re-sign: Anyone else I would say to not re-sign, but we haven’t seen enough out of him yet. He’ll re-sign dirt cheap or at least let him come to camp if he makes it through free agency unsigned.
CB Brian Witherspoon
A 27 year old cornerback who may have seen the field for one game this year who made his living in Jacksonville as a return man.
Don’t re-sign: David Wilson was the return man last year and may still hold the spot in 2013 even though he’ll be starting in the backfield.
S Kenny Phillips
A first round pick in 2008, Phillips has been an impact player on defense but he cannot stay healthy. They call him the Hakeem Nicks of the defense and it showed when the secondary struggled after his injury. He’s still 26 and loves playing with Antrel Rolle.
Don’t re-sign: He rejected the offer and wants to test the market. Let him go because some team will overpay him and he’ll waste their money. You’d hate to see him go but with the emergence of Stevie Brown, you kind of knew this was coming.
K Lawrence Tynes
He will live forever in Giants lure for his two game winning, overtime field goals in NFC Championship games and is nearly automatic from 35 yards or less.
Don’t re-sign: Never was a fan of Tynes to be honest. Yeah he is nearly automatic from 35 or less but he is the worst kicker from 45 or more, whether it’s home or away. The face’s Tom Coughlin has made when he misses a field goal says it all. When he does miss, he misses ugly. It’s a tough decision to replace a guy that’s used to your stadiums wind, but bring in someone else whom you can pay less and kicks better. He’s out there. Remember John Carney when he replaced Tynes even though he was healthy? Carney was All-Pro that year.
Restricted Free Agents:
RB Andre Brown
A nice option out of the backfield and decent power back. Picked up some of the slack at the running back position before breaking his fibula against the Packers.
Re-sign: I don’t know why this deal hasn’t been made yet considering they released Ahmad Bradshaw. Someone is going to have to complement Wilson and I think Brown will be a nice re-signing. I doubt the asking price is high.
RB Ryan Torain
Had a nice year in 2010 with the Redskins then fell of the face of the Earth. His best attribute is his size; 6-0 213 pounds.
Don’t re-sign: He never saw any action and you need to re-sign Brown first. Inviting him to camp isn’t a bad idea though.
WR Victor Cruz
In two years he has become a top-flight receiver. He progressed so quick going from unreliable to unstoppable in the open field. His great combination of speed and quickness makes him the extremely dangerous weapon and easy deep ball target for Eli.
Re-sign: If they just would have not been stubborn and re-signed him last year this wouldn’t be an issue. I could understand why you didn’t tag him because of the cap space, but now he’s worth more and all 31 other teams know that. If you pay him you can easily lose Nicks but he can’t stay healthy so give it to the guy who can. I can’t imagine him in another uniform.
S Stevie Brown
A ball hawk that came out of nowhere after (shocker) Kenny Phillips went down. Tackling can improve but he’s young and coaching can make him even better.
Re-sign: You can’t justify losing both him and Phillips. Both guys are impact players on your defense and Brown is the cheaper solution. His tag would have been very expensive but a two or three-year deal would seem just to me. Giants haven’t had a ball hawk in a while, so keep one that you basically stumbled upon.