The New York Giants were apparently willing to reach deep into John Mara's bank account in an effort to woo Devin McCourty away from the New England Patriots. After they tried and failed to bring the former Rutgers star home it has become obvious that the Giants did not see anyone else on the safety market worth spending gobs of money on.
They watched Antrel Rolle (three years, $11.25 million) bolt to the Chicago Bears. They watched Rahim Moore (three years, $12 million) sign with the Houston Texans. They watched Ron Parker take a five-year, $30 million deal ($8 million guaranteed) to return to the Kansas City Chiefs. Nate Allen landed a four-year, $23 million deal with the Oakland Raiders. Da'Norris Searcy got a four-year, $23.75 million contract from the Tennesse Titans. Tyvon Branch, Mike Adams, Sergio Brown, Darian Stewart, Kendrick Lewis and a few other safeties have also found new homes.
Meanwhile, the Giants have yet to make a move at a position that obviously needs to be fortified before the 2015 season. While the Giants were said to be "interested" in some of the players mentioned above, there were no reported visits made or offers extended.
Confused fans want to know if general manager Jerry Reese has a real free agency plan, especially at the safety position. The answer is that of course Reese has a plan. He's not sitting in his Quest Diagnostics Training Center office oblivious to what is going on and trying NOT to fill holes.
So, what is the plan?
Do I know exactly what Jerry's plan is? I don't, and even if I could ask him right now he wouldn't tell me. I can, however, make an educated guess. So here is what I THINK Reese's plan is at safety.
I think it was pretty obvious the Giants would have broken John Mara's bank if McCourty had really been looking to leave New England.
I think Reese and the Giants looked at the second group of safeties -- Moore, Searcy, Parker and the others who have gotten big money -- and didn't believe any of them was enough of a difference-making player to justify bidding against the kind of contracts they received. In other words, they probably aren't worth they money they got. Or at least I think that's what the Giants believe.
We are now into what you might call the third tier of free-agent safeties. That group includes Stevie Brown, Louis Delmas, Dewan Landry, Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson, Danieal Manning and others. The Giants have been on continual contact with Brown, who has been with them since 2012, but no progress has been toward a deal that would bring Brown back to the team. We have heard little to nothing as of yet about the Giants being interested in any of these players.
Why not? Rightly or wrongly I think Reese has all of these guys lumped into one great big box, and really doesn't have a preference which of these guys ends up in New York. Brown is a mixed bag, a playmaker who also has a nasty habit of giving up too many big plays. Johnson is unproven. Several of the others are past their primes.
Rightly or wrongly, I don't think Reese saw players beyond McCourty who were worth getting into bidding wars for. I think he still sees the remaining players that way. My guess is that rather than spend more than he wants he will simply wait until someone is willing to take what he wants to offer. Eventually, openings will dwindle and someone will have to.
Some thoughts about Rolle
Did the Giants make the right decision with Rolle? They waited until he was ready to sign with the Chicago Bears, then made him a last-minute offer. As Rolle said a few days ago on WFAN, they made it clear to him by their inaction that he was not a top priority for them.
Should he have been? That's a question that can't be answered right now. Look at the free agent safeties remaining on the market and you can make a valid argument that at 32 Rolle is still a better player than anyone the Giants could sign at this point.
Would Rolle have accepted a one-year offer from the Giants of $4-5 million, or maybe a two-year of maybe $7 million with about $4 million guaranteed if the Giants had gone to him early in the process? We will never know.
We know Rolle is 32. We know he did not have a great 2014 season. We know he is an incredibly proud man. I wonder if Rolle's king-sized personality had something to do with why he is an ex-Giant. Is it possible the Giants thought his skills on the field were no longer worth the power of his personality off of it? That's another question we will probably never get an answer to.
At this point I have to think bringing Brown back into the fold makes sense. He is far from a perfect player, but he will be only 28 next season, probably has more upside than anyone left on the market with the possible exception of former Seattle Seahawks backup Jeron Johnson, and the Giants have been around him long enough to know he is a good presence in the locker room.
The top safety in the draft is Landon Collins of Alabama, and I don't see the Giants using the No. 9 overall pick on Collins. By most accounts, that is far too early for Collins -- a box safety with some questions about his coverage skills -- to come off the board. There are a handful of free safety types who could come off the board anywhere from the second to the fifth round, but you would not count on any of them to be an instant starter.
In the end I think Reese and the Giants will bring in at least one veteran safety, if not two. It seems pretty apparent, though, that they are not willing to pay a premium to do so.