FOXBORO, MA - FILE: Brandon Meriweather #31 of the New England Patriots reacts with teammate James Sanders #36 after Meriweather intercepted a pass against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. According to reports on March 10, 2011, Meriweather allegedly shot two men on February 27, 2011 in Apopka, Florida. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
With Antrel Rolle being frequently burned like the rubber on an Indy car's tires and the status of Deon Grant hitting the free agency market, the need at the safety position could prove eminent. The question here is do the New York Giants have enough talent in their backups to fill the position?
If they did, we probably would have seen them on the field more. The fact remains that Rolle and Grant took the vast majority of the snaps, leaving little room to see who or if there was someone that the Giants could trust to take on the task of safety.
With the salary cap as it is and the Free Agent market having a few steals, the time to bring some talent in, on the cheap, could be at hand. One of the most promising names on the free agency list is Brandon Meriweather. There are some other choice names on the Safety/Defensive Back list, like LaRon Landry and Cortland Finnegan. Given the Giants' situation, Meriweather is definitely the best fit. Let's take a look at why.
First, let's take a gander at LaRon Landry. He was once regarded, and still is for some, to be one of the best safeties in the league. He was drafted in the first round, sixth-overall, by the Washington Redskins in 2007. Last year, ESPN ranked the top ten safeties in the NFL. Landry came in at the bottom of the list, which is still a great place to be considering the amount of safeties in the league. In short, Landry was considered to be one of the elite safeties in the NFL.
Currently, Landry looks like He-Man. If there was a steroid witch-hunt going on right now, he would be the primary suspect. The guy looks Photoshopped. His physique is not in question. His ability to play football is. For the second straight year, his left Achilles injury shut him down. Is that, in and of itself, a cause for his stock value to drop? Perhaps a little. But it is his decision making that leave many wondering if his best days are behind him.
LaRon Landry made the conscious choice to defy the doctors and pass on much needed surgery. Landry hopes that the injury will heal itself, no pun intended. His decision seems to have made the Redskins turn the other cheek, as Landry is currently without a contract. In the open market, he may try for the big dollar, as his history would command. But his health status won't bring about a heavy monetized, lengthy type of deal. He will have to prove himself this year, if he wants to see the all-mighty dollar in future years. The Giants won't gamble the money or the slot on Landry.
Cortland Finnegan would be a fine addition. Again, we find the Giants with the same salary cap issues. Finnegan's performance over the last few years has proved that he is worth some coin. He's a scrappy kid that is not afraid to throw down the gauntlet. Alas, money talks and the Giants front office team will let him walk.
That brings us to Brandon Meriweather. The Chicago Bears are highly unlikely to re-sign Meriweather. Lovie Smith didn't feel that Meriweather fit in with his scheme. Smith may wind up regretting his decision. Meriweather's ranking on ESPN's top ten safety list was in the number-eight position. Granted, the list was analyzed and published before the season began.
Brandon Meriweather was a first round pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He is a two-time Pro-Bowler and has been to the Super Bowl, having lost to the New York Giants, of course.
The Bears only started Meriweather four times last season. He played in eleven games and recorded thirty-two combined tackles with two pass deflections. Not staggering numbers. Now, with Lovie Smith ready to cut him loose, Meriweather's price tag will need to drop - making him one of those steals that Jerry Reese loves. The Bears signed him to a one-year, two-and-a-quarter million dollar deal last season.
Meriweather has speed, recording a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash in the 2007 NFL Combine. Speed is something Big Blue's secondary desperately needs. He has prototypical size for his position and is only going into his sixth-season in the league. Even at two-mill, he would be a bargain. But Meriweather's number will most likely be lower than that, especially if the G-Men go after him. With the cuts that the front office will be making, Meriweather can fill a position that may need it and come in at a great price.