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New York Giants Free Agency and Trades: Comparing the Years

January 19th, 2013 at 9:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Everyone has opinions, especially on what their favorite NFL teams should do in the offseason. As we examine how the New York Football Giants handle theirs, many which continue to criticize, should grow to be thankful (how they aren’t already is baffling, really).

Not everyone is a football fan beyond their specific squad, but as the popularity of fantasy and football channels increase, fans begin to watch more games than just one per week in the regular season. As the business hammer falls in favor of that almighty dollar, the NFL is a booming market.

Since it has just become more to those now in the market, some history will be revisited in the way of offseason draft/trades that went awry for one side. Just a few that should always be in a “Top Ten” list anywhere are the Herschel Walker trade, Jerome Bettis trade, Ricky Williams trade, and look up how Brett Favre actually got to Green Bay. The New York Giants have had a few minor glitches in the past, but none that really come about as a player that got away from Big Blue.

Zooming in for a closer look at how the franchise handles this upcoming time of year, draft day trades will be excluded. Coaching snafus also won’t be examined. That’s another article for another day…

Free agency happens. Things are fluctuating more in approach. Salary caps have forever altered team’s “limit to talent.” Or has it? Looking at the teams that are continually competitive will tell a different story. Most fans don’t view at this as a model that works. It’s hard to see past a loyalty or what a particular player has done for the team in one particular situation.

Look back into the early 90’s when the Giants parted ways with their hero tight end, Mark Bavaro. For some, it was a punch in the gut – the thought that he would never wear a G-Men uniform again hurt. However, since then, when has letting a player go/walk into free agency hurt the team? 

Going by the alarmists, trading tight end Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints should’ve. Not fighting harder to retain wide receiver Steve Smith should have been another (as would center Shaun O’Hara and tight end Kevin Boss that same year). Then there’s the Plaxico Burress yea/nay annual (and unbelievable) debate. Wide receivers Amani Toomer and Mario Manningham, defensive end Dave Tollefson (yes, it’s true) and even defensive tackle Jay Alford are a few names that were allegedly were going to “ball” for other teams they respectively went to. Only one player comes to mind as someone that is still playing at a fit level that the Giants are missing: defensive tackle Barry Cofield. His absence is far from killing the team; health at that position is.   

How come no one ever protested when General Manager Jerry Reese traded wide receiver Tim Carter to the Cleveland Browns for running back Reuben Droughns? A joke, yet a point as to why there has to be a "built blue blind faith" when it comes to realizing that some brutal decisions are upon the front office. While most other NFL teams are in near-complete rebuilding stages, the New York Football Giants are not: Plan B, Plan C, etc. … remember?


Tags: Amani Toomer, Barry Cofield, Dave Tollefson, Football, Jay Alford, Jeremy Shockey, Jerry Reese, Kevin Boss, Mario Manningham, Mark Bavaro, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Smith, Tim Carter

29 Responses to “New York Giants Free Agency and Trades: Comparing the Years”

  1.  Dirt says:

    I still don’t understand why it’s unbelieveable to have contemplated resigninging a receiver (Burress) who had in the previous season under Mark Sanchez (MARK SANCHEZ!!!) more catches, yards and touchdowns, in a single season, off a hiatus, than such Giants roster holders as Hixon, Barden and Jernigan had had in their entire careers.

    Maybe at the end of the day it was the best decision, but it was and continues to be laughable that it was a no doubt about it one sided decision.

    •  G-MenFan says:

      Maybe there would have been more interest in him if he had an imaginary girlfriend.

    •  demo3356 says:

      1) Because this is not Madden or Plug n Play
      2) Plax put up those numbers as a #2 WR on an offense with no weapons.
      3) The guys you mentioned combined havent started 16 games as a #2 WR in their careers
      4) 31 other teams realized like JR did that he was done and the only shot he got was when one of his old teams had a rash of injuries at the position
      5) Plax was giving a shot in Pittsburgh and was as invisible as Te’os Girlfriend..

      •  Dirt says:

        2 & 3) Hixon would have started, but he sucked (2008, 2009) and has been injured (2010, 2011). He had a chance as a #2. Barden sucks. Jernigan is incomplete. Burress was dominant.
        4) The one team in 2011 got more production than the aformentioned ever have
        5) Yes he’s done, and was done in 2012. I should have been more clear that I was talking about 2011.

        •  Jen Polashock says:

          One important stat that Demo left out is this: Plaxico DOESN’T want to play for the Giants/Coughlin– which is why this should be a moot point up for debate every season.

  2.  Krow says:

    Personnel decisions in the NFL are like batting averages. Lots of times even hall-of-famers make outs. You have to expect draft busts … Injuries … Free agent departures. Part of the business.

    •  fanfor55years says:


      Too bad nearly all fan bases expect their teams to never make the mistakes that each of those fans makes on a regular basis in their own field of endeavor.

      •  kujo says:

        You said “fan bases” when you should have said “fanboys.” I made this point last night. Try and keep up!

      •  demo3356 says:

        also too bad the armchair GMs on this site that are critical of Reese dont look around at the other 31 front offices and see how they stack up vs JR the last 6 years…

        •  Krow says:

          It’s fine to lament a mistake. But we shouldn’t expect to hit on every move. Take the draft … a typical haul is maybe a couple starters and a couple depth ‘guys’. That means about half flop. It’s an inexact science.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    I think strengthening the middle of the defense is the biggest job Reese has this off-season. But having said that I still don’t think I’d take T’eo at #19 if he’s available. I was warning everyone off Mualaluga some years ago and think I have been proved correct, and I see the same thing here: a guy who is good, may have some “issues”, and has been the beneficiary of a national tsunami of publicity that has inflated his reputation beyond his ability.

    I’d rather go for one of the SEC inside linebackers in round 2 or 3. The ones I thing are good are Mintner and Ogletree, Nico whatever from ‘Bama, and the kid from Florida. If they don’t think those guys are their cup ‘o tea then they might want to take a look at the kid from Oregon. He’s not as good, IMO, as the SEC crowd (and not as good as T’eo) but he might be available late third round or even the fourth.

    Two other things: we really don’t know yet about Herzlich. He has been very up-and-down, but his last game (against the Eagles) was definitely an “up”. He could surprise a lot of people this season if given the chance right from the start of camp; and it would be nuts to give up on Rivers if he will take a modest contract. He is the only LBer on the team now with an adequate combination of sideline-to-sideline speed and range and enough weight to do something about it when he catches someone. Paysinger is about the same size but not quite as fast (albeit fast enough). Williams could still afford to gain another ten pounds unless it costs him his speed.

    Anyway, while I am hell-bound to get the defensive middle better, I think we still will want to get the linebacker we need later than the first round. And by the time our second pick comes around (unless we trade up) T’eo should be gone. I don’t see him as a member of the Giants in 2013.

    •  GmenMania says:

      I agree. I like T’eo, and he’s a very smart football player, but the kid Ogletree from Georgia is just a freak. He missed 4 games this year and still recorded 112 tackles from the MLB spot. I’m pretty sure that would have lead our team this year. He’s a beast, and though he’s a little undersized at 6-3, 232, he’s an incredible football player. Would love to get him at 19, which should be around where he goes.

  4.  Dirt says:

    Plax is treated like Tiki here and it’s crap. Yes, both made idiotic moves. Both however contributed immensely to the team while they were here. Plax won us a Super Bowl. You think Dom Hixon would have abused Al Harris in the NFC Championship Game? Provided enough of a vertical threat to keep defenses honest? Be the best downfield blocker in the league? Be so in sync with Eli that there was as soon as the ball was snapped on the last play of XLII, there was no doubt that we were Super Bowl champs? Hell no.

    Dude deserves some respect. Warts and alll.

    And he DID produce in 2011. As a #2, meaning as the #2 threat, covered by the #2 corner. Not the #3 corner as an afterthought.

    •  Jen Polashock says:

      You’re kind of proving my point about holding onto memories of what players did while here…Plax isn’t that same guy when it comes to the Giants (which is why he won’t be coming back here– see my response up ^^). Yeah, he accomplished much for blue while here (his jersey is hanging in the Stadium/ Legacy Room). Big Blue hasn’t forgotten what #17 has done & neither should we– just don’t expect that to return.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Burress and Barber burned their bridges with a lot of fans in the course of their exiting the team and by their words in ensuing years. I don’t feel I know enough about either to judge them except as a dumb, entitled, but well-meaning kid in Burress’ case and a not-ready-for-prime-time media personality who left his wife under really horrid circumstances in Tiki’s case, but I never forget that they were both tremendous players for the Giants and don’t deserve to have that fact forgotten or glossed over because they are no longer well-liked.

      Perhaps five years from now David Wilson will have mounted a challenge, but until that time Tiki is the best running back to ever play for the Giants and really should be a Hall of Fame candidate someday (albeit probably an unsuccessful one) and Plax was a major contributor to getting that ring even if he may have been part of the reason we didn’t repeat when we had the best team in the NFL in 2008. That game he played at Green Bay in the bitter cold was incredible. A gunshot wound, a lack of desire to come and play for TC again, and some immaturity cannot take that history away.

      I fully understand fans disliking these guys. But they should also remember how good they were as players and what they contributed to the team.

  5.  GmenMania says:

    A couple thoughts on the draft an FA:

    1. There are a couple of guys at need positions that we can get in the second or third rounds, possibly. A couple of them are Khaseem Greene, OLB from Rutgers, Menelik Watson, OT from FSU, Kevin Minter, ILB from LSU, and Chase Thomas, OLB from Stanford. Minter and Thomas both have good size and are very productive tackle-wise. Minter probably goes in the second, Thomas in the third. Menelik Watson is a very solid player in a deep tackle class, and could solidify the RT position for years to come. Potential second or third rounder. Greene is probably less likely, as he’s more of a WILL than a SAM or MIKE, but he’s a very good tackler, and could go in the second.

    2. In FA, I think that there will be a bunch of guys who could be cost-effective pickups for us: OG Ramon Foster, ILB Dannell Ellerbe, DT Sammie Hill, and CB Keenan Lewis. Foster is a 26 year-old guard who was on the Steelers, and may be looking for a starting job. If Boothe leaves, which I don’t think he will, Foster could replace him. We could also sign Foster as a backup and tell him that when/if Snee retires soon, he will replace him. Dannell Ellerbe will probably be more expensive than the other guys on this list, as he may be viewed as the successor to Ray Lewis in Baltimore. But if we could get him for $4 million a year for say, three years, then he could maybe be the MIKE we have been looking for (he’s 27). Sammie Hill was on a DT-loaded Lions team, and is solid against the run. Could be had cheaply as a 3rd, run-stuffing DT (he’s 27, and weighs 330 pounds). Last guy, Keenan Lewis, I saw mentioned on here before as a cost-effective second or third corner. Had an ok season with the Steelers last year, but showed promise at the end. Could be a good replacement for Webster, if we end to up cutting him, or just a good 3rd corner.

  6.  jb322 says:

    Forget Plax, Loved the guy when he was here. But please don’t forget that his boneheaded move more than likely cost us a superbowl repeat. On a bigger scale, we need to let go of these guys that “don’t practice during the week”. In my mind Plax started this whole business of not practicing, now it seems to be part of the Giants culture. Look, I don’t care what the guy has done in the past, if he can’t get on the field during practices, then he takes away from the chemistry of the team, and we should be seriously looking at getting rid of them. I think Bradshaw has all the heart in the world but the time has come to part ways with him. Get rid of everybody that can’t “practice”.

  7.  jb322 says:

    Don’t know much about the draft, however I have been told that there is a pretty deep tackle group in FA and wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerry grab one on the cheap. As for our first pick in the draft, I keep going back to Ezekial Ansah. He fits Jerry’s MO. I would also be thrilled to if Minter were there in the second when we pick. I have heard nothing but good things about this guy.

  8.  Krow says:

    Travis Frederick … Wisconsin C/OG in round 2.

  9.  kujo says:

    Mauluaga is a better middle linebacker than we’ve had here in a decade. Period. You people are waiting for an ideal that doesn’t exist, at least not usually, and not in the end of the 1st round where consistently excellent football teams like us pick.

    For me, the question is simple–can he better than Blackburn? Hell yes! Is he a perfect prospect? Not by any means. I’d like to see him improve at shedding blockers, and I’m not overly enthused by the angles he takes sometimes. But he’s a damn fine linebacker, head and shoulders better than what we have had for the last 5 or 6 years, and the sort of personality you want in a middle linebacker. His “character issues” amount to being duped by a prankster, not an alcoholic like Maluaga, or a lunatic like BBG’s buttbuddy Burfict, or a d-ck waver like Brandon Spikes, or having extreme bowel movements and gun fetishes like Rolando McClain, or too talkative like Sean Weatherspoon, just not being fast enough like Dont’a Hightower.

    I am not doubting Reese’s draft philosophy, but I am tired of hearing intelligent fans parrot this “not what we’re looking for” bullcrap! I’ll be fine if we don’t take him, but I’m not buying that he wouldn’t be an enormous, and imperfect, upgrade to the most consistently underwhelming unit on this team.

    •  kujo says:

      I don’t even really want Te’o all that much. As I said, I like the Georgia guy and I really like Nico from Alabama. And I don’t even know that I want to draft a linebacker in the first round anyway. But I already feel like my head is gonna burst with this “not good enough” stuff.

  10.  demo3356 says:

    Dirt says:
    January 19, 2013 at 11:07 AM
    2 & 3) Hixon would have started, but he sucked (2008, 2009) and has been injured (2010, 2011). He had a chance as a #2. Barden sucks. Jernigan is incomplete. Burress was dominant.
    4) The one team in 2011 got more production than the aformentioned ever have
    5) Yes he’s done, and was done in 2012. I should have been more clear that I was talking about 2011.

    LMFAO!!! Are we really second guessing the fact that Plax was not bought back for 2011??? The season we won a SB without him and the season that he was so intricate to the Jets success that they told him to get lost and dint bring him back for 2012 even after Holmes went down for the year and they had NO WRS”S???????

    Sometimes the second guessing on this site is mind numbing to say the least..

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