Coming off a disappointing season, the New York Giants have been uncharacteristically aggressive in pursuing free agents this offseason.
Cornerback Dominique Rogers-Cromartie is the biggest acquisition so far for the Giants, signing a 5-year $39 million contract, with $14 million guaranteed. Rogers-Cromartie, 27, had 33 tackles and 19 passes defended for the AFC champion Denver Broncos last year.
Big Blue finished with a 7-9 record, the first season below .500 since 2004, Eli Manning’s rookie season. With $24 million dollars of salary cap room to use, it is amazing to see General Manager Jerry Reese fill the many holes on the team. Going into free agency, linebacker, the secondary, the offensive and defensive lines, wide receiver, and tight end were each positions that needed to be addressed.
This is a bit unusual for the Giants. Rarely do they make a big splash in free agency, instead focusing on rebuilding through the draft. The last big-time free agent to sign with New York was safety Antrel Rolle back in 2010, when he signed a 5-year $37 million contract. Even when the Giants do make additions through free agency it is typically to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines.
Jon Beason is another key acquisition signing a 3-year $19 million contract with $7 million guaranteed. Traded from Carolina to the Giants in the middle of last season, the linebacker was inserted into the starting lineup almost immediately and became a catalyst for the Giants turnaround after a 0-6 start, leading the team to the 18th total defense. His resigning was important.
On the offensive side of the ball former Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings agreed to a 4 year $14 million deal with $3 million guaranteed. Soon to be 29 years old, Jennings looks to establish himself as the main running back after being the secondary back in both Jacksonville and Oakland. Jennings along with incumbents Peyton Hillis and David Wilson, will improve New York’s running game, which ranked 29th out of 32 teams.
The return of receiver and Super Bowl XLVI hero Mario Manningham from the San Francisco 49ers, should fill the void left by Hakeem Nicks, who signed a one-year deal with the Colts. Manningham provides quality depth to the along with Giants receiving corps, led by star Victor Cruz.
These moves are a good start for the Giants. With some more additions from the NFL Draft, specifically at tight end, and both lines, the Giants should make a significant jump and contend for a Super Bowl.
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