Giants’ Offseason Moves: Which will benefit the team the most?

Over at ESPN New York, Dan Graziano, delivered his Giants’ offseason report, analyzing the extraordinary amount of moves made by Big Blue this winter/spring and determining which would define the team’s destiny:

Best Move: OL Geoff Schwartz, signed by the Giants in free agency to a 4-year, $16.8 million contract.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Agree. Schwartz is one of the best run-blocking linemen in football. Big guys up front is always where you start when building/rebuilding. The Giants want to retake the line of scrimmage. They did it on defense n 2013. This year, they want to do it on offense.

Jerry Reese was very aggressive in staffing the new line. The addition of Schwartz, John Jerry, Charles Brown and JD Walton demonstrated that he was serious about improving. Pair that with the maturation of Justin Pugh, the return of a healthy Chris Snee and Will Beatty and the addition of second round draft choice Weston Richburg. The Giants’ offensive line can actually now be considered a strength.


Riskiest Move: Losing DT Linval Joseph, who was signed by the Vikings to a 5-year, $31.25 million deal.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

It’s certainly one of them. Joseph was coming into his own in 2013, but the Giants already knew that and were prepared to lose him. As a preemptive move, they used a second-round draft pick in last year’s draft on a DT (Jon Hankins of Ohio State) and signed free agents Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. They also showed patience with Markus Kuhn, who is healthy and back in the rotation.

The Giants had a price in their heads when it cam to re-signing Joseph, and the Vikings obviously exceeded that number. The thing to keep in mind is that the Giants rotate their DTs regularly. Jenkins and Joseph played about 60 percent of the snaps at DT in 2013. The team does not put a premium on rotational players. They would rather lose that player in free agency and find another one at a lesser price that could take absorb those snaps. The team will elevate Hankins to starter status and backfill the depth with third-round pick Jay Bromley and possibly UDFA signee Kelcy Quarles.


Most Surprising Move: Signing CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (5-yrs, $35 million) and the amount of attention paid to the secondary in general.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Yes to the DRC move, which was unexpected. The rest is not a surprise.

At the beginning of the 2014 football year, the Giants had just three CBs under contract: Jayron Hosley, Charles James and Prince Amukamara. They quickly re-signed Trumaine McBride to a 2-year deal and then went shopping in free agency. Walter Thurmond, fresh off a Super Bowl win in Seattle, was inked to a one-year deal worth $3 million. Then came the surprise of DRC, who was reportedly headed to the Jets. Reese use the home court advantage of QDTC and it’s impressive trophy case to reel in one of the league’s top free agents.

He followed the DRC deal by signing Chicago’s Zack Bowman and exercising Prince’s fifth-year option. In the draft, Reese took Notre Dame’s Bennett Jackson in the sixth round and then snared Michigan’s Thomas Gordon after the draft.


Impact Draft Pick(s): Odell Beckham, Jr, Weston Richburg, Andre Williams

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

With the defense supplemented and restocked via free agency, the draft and the UDFA market, most of the top draft choices went to fill holes on the offense. Beckham is a seen as a dynamic receiver, someone who might be able to fill Hakeem Nick’s shoes and then some. Nicks had not done much in his final two seasons here, scoring only three TDs in his final 28 games in Blue. Richburg is a big, mobile, intelligent player that i tailor-made for new OC Ben McAdoo’s offense. Williams adds depth and durability, if no production to the once depleted backfield, which needed massive help after a dismal performance last season.




10 comments
Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

I agree with the Schwartz signing as the best move, however I am going to go out on a limb & pick someone else. I think the best free agent signing the Giants made this offseason was the signing of Robert Ayers, and I will explain why. Ayers moved from OLB to DE, and went from starting OLB to second string DE under Jack Del Rio. 2013 was Ayers first year playing DE since his senior year in college at Tennessee in 2008. As a backup DE, Ayers recorded 5.5 sacks, 29 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and a 24.1% tackles for loss percentage. As a reserve DE, a 24.1 TFL % is very good; approximately 1 of every 4 of Ayers' tackles are for a loss. For a guy who was a reserve & played in a 3, sometime 4 deep rotation, those numbers are very impressive. I expect Ayers to come in & win the starting DE spot over Kiwi, opposite JPP this summer. Ayers is a very good replacement for Justin Tuck. As a matter of fact, when you watch Ayers play, you see A LOT of Justin Tuck in him, and it is more than just wearing the same #91. I see Ayers as a young Justin Tuck. With solid playing time this season, along with lining up opposite a fully healthy JPP, Ayers could have a huge season this year, and have us fans saying "Justin Who?" The biggest thing with Ayers is that he is back to playing a position that had him the 18th overall draft pick in 2009. When the Broncos drafted Ayers out of Tennessee, they put him at OLB because they ran a 3-4 offense. Once Jack Del Rio came to the Broncos, he installed a base 4-3 defense & that allowed Ayers to go back to playing on the line of scrimmage, with his hand in the dirt. After playing so many years at OLB, Ayers isn't going to be able to just rekindle his DE magic with the snap of his fingers. It is going to take time for Ayers to become reacclimated to the position, especially at the NFL level. Del Rio installed the 4-3 defense in 2012, giving Ayers 2 seasons to get accustomed to the position & what it entails. When you look at other defensive line players, it tends to be the third year where these guys break out. As a result, I think 2014 will be Robert Ayers' break out year, garnering double-digit sacks (10-13), as well as 15-20 TFL's. With the addition of DRC & Thurmond in the secondary, as well as the return of Stevie Brown (the 2012 NFL Int leader) at safety, Robert Ayers is going to be a huge part of this defense, leading to quite a few turnovers. It is my opinion that the signing of Robert Ayers was the best offseason free agent signing by the Giants. I would be extremely surprised if Ayers doesn't have a huge, breakout year; that is how sure I am of this signing & his ability.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

To me the riskiest move not bringing in a veteran WR while basically promoting Reuben Randle to the starting role and bringing in Beckham. If Cruz goes down, that's a lot of unproven talent on the field.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@Kevin Joseph Patrick You researched a great deal on behalf of Ayers and I also believe he is one of the best off season signings for the Giants. However; your comparison of Tuck and Ayers is a bit of a reach. Tuck played more along the DL and is more effective as an inside rusher rather than an outside rusher (on the edge). Ayers is not an inside pressure rusher and will get most of his sacks from the outside and flushing the QB out of the pocket. Overall, good read and well thought out.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@Darnell Hayes Based on what!!! the offseason additions or the weaker schedule? or both?

Let's hope the OL has enough Talent to perform better than last season. If not, Eli will be running for his life.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@Peter Sinapi You've got a point, The Giants bringing back Manningham is a bit of a puzzling move in my opinion. Especially, when he was not healthy before they signed him. Got to hope that Randle can turn it around and be an effective outside threat. Cruz is one of several players that the Giants can't afford to get hurt. Aside from Manning, Schwartz and perhaps DRC.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Except he is not healthy, and even of he is, that's a major risk still.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@Kevin Joseph Patrick I hope you're right about Manningham. Another factor to consider is that if the TE position shapes up into a solid unit (Robinson, Donnell, Davis and Grimble). it wouldn't surprise one bit if OC McAdoo employs a two TE system 30% of the time. My point here is that if Manningham is truly healthy, the Giants under McAdoo will have multiple looks on offense (3 WR, 2 TE's) and create mismatches and confusion to opposing defenses. Hopefully, the TE position can become a solid contributor.

Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

Manningham was very healthy as a Giant & his injuries are not wear & tear, breaking-down-type injuries. Rather, MM's injuries were freak, sudden injuries. When a guy tears his ACL, it takes a full year to rehab the injury to get back on the field, then another full year to get back full strength & movement in the knee. Guys like Adrian Peterson are the minority, the freak of nature type of ACL comebacks. The more common return from ACL's is the Tom Brady-type return. Brady tore his ACL (and MCL) week 1 in 2008. He rehabbed all 2008 & returned for week 1 in 2009. However, it wasn't until 2010 that Brady returned to true Tom Brady form. Manningham is now 2 years removed from his ACL tear & he is in the prime of his career. I expect Manningham to have a very productive season, beating out Jernigan for the WR3 spot, playing outside opposite Beckham, Jr. in the 3 wide sets this year. With the new offense McAdoo is bringing in here, we are going to see A LOT of 3 & 4 wide sets. Due to this, it is absolutely imperative that MM return to pre-ACL form & become a reliable target for Eli.