Considering the emphasis the New York Giants placed on character during the 2014 NFL Draft, selecting seven players who had been team captains, it might be surprising that guard John Jerry was one of the Giants' plethora of free-agent signings. Jerry, of course, was one of the players the Wells Report implicated in the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.
Let's look at Jerry's past and see why the Giants signed him as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster that will report to training camp for the Giants on July 21.
2013 Season In Review
On the field, Jerry started all 16 games at right guard for the Dolphins for the second consecutive season. Jerry was excellent as a pass-blocker, grading out at +6.8, according to Pro Football Focus. His run-blocking score of -10.4, however, left much to be desired. That, honestly, is a bit surprising for the 6-foot-5, 340-pound Jerry. Off the field, his involvement in the bullying scandal led the Dolphins to release him.
2014 Season Outlook
With the future of Chris Snee uncertain, the Giants were seeking a better backup plan at guard than they had in 2013. That led them to gamble on the 28-year-old Jerry, who seemingly did not have suitors knocking down his door this offseason. Jerry missed the entire offseason program due to knee surgery, but the Giants expect him to be available for training camp. If Snee, who missed all of mini-camp and much of OTAs due to issues with his surgically-repaired elbow, can't play the Giants believe Jerry could be his replacement. Without both Snee and Jerry, third-year man Brandon Mosley took first-team reps during offseason workouts.
"We signed him and he signed with us for the opportunity to be a starter for the New York Giants," said offensive line coach Pat Flaherty.
At the time of the signing, Giants' GM Jerry Reese said the Giants "did our homework on John ... We were satisfied with the answers we got about John as a player and person."
Kevin Nogle of SB Nation's Dolphins web site, The Phinsider, had this to say about Jerry and his involvement in the bullying scandal:
"I think he just joined in the group, and it's portrayed poorly. Would I be surprised if he were suspended for a game, no because of the publicity of the story and the league looking to make a statement. But, I don't think he is a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination, and he should not get crushed by the league at all. It was actually a little of a surprise that he was even included in the report. Pouncey and Incognito weren't a surprise," Nogle said.
Jerry, entering his fifth NFL season, started every game for Miami the past two seasons, and has 45 career starts (42 at right guard, three at left tackle).
Here is more about Jerry as a player, again from The Phinsider's Nogle:
"He's a good, solid player who has the potential to be something special, but just doesn't seem to have the desire to reach that potential," Nogle wrote. "Every year, competition was brought in for him, and every year, he would win the position - but it was always a battle.
"Biggest knock is his weight. He has problems keeping it down - especially in the offseason."
If Jerry is healthy this Fall, and his head is screwed on straight, his proven pass-blocking ability could be a huge asset to the Giants as they try to get Eli Manning and their offense straightened out. The Giants signed Jerry to a one-year, $795,000 deal. That means if the Giants don't like what they see from Jerry on the field or in the locker room, they can easily move on from him without costing themselves significant money.