Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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NFC East free agency roundup, Giants edition

The Eagles have of course made some additions, re-signed a number of their own guys, and traded for a shifty offensive weapon. But what have the rest of the teams in the NFC East done so far? Let's review them all, beginning with the only other stable front office in the division, the Giants.

NFC East free agency roundup, Giants edition

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

The Eagles have of course made some additions, re-signed a number of their own guys, and traded for a shifty offensive weapon. But what have the rest of the teams in the NFC East done so far? Let's review them all, beginning with the only other stable front office in the division, the Giants.

Players gained

Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders: 4.87 yards per carry (combined) in 2013, 2011, and 2010, 2.8 yards per carry and 3 fumbles in 101 carries in 2012. In other words, 3 good seasons, 1 bad. Tough runner who gives the Giants a dependable back in case David Wilson continues to be a 1st round bust.

Geoff Schwartz, OG, Chiefs: Very good OG, who will immediately upgrade one of the Giants' biggest holes on offense.

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Jameel McClain, LB, Ravens: Ravens cap casualty who should be an upgrade over Keith Rivers at SAM.

Quinton Demps, S/KR, Chiefs: Former Eagles #NextDawkins has become a quality kick returner, will serve as safety depth on a rare NFL team not in desperate need of safety help.

Walter Thurmond, CB, Seahawks: Excellent signing. Immediate upgrade as a slot corner. 

J.D. Walton, C, Redskins: Major disappointment in Denver, did not play a snap with Washington last season.

Players re-signed

Jon Beason, LB: Improved a struggling defense when he took over as starting MLB in Week 6. 

Trumaine McBride, CB: Surprisingly useful season after being forced into action.

Stevie Brown, S: 8 INTs in 2012, suffered torn ACL in 2013 preseason.

Peyton Hillis, RB: RB depth only (if he makes the team), chronic fumbler, low yards per carry (3.58 over last 3 seasons), on his 5th team in NFL.

Henry Hynoski, FB: Back of the roster player.

Curtis Painter, QB: It's a good thing the Giants kept Painter active and he got some extra snaps instead of rookie Ryan Nassib Week 17 when Eli Manning left with an injury. 

Players lost

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Colts: In 2010 and 2011, Nicks had a combined 155 catches for 2244 yards and 18 TDs. In 2012 and 2013, he had 109 catches for 1588 yards and 3 TDs, and has been unable to stay healthy. Decent candidate for a revival in Indy, but certainly understandable why the Giants let him walk. 

Linval Joseph, DT, Vikings: Looked like he could be a premier DT after outstanding stretch in Giants 2011 playoff run. Somewhat overrated player who the Vikings overpaid.

Justin Tuck, DE, Raiders: 11.5 sacks combined in 2011, 2012 and the first 11 games in 2013. In garbage time in the Giants last 5 games in 2013, had 8.5 sacks, feasting on the Redskins' awful right side their OL for 6 of them. Outstanding career with Giants, but a declining player.

Keith Rivers, LB, Bills: Former 9th overall pick of the Bengals with good athleticism who has never made an impact, now on his 3rd team.

Other noteworthy developments

O'Brien Schofield, LB, Seahawks: "Agreed to terms" with the Giants, but flunked a medical evaluation. That deal is now dead, although Schofield could still potentially sign at a lower cost. 

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Broncos: Visiting with the Giants today. DRC together with Tom Coughlin? Yes, please.

Anthony Spencer, DE, Cowboys: Mildly productive starter in Dallas, had microfracture surgery last year.

Andre Brown, RB, Giants: Reportedly scheduled a visit with the Raiders.

Terrell Thomas, RB, Giants: Reportedly scheduled a visit with the Raiders.

David Diehl, OT, Giants: Retired.

David Baas, C, Giants: Waived, failed physical.

Additional current players who remain unsigned: OG Kevin Boothe, WR Louis Murphy, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Mike Patterson, DT Shaun Rogers, CB Aaron Ross, WR Julian Talley.

Overall thoughts

It's easy to look at the losses of Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks and Linval Joseph, and come to the quick conclusion that the Giants got worse as a football team this offseason. All three of those players were instrumental in the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011, but have not maintained that same level of play. Nicks is rarely 100% healthy, Tuck is a player clearly in decline, and Joseph, while still an effective starter, was not worth the high price tag paid by the Vikings. 

The Giants are indeed not as good a team without Nicks and Tuck in their primes, but that would have been the case whether the Giants lost them or not. Teams will often fall into the trap of either paying players on past accomplishments, or hanging on to false hope that they will once again become the players they once were. The Giants were willing to move on from players who are unlikely to help much in the long-term, which is what good front offices do.

The Giants improved their OL with the addition of Geoff Schwartz, and their secondary will be better by signing CB Walter Thurmond. They also seem to be busy in the 2nd phase of free agency, when bargains can be found, by hosting Anthony Spencer and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants still have plenty of holes to fill and work to do, but teams aren't fixed in one free agency period. The Giants have made smart additions so far, and have rightfully moved on from formerly great players.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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