So, the NFL free-agent shopping bonanza begins Friday. I have seen a bunch of lists offering potential targets for our New York Giants, so let's discuss the possibilities.
A good place to start might be the following list from The Sporting News. I will give you their list, and reasoning. My thoughts will be italicized.
1. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
There is no way to find a comparable replacement to Plaxico Burress, as 6-5 receivers with speed and a huge wingspan are almost impossible to find. Burress faces a serious legal battle and possible jail time as a result of illegal gun charges.
My thoughts: It is a no-brainer that the Giants would check the market for Houshmandzadeh. But, the price will be high and the Giants don't do bidding wars.
2. Bart Scott, LB, Baltimore Ravens
The Giants patched their linebacker position together last season, and the results were not good. They were unable to replace Kawika Mitchell, who joined the Buffalo Bills via free agency. This team rarely shells out big money on linebackers, though.
My thoughts: Nice player, but again the price will be very high. I don't see it.
3. Jermaine Phillips, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kenny Phillips did not gain a starting job as expected his rookie year, but is waiting in the wings with the anticipated loss of James Butler. If Butler goes, it leaves youngsters Michael Johnson and Phillips. If the Giants want to add an impact player, Phillips is the best. The New England Patriots' James Sanders is a cheaper option.
My thoughts: Nope. If the Giants wanted to shell out real money for a safety, they would keep Butler. Or, they would have kep Gibril Wilson a year ago.
4. Dominic Rhodes, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The anticipated loss in free agency of 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Ward leaves the offense without a proven backup to Brandon Jacobs. Coaches are high on Ahmad Bradshaw and also like Danny Ware. The Giants tried to sign Rhodes once before, and he would be a solid third-down back and a veteran presence.
My thoughts: Why does every supposed 'expert' I read think the Giants need a running back so badly. Personally, I think it's a position where the Giants have very little to worry about right now.
5. Bertrand Berry, DE, Arizona Cardinals
Another defensive end for a team seemingly stacked with them? The Giants never believe they can have too many and if they move end Mathias Kiwanuka to linebacker there will be a need for a third end in a rotation with starters Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Veterans Renaldo Wynn and Jerome McDougle are free agents and not expected back, and Berry could fit nicely in as a swing end. Demetric Evans of the Redskins is younger and more of a run-stopper as an alternative.
My thoughts: Since Kiwanuka is staying at end, this is not happening.
One name it appears you can forget about is Marvin Harrison. Tom Rock of Newsday reports that the Giants have no interest in the aging former Indianapolis star.
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the top players available.
I know it's great to speculate on who the Giants might go after. Remember, though, the Giants are not the New York Yankees. They don't make splashy signings, they don't get into bidding wars and they don't overpay for big names.
As they usually do, I think the Giants will end up making a handful of under-the-radar type signings to add some depth to their defense at tackle, in the secondary and maybe at linebacker. A backup offensive lineman and, maybe, if the right fit is out there, a receiver to add to the mix. They will also look for solid kick coverage players, so someone like Dallas reserve safety Keith Davis (kudos to Mike Dougherty at Giants Journal on this suggestion) might make sense.
[NOTE: Oops! Got a little ahead of myself. This one wasn't supposed to run until Thursday, but I can't take it back now.]