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2016 NFL free agency primer: New York Giants to begin critical shopping spree

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Teams can begin negotiating with free agents today.

Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NFL free agency begins Monday at noon when what is referred to as the "legal tampering" window opens. The New York Giants, with Over The Cap estimating they have $55.74 million to spend against the $155.27 million 2016 salary cap, are expected to be aggressive after three straight losing seasons.

Let's break it down.

Mario Williams and Charles Johnson

Players who have already been released by their former teams can visit, negotiate with, and sign with new teams before the actual free agency signing period begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 9. That is because they currently are not under contract to anyone. The Giants, per reports, are already kicking the tires on these two veteran pass rushers.

Johnson reportedly began a visit with the Giants on Sunday that will conclude on Monday. There were reports on Sunday that Williams was traveling to New Jersey to begin a visit Sunday night. There are conflicting reports about Williams. Josina Anderson of ESPN reported that Williams did not do so.  Other reports indicate that Williams did arrive in New Jersey Sunday night and will begin a visit on Monday. Williams has apparently named his price.

Giants unrestricted free agents

The big three free agents for the Giants are Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, and Prince Amukamara. Here is the full list of the team's unrestricted free agents.

Jason Pierre-Paul DE 27 $7,350,000
Prince Amukamara CB 26 $6,898,000
Robert Ayers DE 30 $2,437,500
Cullen Jenkins DE 34 $2,091,668
Trumaine McBride CB 30 $1,550,000
Josh Brown K 36 $1,350,000
George Selvie DE 28 $1,200,000
Rueben Randle WR 24 $1,047,432
Jayron Hosley CB 25 $796,250
Brandon Mosley G 27 $735,146
Dallas Reynolds G 31 $700,000
Markus Kuhn DT 29 $671,474
Daniel Fells TE 32 $665,000
Craig Dahl SS 30 $585,000
Jasper Brinkley ILB 30 $585,000
Hakeem Nicks WR 27 $240,882
Danny Aiken LS 27 $137,647
Barry Cofield DT 31 $103,235
Brandon Meriweather SS 31 $102,352

What is legal tampering?

Basically, legal tampering means can negotiate with, but not visit with or sign, potential free agents whose contracts don't expire until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Here is more from an NFL memo obtained by Pro Football Talk:

"During the two-day negotiating period, all clubs may negotiate all aspects of an NFL Player Contract with the certified agent of any prospective UFA," explains the March 2 memo to all teams, a copy of which PFT has obtained. "However, a new club may not execute an NFL Player Contract with a prospective UFA until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9, when the player's 2015 contract expires."

Here, also from PFT, is what teams can't do:

Teams cannot execute an NFL contract, execute an agreement in principle or other similar document, announce that an agreement in principle or other similar agreement has been reached, or reach agreement on any undisclosed terms. Also, teams cannot make travel arrangements with a prospective free agent before the launch of free agency, at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Our coverage

We have profiled 26 potential free agent targets for the Giants. We have broken down candidates at several positions of need. Those are:


Giants reportedly interested in Mitchell Schwartz.

Giants expected to bid for Olivier Vernon.

Minnesota offensive lineman Mike Harris draws interest from Giants.

Cornerback Patrick Robinson a target for Giants.