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 WriterAgree. 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 WriterIt’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 WriterYes 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 WriterWith 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.