Let's sort through the various reactions to -- and ramifications of -- the New York Giants rather stunning signing Sunday of DT/DE Chris Canty.
After adding linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, the addition of Canty is an unexpected bonus prize for the normally conservative Giants.
Here is what the Giants' decision-makers said about the moves.
"We had a conviction on who we liked in the free agent market and who could help us get better," said General Manager Jerry Reese of this weekend's three signings. "We let the three players know that, and the feeling was mutual. They want to win, and they wanted to be here. Fortunately, we were able to get the deals done quickly."
"Chris is an athletic, big man who can play anywhere in our front," said Reese. "He gives us a lot of flexibility in that respect. Our defensive line did a very good job last year, but without Osi and Stray, we seemed to get worn down late in the season and we weren't able to generate the kind of pass rush that we’re accustomed to. Hopefully with the addition of Rocky and Chris, and with Osi coming back, that won't happen again."
Added Head Coach Tom Coughlin, "This is an outstanding 'get' for the New York Giants. Chris is a very highly touted player. He is an outstanding football player. I always like the idea of getting a player who has competed within the division."
I reached out to Dave Halprin, lead blogger at SBN's Cowboys' site, Blogging the Boys, for a reaction. Maybe he's hiding his real feelings, but he doesn't seem all that upset about losing Canty to a division rival.
Chris Canty is a pretty good player but the contract you guys signed him to is not something I would be willing to give him as a GM. That's just too rich for the production we got out of him for four years. He was a solid contributor but never blossomed into the dominant force we thought he would be. He played DE in our 3-4 so he took on a lot of double teams which limited his stats but he was a guy who could really disappear during a gme for long strecthces. He plays the run well enough but he never got a lot of penetration and rarely disrupted plays in the opponent's backfield. Physically he looks the part and maybe playing in a 4-3 will unleash his inner beast. But we got tired of waiting for that.
Don't get me wrong, he's a good player but he's not a great player and we just weren't willing to pay him that kind of money. We think we have some backups who could give us similar production or we could bring in a few replacements through the draft. You guys got a good player but most Cowboys fans would say you overpaid.
ESPN's Matt Mosley says Canty is a player Coughlin has coveted for a long time.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin has coveted Canty for years. He watched him play for his friend Al Groh at the University of Virginia and then saw Bill Parcells select him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. Canty's draft stock plummeted because of an eye injury that occurred when someone threw a bottle in a nightclub.
The Giants love the fact that Canty can play two positions. They'll move him to defensive end when they need to load up against the run. Some people thought Canty's asking price in free agency ($8 million per year) was a little steep, but he came pretty close. And something tells me Canty might find another gear in the two games against the Cowboys each year.
I thought Canty was poised to become a Pro Bowl player heading into the 2008 season, but that didn't pan out. Now, he'll have a clean slate with the Giants. I didn't think they would have the cap room to land both Canty and Bernard, but it all worked out.
A lot of folks are giving the Redskins the early lead in free-agency moves, but the Giants have been more efficient. Michael Boley, Bernard and Canty will help fortify a defense that lost its bite last December.
Don't underestimate Canty's relationship with Groh and Bill Parcells in this signing. General manager Jerry Reese is the one who pulled the trigger, but I assure you that Coughlin has been in his ear about Canty for months.
Finally, since the Canty signing there here has been a lot of talk about the future of Fred Robbins with the Giants. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post sees no indication Robbins' roster spot is in jeopardy. Patricia Traina of Inside Football agrees.
Do I think that the addition of Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty mean that a trade is in the works involving a Giants defensive lineman and perhaps a draft pick for a wide out (possibly Braylon Edwards of Cleveland)?
While I won’t dismiss the idea as preposterous – I have heard whispers that the Giants might seek to make a trade for a wide receiver IF Plaxico Burress’ scheduled March 31 court date doesn't yield desirable results, I think it’s premature to say that the addition of the two defensive linemen mean a trade is in the works.
Why? Again, the injury factor. Remember, both starting DTs Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield are coming off of recent off-season knee surgeries, with Cofield’s rumored to have been a little more complex. While the Giants are optimistic that both will be okay, the fact of the matter is that going into free agency, the Giants were VERY thin at this position and they needed to boost the depth.
So my answer to whether the Giants might package up a defensive lineman and an extra draft pick in exchange for a receiver, is that while I wouldn’t rule it out, it depends on 1) how well Robbins, Cofield and Umenyiora continue to progress over the next few weeks and 2) what happens with Burress.
Another question I’ve received is if I think the Giants will release Robbins. Right now I would say no. People seem to forget that prior to suffering all of his injuries, Robbins was playing at the top of his game. I don’t think the Giants are hurting for salary cap space (I’ll be re-calculating that figure by the way once I get the breakdown on the Bernard and Canty contracts), and I have a feeling they’re going to address their other needs (i.e., safety) via the draft. So it’s not like they would need the $425K cap savings they’d get if they terminated Robbins’ contract ($2M base less the $1.575M remaining prorated singing bonus).
Very interesting stuff.