What is left for the very quiet New York Giants on the 2015 NFL free-agent market? Since an opening flurry of five signings, six if you include former Canadian Football League offensive lineman Brett Jones, the Giants have done little. Well, really almost nothing.
They have re-signed players like John Jerry, Chykie Brown, Mark Herzlich and Henry Hynoski but have otherwise done little. There have been no visits from potential new players, and few -- if any -- rumors of the Giants being interested in available players.
The Giants still have an obvious need at safety. They also still need to fortify both the offensive and defensive lines. Without doubt, the Giants have watched a number of capable players who could probably have helped them sign with other teams. GM Jerry Reese and the Giants appear to be patiently bargain-hunting, looking for the right players at the prices the salary-cap strapped Giants are willing or able to pay. Per Over The Cap, the Giants have only $4.18 million in cap space, the third-lowest total in the league at the moment.
So, are there still some quality players left on the market who may fit both into the Giants' budget and into their plans? Yes, there are. Let's look at five available players who might help the Giants.
OG Mike Pollak
A seven-year veteran, the 30-year-old Pollak has 41 career starts at both left and right guard during his career. He spent the last two years with the Cincinnati Bengals, and has also played for the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. Pollak played 456 snaps for Cincinnati in 2014, compiling a +4.6 Pro Football Focus score. PFF lists him as one of their top remaining bargains on the free-agent market:
Any team looking for a starting caliber guard out there could do a lot worse than to take a look at Pollak. He's finished every season from 2010 onward with a positive grade, looking strong both as a run blocker and as a pass blocker. He also comes with the flexibility of having started at both left and right guard in 2014.
S Dawan Landry
I know, I know. You hate even thinking about taking leftovers from the New York Jets. If that was how the Giants did business, though, guys like Steve Weatherford and Kareem McKenzie never would have worn Giants uniforms.
Landry is 32 and he does have nine years of NFL mileage on his body. He had a good year in 2014, however, compiling a +10.9 PFF score that included +5.2 in pass coverage. PFF says:
We'd seen a lull in Landry's play since leaving Baltimore in 2010, but he found his form again with the New York Jets in 2014. He graded among the Top 15 at the position both in coverage and against the run last year after making a name for himself as a run-stopping safety early in his career. Even his play from 2011-2013 was good enough for him to have a place on a roster, but if he can maintain what we saw in 2014, he can be an upgrade for the right team.
Landry would be little more than a stop-gap, but are the Giants the right team?
OG Rob Sims
A 31-year-old nine-year veteran, Sims is still a starting-caliber left guard -- which just happens to be the most logical spot for the Giants to currently fill on their offensive line. PFF says:
Time may be catching up with Sims, but even in to his thirties he's still been a safe pair of hands at left guard for the Lions the last two seasons. In 2013 his run blocking fell away markedly, but his final five starts this season (+4.5), including the playoff defeat in Dallas, proved that Sims can still create running lanes on the inside.
Last season was Sims' first full season with a negative grade in pass protection since 2007 though he is now two years removed from his best play in that regard in 2011 (+13.4) and 2012 (+11.1). "True" multi-year deals may not be on the table for Sims but teams could do far worse than bring him in on a short term deal to fill a hole at left guard while they search out a longer term option.
OG Justin Blalock
A lot like Sims. Blalock is a 31-year-old eight-year veteran who missed only three games in an eight-yar career with the Atlanta Falcons. Started all of the 125 games he played in at left guard.
Walter Football says Blalock "can still be a solid starter for a couple more seasons."
DT Barry Cofield
The Giants know Cofield well, since he spent the first five years of his career with them. Two of those seasons, incidentally, came when Steve Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator. An ankle injury limited Cofield, who turns 31 this week, to only eight games in 2014. He is still probably an upgrade over Mike Patterson or Markus Kuhn.