The New York Giants have been busy in NFL Free Agency 2014. Let's asses the moves made by the Giants with an old standby, a free agency 'Kudos & Wet Willies' post.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie [Contract: Five years, $35 million 2014 Cap Hit: $2.75M] -- Look back DRC's career, particularly his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, and you know there is risk here. There is also tremendous upside. When he's engaged, Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the league's premier cornerbacks. We know that isn't always the case, and the fact that this will be DRC's fourth NFL stop in seven seasons is evidence of that. For me, though, this signing shows without any doubt that the Giants are 'All In' to try for one last run while Tom Coughlin is still the head coach and it should be lauded on that basis alone. Kudos
G Geoff Schwartz [Contract: Four years, $16.8 million 2014 Cap Hit: $2.325M] -- The Giants desperately needed to upgrade the interior of an offensive line that was, well, offensive in 2013. They got the best guard on the market, a 27-year-old road-grader, without overpaying. Schwartz seems like a standup guy who should be a good fit in the Giants' locker room. Besides, the Twitter account in honor of Schwartz' dog, @OsloPepperoni, is awesome. What's not to like? Kudos
CB Walter Thurmond [Contract: One year, $1.975M 2014 Cap Hit: $3M] -- Love this signing. Thurmond is an excellent young corner who was looking for a place to prove his worth as a full-time player. Even with DRC keeping Thurmond in the slot and not outside, the Giants offer him that. Thurmond offers the Giants a huge upgrade in athleticism and upside from Terrell Thomas, at a reasonable cost.
SS/KR Quintin Demps [Contract: One year, $1M 2014 Cap Hit: $1M] -- On paper, the Giants have a lot of talent at safety even without Demps. Yet, there are always question about when Will Hill will end up in some sort of trouble with the league again. There are questions about Stevie Brown after he missed last season with a torn ACL. There are questions about whether or not Cooper Taylor will develop into a useful defender. Demps adds security at safety and explosiveness as a kickoff returner if the Giants choose to put him in that role. As evidenced by my recent interview with him, Demps is also a class act. Kudos
RB Rashad Jennings [Contract: Four years, $10 million 2014 Cap Hit: $1.312.M] -- When the offseason began my position was re-signing Andre Brown would be OK, but looking for an upgrade would be better. I believe the Giants found that upgrade in Jennings, who turns 29 later this month -- and they didn't pay crazy money to do it. Kudos
LB Jameel McClain [Contract: Two years, $4.5 million 2014 Cap Hit: $1.79375M] -- McClain is a good, not great, player. He brings some versatility to the table, as well as being more of a presence than ex-Giants Keith Rivers ever was. Kudos
C J.D. Walton [Contract: Two years, $5M 2014 Cap Hit: $1.875M] -- Walton, by default, is currently the Giants' starting center. With the contract they gave him, which included $3 million guaranteed, the Giants must be expecting things to stay that way. That's a lot of money to give to, and a lot of faith to put in, a player who has not taken an NFL snap since early in the 2011 season. This might be great. It might be a train wreck. It really only makes sense if the Giants use a mid-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on a center. Kwillie
WR/KR Trindon Holliday [Contract: One year, $700,000 2014 Cap Hit: $700,000] -- This one surprised me, although maybe with the Giants' issues last season in the return game maybe it shouldn't have. Coming after the signing of Demps, though, it caught me off guard. Holliday is explosive, but with his history of ball security woes (11 fumbles in 31 games) the Giants run the risk of watching Coughlin's head explode if Holliday can't hang onto the ball. Kwillie
WR Mario Manningham [Contract: One year, $635,000 2014 Cap Hit: $635,000] -- Many Giants' fans are happy to have Manningham back in blue, and Super Mario is glad to be back. He probably should be, because after a torn ACL and PCL that has landed him injured reserve two straight years I don't know how many other teams would give Manningham a chance. Everyone needs to adjust their expectations here. Manningham is not the 60-catch guy of a few years ago, and has to prove he can be somewhat useful to even make the team. Still, no risk here and worth a shot. Kudos
LB Jon Beason [Contract: Three years, $16.8 million 2014 Cap Hit: $3.1416M] -- The Giants had to bring Beason back. did they overpay? Probably, but Beason likely had more value to the Giants than any other team. Kudos
K Josh Brown [Contract: Two years, $2.6 million 2014 Cap Hit -- $1.35M] -- There was no reason for this not to happen. Kudos
S Stevie Brown [Contract : One year, $2.75 million 2014 Cap Hit: $2.75M] -- Brown was a play-maker for the Giants in 2012, and they basically chose him over Ryan Mundy for next season. Good call. Kudos
LB Mark Herzlich [Contract: One year, $1 million 2014: Cap Hit: $1M] -- Herzlich has never panned out as a starting linebacker, but he is excellent on coverage teams -- and the Giants certainly need players like that. Kudos
RB Peyton Hillis [Contract: Two years, $1.8 million 2014 Cap Hit: $855,000] -- The Ice Wagon did a good job for the Giants last season after they picked him up off the NFL scrap heap. He isn't fast or explosive, but he can get you whatever yardage is available, he can catch, he can pass block and he provides some veteran depth. Kudos
FB Henry Hynoski [Contract: One year, $1 million 2014 Cap Hit: $1M] -- Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this one. The Giants already have a quality fullback under contract in John Conner, so it's a bit surprising to see Hynoski back -- especially at more than the veteran minimum. Will this be a straight-up competition, or will new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo have some plan for ways to use both guy? We'll see. Kwillie
QB Curtis Painter [Contract: One year, $795,000 2014 Cap Hit: $635,000] -- Meh. My guess is nobody outside Painter's family really wants him to win the backup quarterback job in 2014. The Giants had to have a veteran to at least bring into camp, and he was already here. Kwillie
CB Trumaine McBride [Contract: Two years, $2.875 million 2014 Cap Hit: $1.2093M] -- After a surprisingly good season in 2013 the Giants have brought McBride back. That's a good move. Another good move is that they have added Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond, turning McBride into valuable depth -- which is probably really what he is -- rather than a starting corner. Kudos
LB Spencer Paysinger [Contract: One year, $1.431 million 2014 Cap Hit: $1.431M] -- Paysinger may never be a great player, but he is at least an adequate one. If Beason gets hurt, Paysinger might even slide into the middle linebacker role. He is also a good special teams player. Kudos
Players Who Left
The Giants have thus far lost Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Ryan Mundy, Brandon Myers, Hakeem Nicks and Kevin Boothe. The only head-scratcher is really Tuck. It was a bit surprising the Giants wouldn't go beyond two years and $5 million for Tuck, 31, despite the team's obvious intent to get younger. The other thing is, right now we don't know how the Giants will replace him. Give the treatment of Tuck a 'Wet Willie' if you want, but give Reese credit for sticking to his guns. Let's see how he replaces the Giants' former defensive captain.
What's Left To Be Done?
The Giants still have holes. They appear to have set themselves up in a way where it makes sense to think they will target receiving help -- be it tight end or wide receiver -- in the draft. You have to believe they will also continue to look for low-cost depth in the free-agent market along both the offensive and defensive lines.