[Note by Ed Valentine, 06/03/13 3:46 PM EDT: This now a moot point as the Giants have signed wide receiver Keith Carlos. Well, the speculation was fun while it lasted.]
Eighty nine of the New York Giants' 90 roster spots are filled. But with one spot available, will the team look to the free-agent market to fill the hole?
A number of positions remain a bit of a question at this point in the off-season, including running back, fullback and linebacker.
David Wilson is expected to become the lead dog in the backfield, with Andre Brown as a key contributor. Behind Wilson and Brown are Ryan Torain, Da'Rel Scott and seventh-round pick Michael Cox, all of whom are relatively questionable role players.
Would the New York Giants look to Tim Hightower to add depth to the position? The team worked out the former Washington Redskins back at the start of the May, but since then Hightower has been connected to returning to D.C. in a reserve role.
The New York Giants could also kick the tires on some familiar faces in the form of D.J. Ware and Ahmad Bradshaw. Ware was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in April and really has not been mentioned as an option for any team.
Bradshaw, who was linked to the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the NFL Draft, would probably be the best bet. Bradshaw knows the offense, appears to be healthy and with the market appearing to be closed on the veteran running back could be a cheap option.
Another avenue could be fullback.
With Henry Hynoski going down with an injury, perhaps fullback is a position the New York Giants will consider. Hynoski underwent surgery to repair his knee and could potentially return in time for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8, but that remains an ideal scenario at this point.
Right now, the New York Giants are mixing and matching the tight ends and the fullbacks in an effort to replace Hynoski. Bear Parscoe is being mentioned as a versatile option to replace Hynoski, as are free agents Mike Cox, Corey McIntyre and Tony Fiammetta.
If Hynoski's prognosis is accurate -- or at least close to that -- an early season return could mean the team will not sign another fullback, especially with the market being as baron as it is. Pascoe could slide to fullback while Adrien Robinson and Brandon Myers rotate at tight end.
And the most pressing issue throughout the off-season has been the state of the linebacking corps, which is now without veterans Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn. Mark Herzlich will have the first crack at manning the middle and former first-round pick Keith Rivers will likely start on the strong-side. When healthy, Jacquian Williams will probably get the chance to start on the weak-side. Behind this contingency of unproven products is an aging Dan Connor and Aaron Curry who is fighting to prove he doesn't deserve the "bust label."
The best remaining free-agent backer on the market is Daryl Smith. The former Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowler has been slapped with a red flag this off-season as he recovers from a groin injury, and at 31 he has not generated the interest he would have commanded two or three years ago.
The Jacksonville Jaguars would appear to be the most likely landing spot for the veteran, though with the new front office in place it is anything but a sure bet. The New York Giants could add him -- likely at a low cost -- to compete with their unproven backers.
So basically, the New York Giants need to consider whether depth at running back or uncertainty at linebacker is the bigger issue. Wilson will be entering his first year as a starting NFL running back and his back-up, Brown, faces injury concerns. Though he too is a bit of an injury risk, Bradshaw could be an affordable, low-cost, high-reward option.
Should they take the linebacker route, Smith could also come at a low cost. The New York Giants may feel comfortable with the competition going on at the position and having Connor as a fallback option in the middle, but because Smith has failed to generate a market should come cheap and perhaps surprise.
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