The looming schedule post-Super Bowl will officially begin next on February 18th when organizations can officially place the franchise tag on players if they so choose up until March 4th. Bear in mind that a team can only franchise one player per year and it can be revoked and placed onto another player, if necessary. The new 2013 league year officially opens on March 12 – along with Free Agency. Fasten your 5-point safety harness … this one may very well be a trying one as a New York Giants fan.
The Giants have 19 unrestricted free agents (UFA), three restricted (RFA) and four exclusive rights (ERFA) totaling 26. They will offer safety Stevie Brown a tender and are apparently working on a long-term contract with wide receiver Victor Cruz (not yet tendered). Both are restricted. Tight end Bear Pascoe is the third. The four exclusives: running back Andre Brown, offensive lineman Jim Cordle, defensive lineman Adrian Tracy and defensive end Justin Trattou all pretty much are not under contract, but have only two years of NFL experience, so if the Giants offer them the three-year veteran minimum salary and then that's it – take it or leave the NFL since these ERFA have no ability to negotiate with other teams.
Where the real brass tacks part of free agency comes in is with the unrestricted players. Two of the starting offensive linemen from 2012 are UFA and one has already spoken about testing the market. Both Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe have both anchored the left side of the line for quarterback Eli Manning as well as open up the run game for up and coming running back David Wilson and a healthier Ahmad Bradshaw. The argument on keeping tight end Martellus Bennett in blue was made a few weeks ago. Kicker Lawrence Tynes has been silent, but the need for continuity on Specials should be a priority. Seeing how he, DeOssie and Weatherford are together (on and off the field) is pretty "special."
Mixed feelings come about regarding players like: Keith Rivers (health), Kenny Phillips (knee/health), Osi Umenyiora (money/attitude), David Carr (possibly money/happy as backup) and sadly, Chase Blackburn – although heart of a Giant is never a question, many feel he isn’t the speed at MLB the team needs/lacks.
A few players that aren’t in the forefront of the minds of Giants fans as far as stay/go, but arguments for maintaining their residence in East Rutherford can be endorsed and here’s why:
- Domenik Hixon is a threat, when 100%. He wasn’t healthy this season and in 13 games, caught 39 passes for 567 yards and 2 touchdowns. His knee held up, even with some beating. He’s humble, dedicated and loyal; he just wants to play football. #87 has even passed comment on realizing that things aren’t necessarily better elsewhere – where more money may be.
- Justin Tryon is a gamer on Special Teams. Watch Wilson’s kickoff runback from the New Orleans game. Guess who threw some crucial blocks for #22? Yup, #30. He brought something to that facet of the game that he originally flashed in 2011 (before he broke his arm).
- Kregg Lumpkin is just a gut feeling here. While Da’Rel Scott would be cheaper, Lumpkin could be more durable and a change of pace back. What was flashed in the Atlanta game struck a chord; there may be something more here to the 5’11” 230 lb. back. Maybe a one year contract to this kid that was sitting out there for the G-Men back in November?
Speculate all you want and play with the roster as if you wore Jerry Reese’s suit jacket – it can be fun, at times. Just don’t lose it when your 80-man looks nothing like the Giants’ heading into training camp.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
Also…Adrian Tracy, Brian Witherspoon, Chase Blackburn, David Carr, Football, Kenny Phillips, Kregg Lumpkin, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Ramses Barden, Sean Locklear, Shaun Rogers, Travis Beckum