Giants make shrewd free agency moves despite not having the money they had in ’16

Curtis Rawls
Cover32
Giants
Giants

The New York Giants had more than $200 million at their disposal during 2016’s free agency period. They uncharacteristically got out their checkbooks and brought in players who were instrumental in the 11-5 2016 campaign that ended with a playoff appearance.

This year, the Giants didn’t have as much money to play with as they had in ’16. In spite of the financial limitations, general manager Jerry Reese made some good moves.

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The biggest splash was the signing of free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall is an improvement over the released Victor Cruz if he is able to recapture some semblance of the form that earned him six Pro Bowl berths. He provides size on the outside and will be the first legitimate red zone threat in a Giants uniform since Plaxico Burress.

The Giants also made headlines by signing fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison. Ellison is primarily a blocker, something the Giants desperately need after averaging only 88.3 rushing yards per game.

The team also brought in offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who spent his entire career with the former San Diego Chargers. They also re-signed John Jerry. The Giants are reportedly not finished strengthening their offensive line. They rumored to be interested in acquiring former New York Jets center Nick Mangold.

They even brought in quarterback Geno Smith. Whether or not he can be Eli Manning’s successor is debatable, but perhaps a change of scenery (even though he’s coming from the Jets) could be just what the doctor ordered. Manning hasn’t missed a game since becoming the starter in 2004 so it’s unlikely Smith will see action in a meaningful game.

Every need wasn’t met as the Giants didn’t pick up a short yardage back. Paul Perkins averaged more than four yards a carry in 2016. He is expected to take over since the team released the under-performing Rashad Jennings. Shane Vereen spent most of last season on the injured list but having him in the fold can only help.

The Giants may look to the Draft for a quality back that run into between the tackles and on the goal line. They could still add a back in free agency. LeGarrette Blount is still available as is Adrian Peterson.

Going on a wild spending spree in free agency doesn’t always work. Just ask Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder about the 2000 offseason when he brought in what was left of Mark Carrier, Deion Sanders, and Bruce Smith.

The Giants weren’t interested in dominating headlines or winning the offseason. They went after players who fill specific needs that will make them a better team and build on their momentum from 2016.

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