For a team that doesn’t have a lot of money left to spend in free agency, the New York Giants sure signed a lot of free agents on Monday.
Defensive end Kerry Wynn. Wide receiver Cody Latimer. Cornerback B.W. Webb. Probably also defensive lineman Josh Mauro, if those reports are accurate.
Aside from Wynn, a Giant for the past four seasons, maybe you have never heard of the rest of those guys. What the heck are the Giants doing? I mean, aside from 67-year-old GM Dave Gettleman absolutely wearing out 57-year-old Giants writer Ed Valentine, what are the Giants doing?
A whole lot of good, important work. That’s what they are doing. The signings on Monday are Gettleman and the Giants doing the grunt work, the unglamorous part of building a roster with depth and options.
None of the players added Monday will be stars. Shoot, some of them might not even make the team. A couple of them, though, could turn out to be very important parts of the 2018 Giants.
Remember the 2011 Super Bowl-winning Giants team? That team doesn’t get to the Super Bowl without the special teams contributions of Devin Thomas, a backup wide receiver who became a critical special teams player. Latimer is a backup wide receiver reputed to be a tremendous special team player. The new Thomas? Well, almost certainly the new Dwayne Harris.
Wynn and Mauro, if he signs, won’t star. They will, however, give the Giants the opportunity to rest Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Or, at least occasionally use them standing up as outside linebackers.
Webb, Curtis Riley and Teddy Williams are all experienced corners who can play special teams. None of them are probably desirable 16-game starters, but you still need experienced fill-ins. And guys who know what they are doing on special teams.
Speaking of special teams
It is brutally obvious that the Giants are prioritizing special teams in some of the moves they have made. Count the return of Mark Herzlich among them.
That’s because the special teams were, well, brutal in 2017. They had a number of punts and place kicks blocked. They gave up a punt return for a touchdown. Poor punting contributed to two defeats. Aldrick Rosas was among the league’s most inaccurate kickers. The return game was non-existent.
Good for Gettleman that his moves thus far aren’t just the glamorous ones. The small ones count, too.
Now, Dave, one request. Give an old man some rest! Please.