Should the New York Giants sign veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney? James Kratch of NJ Advance Media recently made the case for the Giants doing just that becuse Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon by themselves aren't enough.
Kratch wrote, in part:
Once you get past the two stars, the rest of the pass rushing corps is full of uncertainty and inexperience. And if one of the two starters gets injured (or Pierre-Paul does not make the progress they believe he will in his second season post-fireworks accident), the Giants could be right back to where they were last season. And they can't afford to lose their way again.
Kratch is absolutely right about the situation. He's wrong, though, to think Freeney is -- or even wants to be -- the answer.
Yes, the 36-year-old can still rush the passer. He had 8.5 sacks in 11 games for the Arizona Cardinals last year, he's been to seven Pro Bowls and been named All-Pro three times. He would look nice in a Giants uniform. From Today's Pigskin:
According to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), Freeney recorded eight sacks in 317 defensive snaps with the Cardinals last season, including the rare walk-off strip sack of Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater after he unleashed his signature spin move and turned much younger left tackle Matt Kalil into a top.
Conversely, the supposed top free-agent pass rusher, Olivier Vernon, he of the $85 million deal with the New York Giants with $52.5 million of that guaranteed, managed all of 7 1/2 sacks in 977 snaps with the Miami Dolphins a season ago.
Without context that contrast sure seems absurd but to be fair to the Giants — they are not the dumbest team in the world, although they certainly overpaid for a good player.
Vernon is only 25 and New York feels he is not reached his ceiling as a pass rusher. Like a lot of second contracts in the league, Vernon is being paid for what the Giants believe he will become in the ensuing years, a Dwight Freeney-like difference maker off the edge.
Freeney, though, has been talking about returning to the Cardinals or playing for the New England Patriots. He wants to play for a proven winner, not a team that hasn't made the playoffs in four years. Sadly, Giants fans, that would mean donning a Giants uniform would be pretty much a last resort for Freeney to continue his career.
Besides, do the Giants want to give up so quickly on Owamagbe Odighisiwa, a third-round pick just a year ago? Unless JPP, Vernon or Odighizuwa suffer an injury that creates a need, signing Freeney would basically be doing just that.
Signing Freeney might make the Giants better, on paper, in the short term. If they see 2016 as an all-in, win at all costs situation, signing Freeney might even be worth it. As much as we know the Giants want to break their string of losing seasons, my take is they haven't behaved desperately. They seem willing to give some of their young players opportunities.
In the end, I just don't see Freeney and the Giants as a match.