When you sign as many free agents in one off-season as the New York Giants did in 2014, 26 in all when you count re-signing their own guys, you know that some will work out and some will flop. That, of course, was the case for the Giants last season.
ESPN's Dan Graziano recently went player-by-player through the list and offered his thoughts on the success or failure of each move, and each player's potential future with the Giants.
Let's go through the list ourselves, and try to categorize them based on their potential future, or lack thereof, with the Giants.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (5 years, $35 million): Rodgers-Cromartie was signed to be a guy who could cover Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson and other big-time play-making receivers. Unquestionably, signing DRC was a gamble for the Giants. Rodgers-Cromartie was hampered by injuries much of the year, and the Giants probably rarely saw him at his best. The Giants will simply hope Rodgers-Cromartie is healthy next season and plays like the elite guy he has shown in the past that he can be.
LB Jon Beason (3 years, $17 million): We talked about Beason's future recently. I don't think the veteran middle linebacker is going anywhere, but the contract the Giants signed the oft-injured Beason to looks like a massive overpay. He carries a $7.366 million 2015 cap hit and a $6.566 million 2016 cap hit. You have to believe the Giants will want to re-structure that deal.
G Geoff Schwartz (4 years, $16.8 million): Schwartz played only five quarters of football for the Giants in 2014, and in that limited time showed the Giants what they were missing. They will bank on him being healthy in 2015 and earning that contract.
RB Rashad Jennings (4 years, $10 million): No complaints here about the contract, or the production. He battled some injury issues, but is a quality player. Perhaps after next off-season you can see the Giants trying to get out from under or re-structure the deal, but not now.
LB Jameel McClain (2 years, $4.5 million): He was productive for the Giants, but Beason is the 2015 middle linebacker and Devon Kennard should be the SAM. That makes McClain a backup, and it makes his $3.4 million cap hit tough to swallow. The Giants could re-structure him, or cut him and save $3.1 million against the cap.
DE Robert Ayers (2 years, $3.75 million): Very productive as a pass rusher when given the opportunity, and should have played more snaps than he did before being injured. Ayers' 2015 cap number is $2.5 million, and he's worth it.
CB Walter Thurmond (1 year, $3 million): Only played two games, but this guy is a quality player and the Giants should bring him back. Ideally, the Giants would be able to get him on another one-year deal.
CB Trumaine McBride (2 years, $2.875 million): Quality depth. Must keep.
K Josh Brown (2 years, $2.5 million): Had the best season of his career in 2014. He's earning his money.
FB Henry Hynoski (1 year, $1 million): The Giants don't use the fullback a lot, and probably not enough if they are serious about running the ball better. Hynoski should be back.
CB Zack Bowman (1 year, $795,000): Quality depth and good special teams player. Shouldn't be costly to bring back.
On The Bubble
C J.D. Walton (2 years, $6 million): Carries a $3.125 million cap number in 2015, way too much for a guy who seems destined to end up as a backup to Weston Richburg. The Giants can save $2.5 million against the cap by cutting him, and they probably should. He is a center only, and you would like your backups to have positional versatility.
S Stevie Brown (1 year, $2.75 million): I could see him back on a less expensive one-year deal, but that's all.
RB Peyton Hillis (2 years, $1.8 million): His career might be over after his latest concussion.
DT Mike Patterson (1 year, $920,000): Might be back on another one-year deal, but you would like to think the Giants could get younger, and better, here.
LB Spencer Paysinger (1 year, $1.431 million): Never plays, no reason to keep him.
S Quintin Demps (1 year, $1 million): A flop as a returner and only so-so as a safety. Move on.
G John Jerry (1 year, $795,000): Horrid run-blocker. Giants need to upgrade.
Offensive tackle Charles Brown made the team, was terrible when the Giants finally needed him to play, and got cut. The following guys never even made the team:
WR Mario Manningham, QB Curtis Painter, TE Kellen Davis, KR Trindon Holliday, WR Travis Harvey, QB Josh Freeman, QB Rusty Smith.