Keith Rivers of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Geez, the New York Giants couldn't wait one more day to provide an explosion of off-season news. Couldn't let me finish my vacation in peace, could you Jerry Reese and Co. You had to go and make a trade, a free-agent signing and host a very high-profile draft prospect for a visit on Wednesday, didn't you? The day I was traveling back from vacation.
Anyway, now that I'm done kvetching about all of that let's forget about a morning 'news and notes.' Instead, let's play a little catch-up and provide some thoughts on the events surrounding the defending Super Bowl champions on Wednesday.
1. Giants Trade For LB Keith Rivers
The Giants swapped a fifth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Rivers, the oft-injured ninth overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft. Rivers missed all of last season and has never made it through any of his four NFL seasons without missing some time with injuries. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Rivers missed all of last season with a wrist injury, but had 77 tackles in 15 games during 2010. You know Reese and the Giants see untapped potential, much like they see with Martellus Bennett, signed as a free agent to plug the tight end void.
In 2010, Pro Football Focus graded Rivers at +9.0, ninth among all 4-3 outside linebackers. He was +9.2 against the run. In 2009 Rivers was +7.6, 12th overall among outside linebackers. That included a +5.6 against the run. So, the 25-year-old can play -- if he can stay on the field.
How does this impact the Giants? Best guess here is that Rivers plays the weak side with Michael Boley moving to the middle. You can say goodbye to Jonathan Goff, who appeared headed elsewhere, anyway. You can say goodbye to Chase Blackburn. You can also forget Mark Herzlich or Greg Jones getting opportunities to start. The bigger question -- provided Rivers can stay on the field -- is how this impact the playing time of Mathias Kiwanuka and Jacquain Williams.
Rivers is in the final year of a deal that will reportedly pay him $2.16 million in 2012. Thus, like Bennett, the Giants are getting a talented player who seems to have under-achieved at this point in his career who should be highly motivated to perform next season.
In all honesty, I really don't know anything about Rivers other than what the numbers tell me. I love this move, though. First-round talent in exchange for a fifth-round pick, and a guy who -- like Goff had been before being injured -- is a very solid run defender. That should help shore up an area where the Giants had difficulty in 2011.
2. Giants Sign OT Sean Locklear
The most obvious thought is that the Giants Wednesday signed Locklear as a replacement for Kareem McKenzie at right tackle. I think that is possible, but it certainly does not sound like the eight-year veteran, who has 82 starts in 105 career games, is being handed the job.
"I talked to all of the coaches - the offensive line coach (Pat Flaherty), Coach (Tom) Coughlin. They said ‘Come and compete, just like everybody else. Nothing is handed to you.' Which, we all know that. Nothing's handed to me. So I'm excited to get here and obviously learn and be ready to get back to playing football."
Most likely this is bad news for veterans Stacy Andrews and Tony Ugoh, who would seem much likely to be brought back to training camp now. It might also indicate -- although I am just guessing -- that the Giants could be thinking about leaving David Diehl at left guard, where he began last season.
Does it also indicate maybe they aren't sold on young James Brewer? Could be. At the very least this was a typical low-cost Reese signing -- a useful veteran player who can help the Giants even if he is nothing more than insurance.
3. Giants Work Out Mohamed Sanu
The Rutgers wide receiver reportedly worked out privately for the Giants on Wednesday. Most draft analysts seem to agree that the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Sanu is not likely to be a first-round pick. Thus, Sanu would seem to be a reach at 32, where the Giants are in the first round, and the Giants rarely reach that early. Sanu is the 43rd ranked prospect on the National Football Post Big Board, so if he happens to fall to the end of the second round he might be in play for the Giants. After all, Jerrel Jernigan, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden are all question marks as replacements for Mario Manningham.