Most of the Giants’ best free agent signings can be traced back to the mid-2000s, when they added the veterans necessary to eventually win the 2008 Super Bowl. There have been plenty before and after, though.
Here are some of the best and most memorable...
QB Kerry Collins, 1999
When Collins signed with New York in 1999, it was his third team in less than a year. On the verge of becoming a journeyman QB, he instead won the starting job with the Giants in ‘99 and led them to their third Super Bowl appearance a year later. In the end, he started 67 games for New York, winning 35, fourth most among quarterbacks in franchise history.
RT Kareem McKenzie, 2005
McKenzie has the distinction of playing his entire career in New York -- his first four with the Jets and last seven with the Giants -- and was on both of the Giants’ Super Bowl teams. Plus, he grew up in Trenton and went to Willingboro (N.J.) High School. As a Giant, he played (and started) in 16 games in four seasons, and never missed more than four games over the course of one season.
C Shaun O'Hara, 2004
The New Jersey native and Rutgers alum left Cleveland for New York in free agency in 2004. In seven seasons with the Giants, he made three Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl, and started 97 of a possible 112 games.
LB Antonio Pierce, 2005
Pierce was another of the Giants’ mid-2000s home run signings that helped make the core of the 2008 Super Bowl run. He tied a team-high with 11 combined tackles against the Patriots in the upset win, and, in five seasons in New York, totaled four interceptions, seven sacks, 34 tackles for a loss, plus a scoop-and-score touchdown in 2005. He also had one of the great tackles in recent memory against the Packers in the ‘07 NFC Championship Game, which is better seen than described.
WR Plaxico Burress, 2005
The good memories come easy with Burress, who was signed by the Giants in 2005 after five eventful seasons with the Steelers (remember when he spiked a live ball?). His 22 touchdown catches combined from 2006-07 were nice, but he will always be the guy who caught the 13-yard game-winning score from Eli Manning in the 2008 Super Bowl.
S Antrel Rolle, 2010
Rolle signed with the Giants two seasons after a heartbreaking loss with his Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl. In New York, he got his ring two years later. In all, Rolle made two Pro Bowls with New York and two second-team All-Pro selections, grabbing 14 interceptions in five seasons. When he was released by the Bears in 2015, Rolle told the New York Post where he wanted to play next. “You know my first choice would be home, man,’’ he said. “And what I mean by home, that’s New York.’’
LB Michael Barrow, 2000
Barrow was an iron man in four seasons with the Giants, missing only two of a possible 64 regular season games. He also played in all three playoff games during the Giants’ 2000 Super Bowl run, adding a sack in the NFC Championship Game. Overall, his career with Big Blue included 14 sacks and 45 tackles for a loss.
DT Damon Harrison, 2016
“Snacks,” another Jets-to-Giants signee, didn’t spend long with the Giants but made his mark. He was an All-Pro in 2016 and the best run stopper on a team that allowed the third fewest yards per game in the NFL. In two-plus seasons with the Giants, he also added four sacks and 17 tackles for a loss