The patient Giants wait and pounce on good deals, unlike other clueless franchises. General manager Jerry Reese scored cheap, quality signings by obtaining Brandon Myers, Cullen Jenkins and Dan Connor. All three figure to be valuable contributors in 2013, and they were acquired for a combined five years, $11 million. That's how you handle free agency.
Yes. Yes, indeed it is.
General manager Jerry Reese says there is no "template" for how the team handles free agency.
"People ask you, what's your strategy? I don't think there's a template," Reese told Tim Ryan & Pat Kirwan. "Some years you have more money than other years and you think 'I can get out and strike quickly.' You have to strike when you can. Other times you have to sit back and wait and let the market settle down a little bit."
There is, however, a pattern.
The Giants rarely overspend for players, either their own or free agents from other teams. You can argue they overspent for Antrel Rolle (five years, $37 million), but there was a huge need at safety and that type of spending has been the exception rather than the rule.
For the most part the Giants have always done what they did this year. Skip the bidding wars for the high-end free agents. Troll for bargains. Replace expensive veterans with similarly talented, less expensive veterans.
Cut Chris Canty. Replace with Cullen Jenkins. Save money, end up with a player as good, maybe better.
Cut Michael Boley. Keep Keith Rivers. Save money, keep a player with similar skills to Boley.
Replace Chase Blackburn with Dan Connor on a short-term deal. Bring in a bargain-bin middle linebacker who is younger than Blackburn and probably a better run defender on a 'prove it' deal.
Replace a good veteran placekicker (Lawrence Tynes) who wanted a big payday with a good veteran placekicker (Josh Brown) willing to work for the veteran minimum.
Wait out the market for Kevin Boothe and bring him back for less than you probably would have spent two months ago.
Rather than hunt for an expensive veteran cornerback take the one you already have (Corey Webster) and get him to take a pay cut.
Lose Osi Umenyiora? Big deal. He wanted too much money, and the Giants have Mathias Kiwanuka and a plethora of young players to fill that spot.
Lose Kenny Phillips, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden. Add veteran depth on minimum contracts in cornerback Aaron Ross, safety Ryan Mundy and wide receiver Louis Murphy.
Get all of this accomplished with only a tiny sliver of room to work with under the NFL salary cap.
This is excellent work by Reese and the Giants. As I indicated when making the Jonathan Cooper selection in the Big Blue View Community Mock Draft the Giants have now set themselves up beautifully for the 2013 NFL Draft. The entire board is wide open. There isn't one position where the Giants, as currently constructed, lack options. You can argue there is a need for a right tackle, but you can also argue that a competition between David Diehl, James Brewer and Brandon Mosley is acceptable. When Reese selects at 19 this April he can look at the players available and take the best value regardless of position.
Which is exactly the position he, and the Giants, like to be in.