One thing that New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has done well over the years is identify talented players from other organizations who, for whatever reason, have not gotten a full opportunity, bring them to East Rutherford and get some quality play from them.
Going back a number of years, fullback Madison Hedgecock and wide receiver Dominik Hixon come to mind. More recently, players like Stevie Brown, Jon Beason are examples. Even players like Preston Parker and Mike Harris, who contributed in 2014, fit into that category.
Could Seattle Seahawks safety Jeron Johnson be a player who fits into that mold?
Johnson, who will be 27 next season, has been a backup safety for the Seahawks for four seasons. During that time he has been stuck behind three-time All Pro free safety Earl Thomas and three-time Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor. Both of those players arrived in Seattle a year before Johnson made the squad as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State.
Now, Johnson has a chance to finally escape the shadows of Thomas and Chancellor. Could the Giants, with Antrel Rolle, Quintin Demps and Brown all headed to free agency, and only untested youngsters Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe certain to be back, be the team to give Johnson that opportunity?
As you might expect, Johnson has played little during his four seasons. He has just one start, which came in place of Chancellor this season, is 46 career regular-season games.
Danny Kelly, editor of SB Nation's Seahawks web site, Field Gulls, gave the following scouting report on Johnson:
"Hasn't gotten a ton of action because of the players in front of him (Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas), but when he's played he's been solid. He's a box safety more than anything -- strong against the run, a strong tackler, physical, tenacious," Kelly said. "He's a mainstay on special teams. Is useful in "big nickel" situations where you want a little more speed without sacrificing too much in tackling ability. It's tough to know how good he'd be in a starting role because he's rarely played."
Kelly does expect Johnson to seek a team where he could compete for a starting job.
"The Seahawks probably will make him a lowish offer but he's said that while he's loved it in Seattle, he wants to start somewhere, so it's likely he'll look for a new team," Kelly said.
Other teams that could be in play for Johnson include the Jacksonville Jaguars, where former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is head coach, and the Washington Redskins. New Washington GM Scot McCloughan was a member of the Seattle personnel department when Johnson was signed.
Is Johnson a player who would interest you, Giants fans?