With NFL free agency officially underway, and armed with a laundry list of needs, the New York Giants began their off-season work with a number of notable additions. Overall, Big Blue was fairly active on Day 1, and made some moves in the right direction by adding depth to priority positions, including offensive line, running back, and linebacker.
Perhaps the biggest weakness for the Giants this past season existed in their offensive line. It is no secret that the line struggled to protect quarterback Eli Manning, and injuries to David Diehl, Chris Snee, and center David Baas created uncertainty throughout the season.
Prior to the official start of free agency, Baas was released from the team, sending the team on a search for a replacement at center. (Rumor has it they are targeting Green Bay Packers free agent Evan Dietrich-Smither.)
On Day 1 the reconstruction of the offensive line began with the signing of former Kansas City Chief Geoff Schwartz. Schwartz, who can play both tackle and guard, is extremely valuable because of his versatility.
The Giants also added former Oakland Raider Rashad Jennings to their list of potential running backs for the 2014 season. The team also resigned Peyton Hillis, and is waiting to see if the injured David Wilson can return to the field at one hundred percent. Andre Brown is also still on the free agent market, but with the Jennings and Hillis signings, it seems his return to the Giants may be less likely.
On the defensive side of things, the Giants resigned both safety Stevie Brown and cornerback Trumaine McBride, securing some key members of their secondary.
Big Blue also made a big splash by signing the dual threat outside linebacker/defensive end O’Brien Schofield to a two-year, $8 million deal. Schofield is yet another player whose versatility makes him incredibly valuable to the Giants during this rebuilding stage.
Other notable re-signings from Day 1 include kicker Josh Brown and quarterback Curtis Painter. The Giants also lost defensive tackle Linval Joseph, safety Ryan Mundy, and tight end Brandon Myers, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively.
Despite the promising moves made on Day 1, the Giants still have a lot of work to do. The rumor mill is stirring around possible free agent acquisitions still to be made at various offensive line and tight end positions. There are also a few of the Giants’ own free agents to keep in mind.
Defensive end Justin Tuck is still a free agent, as is linebacker Jon Beason. Both players stepped up during the second half of the 2013 season, and have proved to be exceptional leaders, both on and off the field. The Giants need to secure deals with Tuck and Beason in the days to come in order to keep moving towards the strongest possible team in 2014.
Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist