The NFL Combine is underway and roster/cap trimming continues. With each big player name cut, the “fit” for the Giants is examined. We already know that we don’t know where General Manager Jerry Reese will go or what he’s thinking as far as the week of March 12.
Each year, there seems to be one guy that’s signed as a “ho hum” FA player, but works out to be just what the New York Football Giants needed for that corresponding season. In 2007, it was linebacker Kawika Mitchell. The way he teamed up with linebacker Antonio Pierce made the communication of that defense what it was in an all-world Super Bowl run. 2008 was more of a focus on retaining players post-championship win: Punter Jeff Feagles, offensive lineman Rich Seubert, guard Chris Snee and wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Head coach Tom Coughlin signed his first extension then also. 2009 brought linebacker Michael Boley in while 2010 retained the services of vocal safety Antrel Rolle. 2011, well, perhaps the most hype punter and fan favorite, Steve Weatherford. 2012 has hopefully brought in a free agent tight end in Martellus Bennett that will stay and end the Big Blue TE carousel that’s been going in circles since the starting days of Jeremy Shockey.
All pretty much low key signings from the most exciting time of the offseason, perhaps. It’s the Giants’ philosophy with Reese who truly believes in the draft and retaining consistent players rather than big money gambles in March. There are a few players that may fit this type of Reese unrestricted free agent (UFA) signing.
Arizona Cardinal linebacker Paris Lenon, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Manny Lawson and San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips all may very well be future New York Giants and fit a necessity in blue. The current linebackers roster has four names on it that played in 2012: Mathias Kiwanuka (if he stays on the strong side), Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams. They need help and experienced replacements, not just possible rooks.
Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd and Chicago Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayes may even be potentials to bolster the backfield that just cannot remain healthy the last handful of years. Byrd played under and is familiar with defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, but may cost a bit more than the Giants are willing to /are able to pay. He may also have the franchise tag slapped on him, but this seems unlikely. Hayes is turning into a journeyman, but has talent and knows the type of defensive system.
One name that is just going to get tossed out there is New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead. He’s seemingly going to look for more money and the Pats may not want to give it to him. He’s a versatile player that can catch out of the backfield and make plays. He’s a bit like Ahmad Bradshaw in his fast shifty ways from a smaller back. His price tag is going to be inherently too big for blue, though. He’d add a nice dimension to the G-Men and a run game that needs more spark.
There aren’t any bold predictions here, just some thought on a player type that may cause someone from the scout department to tap Jerry Reese (if not Reese himself) on the shoulder for a talk about potential fitting. Just don’t expect the hullabaloo to be anything but of the rumor nature for the next few months. Wait for official word!
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Woodhead, Football, Jairus Byrd, Jerry Reese, Kelvin Hayes, Manny Lawson, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Paris Lenon, Perry Fewell, Shaun Phillips