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2018 Free Agency: Giants sign safety Michael Thomas

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The Giants bring in a special teams ace

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have signed former Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas to a two-year deal. The Giants made the previously reported news official Monday afternoon.

While the signing brings depth to the Giants’ safety position, and potential competition for Darian Thompson after the Giants waived Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Thomas also adds a much-needed boost to the special teams unit.

The Giants special teams were atrocious in 2017, and lost one of their key contributors when Dwayne Harris was a cap casualty this off-season. Thomas is an excellent special teams player, and has been Pro Football Focus’ Special Teams Player Of The Year in three of the past four seasons (2014, 2015, and 2017).

Before injury cut his season short after 14 weeks, Thomas had seen at least one snap at 10 different positions on the Dolphins kickoff coverage unit, and he was the Dolphins’ primary punt protector on punts. In these two roles, he racked up 10 special teams tackles, tied for fifth in the league after 14 weeks. More importantly, he didn’t miss a single special teams tackle attempt. Considering how often we see a big play on special teams come as the result of a player missing a tackle or blowing an assignment, Thomas’ consistency when it comes to doing his job was huge for the Dolphins when they kicked or punted the ball away to their opponents.

Special teams are often ignored by fans unless they are actively hurting the team, but games can hinge on the “hidden yardage” to be found on special teams plays. We tend to focus on the failings of the coordinators when things go awry on those plays, but just like offenses and defenses need quality players to function, so to do special teams. For that alone this looks to be a good signing for the Giants, even before what Thomas may bring to the defense.