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RoanokeFan
03-12-2012, 01:35 PM
FREE AGENCY PRIMER: NY GIANTS (http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7675259/new-york-giants-2012-free-agency-primer)

"The Super Bowl celebration is over. Now, the <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/nyg/new-york-giants">New York
Giants</a> begin the process of defending their championship with the start
of free agency on Tuesday and then the NFL draft in April.




</p>

Last year, it felt as if the Giants did more subtracting than adding in free
agency, but GM Jerry Reese seemed to make all the right moves.</p>




</p>

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants make few splashy moves in free
agency while trying to re-sign some of their own again. ESPNNewYork.com explores
a few questions facing the Giants as free agency begins:</p>




</p>

1. Bringing unsexy back?</p>




</p>

Last summer, Reese absorbed a huge amount of heat and criticism from fans and
the media for not making any sexy, splashy moves like the Eagles did. Instead,
the Giants let veterans like <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/2885/rich-seubert">Rich
Seubert</a> and <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/2410/shaun-ohara">Shaun
O'Hara</a> go while watching Kevin Boss (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10596/kevin-boss) and Steve Smith (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10495/steve-smith) leave in free agency for bigger
paydays. The Giants brought back a few of their key free agents, like Mathias Kiwanuka (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9618/mathias-kiwanuka) and Ahmad Bradshaw (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10693/ahmad-bradshaw), and their most expensive
free-agent signing was center David Baas (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/8447/david-baas).</p>


Don't be shocked if Reese takes a similar approach this free-agency period.
The Giants have cleared nearly $12 million in cap space by restructuring Eli Manning (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/5526/eli-manning)'s contract and releasing Brandon Jacobs (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/8524/brandon-jacobs). But they were $9 million
over the cap recently, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.</p>




</p>

So the expectation is that the Giants will try to re-sign a few of their own
free agents but not do a ton of spending, while being fiscally responsible since
they have to pay their own young stars down the road.</p>




</p>

2. Can the Giants re-sign their key free agents?</p>




</p>

The Giants have 19 unrestricted free agents after re-signing Domenik Hixon (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9716/domenik-hixon) and franchising Steve Weatherford (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10127/steve-weatherford). They want to re-sign
cornerback Terrell Thomas (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11297/terrell-thomas) and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11399/jonathan-goff).</p>




</p>

Coach Tom Coughlin says Thomas and Goff -- both are coming off ACL injuries
-- are a part of his plan this season. Thomas expressed confidence that he will
be back, but then again not many thought Boss and Smith would leave last year,
either.</p>




</p>

The Giants will lose some of their key free agents. Wide receiver Mario Manningham (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11329/mario-manningham), cornerback Aaron Ross (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10464/aaron-ross) and defensive end Dave Tollefson (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9839/dave-tollefson) are among those who could
depart. Right tackle Kareem McKenzie (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/2627/kareem-mckenzie) also is expected to move
on.</p>


3. What will happen with Super Mario?</p>




</p>

Manningham says he wants to return, but the odds are he will be joining a new
team. The wide receiver wants to capitalize on his big postseason, and he surely
would like a bigger role than being the third receiver with the Giants.</p>




</p>

Considering that the Giants will have to pay Hakeem Nicks (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12586/hakeem-nicks) and Victor Cruz (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13553/victor-cruz) down the road, Reese likely
will not pay big bucks for a third receiver. The Giants could replace Manningham
internally with Jerrel Jernigan (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14040/jerrel-jernigan), Ramses Barden (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12555/ramses-barden) or Hixon. Or they could sign
a free agent.</p>


4. Could Steve Smith return?</p>




</p>

One free agent the Giants could sign is Smith, who is open for a reunion,
something Schefter reported last fall.</p>




</p>

If Smith is healthy, he could come in and easily slide into the third
receiver spot in the slot, and probably would not need long to get on the same
page with Manning.
</p>



</p>

Plaxico Burress (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/2139/plaxico-burress) is another free-agent ,and
he mentioned the Giants as a possibility recently. But Smith seems a likelier
possibility.</p>




</p>

5. What will the Giants do at tight end?</p>




</p>

The Giants lost Jake Ballard (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13530/jake-ballard) and Travis Beckum (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12532/travis-beckum) to torn ACLs in the Super
Bowl and are down to two healthy tight ends on the roster (Bear Pascoe (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12548/bear-pascoe) and Christian Hopkins).
Considering how they were able to replace Boss last season with the undrafted,
second-year Ballard, the Giants might opt not to invest a ton in a tight end,
whether it be in free agency or the draft.</p>

The best tight ends available in free agency appear to include the likes of
Visanthe Shiancoe (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/4549/visanthe-shiancoe), Martellus Bennett (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11295/martellus-bennett), Dallas Clark (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/4482/dallas-clark), John Carlson (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11272/john-carlson) and Jeremy Shockey (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/3542/jeremy-shockey), among others. The Giants
could pick up a cheap veteran or use a late draft pick on a tight end.</p>


6. What will the Giants do without Jacobs?</p>




</p>

After releasing Jacobs, the Giants need a veteran backup running back. They
currently have D.J. Ware (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10768/dj-ware), Da'Rel Scott (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14087/da%27rel-scott) and Andre Brown (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12490/andre-brown) behind Bradshaw.</p>




</p>

Last year, when Bradshaw was a free agent, Ronnie Brown (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/8417/ronnie-brown)'s name was mentioned as a
possibility for the Giants. Coughlin has mentioned that he likes sticking with
the formula of having a big back to go with Bradshaw. They could also use a
draft pick on a running back.</p>


Free agents like Michael Bush (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10544/michael-bush), Mike Tolbert (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11658/mike-tolbert) and Peyton Hillis (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11461/peyton-hillis) are strong, big running
backs. But they are expected to come with expensive price tags and likely are
looking for starting gigs.</p>




</p>

7. What will the Giants do at right tackle?</p>




</p>

With McKenzie expected to leave in free agency, the Giants have to figure out
what to do on their offensive line. Will Beatty (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12610/will-beatty) has been cleared again and
could return at left tackle. The Giants could move David Diehl (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/4618/david-diehl), who started at left tackle
after Beatty needed eye surgery, to left guard or perhaps right tackle. Last
year's fourth-round pick, James Brewer (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14098/james-brewer), could also be a candidate at
right tackle.</p>


And perhaps the Giants could look for another offensive lineman in free
agency or the draft.</p>


8. What will happen with Osi?</p>




</p>

Osi Umenyiora (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/4514/osi-umenyiora) will likely have to wait for
his contract situation to be addressed after free agency. The defensive end
still wants a raise as he enters the last year of his deal worth just under $4
million.</p>


The Giants have to figure out their cap situation and re-sign some of their
own free agents before dealing with Umenyiora, whose situation could heat up
near draft time."</p>