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New York Giants Likely to Target Return Men in Free Agency

February 10th, 2014 at 11:00 AM
By Dan Benton

During their year-end press conferences, both New York Giants co-owner John Mara and General Manager Jerry Reese discussed futility on Special Teams and noted that a solid return man is something the team was lacking. As such, it should come as no real surprise that Big Blue will likely be targeting return men once free agency officially begins in March.

Several potential options exist for the Giants to explore, including Jacoby Jones (Baltimore Ravens), Devin Hester (Chicago Bears), Ted Ginn (Carolina Panthers) and Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs), who had a Tecmo Bowl-like 89-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Giants in Week 4 (see above).

However, another potential option would be Josh Cribbs, whom the Giants expressed quite a bit of interest in a year ago, but opted not to sign. That decision obviously proved costly for Big Blue, and they were left with a revolving door at kick returner following a neck injury to David Wilson, while sticking with Rueben Randle as their punt returner.

The Giants could also go back to their past and give Domenik Hixon, who will become an unrestricted free agent after one year with the Carolina Panthers, a look. After all, he had been their most prolific and consistent return man in many years and is the last player to bring a punt back to the house for Big Blue (2009).

In total, seven players returned kicks for the Giants this past season, while four others returned punts.


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Tags: David Wilson, Devin Hester, Dexter McCluster, Domenik Hixon, Football, Jacoby Jones, Jerry Reese, John Mara, Josh Cribbs, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle

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14 Responses to “New York Giants Likely to Target Return Men in Free Agency”

  1.  rlhjr says:

    Hester is a one trick pony. But he does his one trick very well. To some extent Ginn Jr. is the same player; Never going to be a wide receiver worth anything.

    McCluster is the man here. He can also help as a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. Tons of utility and value, but what will he be asking?

    He would be the best Swiss Army knife the team’s had since Dave Meggett.

    •  Krow says:

      Yes, but he’s not much of a blocker. Ordinarily that would earn him a seat on the bench. Let’s hope times are changing.

      Also … if we can’t get a bona fide return man then I’ll settle for not letting the ball hit the ground … and no penalties. Fair catch everything. Put 3 guys back there if you have to. And make no mistakes. Don’t bother blocking. Don’t hold. Just stand there and don’t eff up.

      •  rlhjr says:

        Kind of like 2007. Just had sure handed guys who who did not make mistakes with the ball or when/when not to attempt a return.
        R.W. McQuarters and Aron Ross if I’m not mistaken.

        It was strictly R.W in the streach run and playoff’s.

  2.  jerseyrich says:

    I wanted McCluster since I first saw him at Mississippi. Excellent player. He’d be great in a 2 man backfield with brown or Wilson….the defense wouldn’t know what was coming.

  3.  JBeast3 says:

    JBeast3 says:
    February 10, 2014 at 11:04 AM
    I wanted Ogletree last draft in the first him or Jarvis Jones. I thought Watkins was a different kinda player than Tavon Austin with different build. Watkins is 6’1 201lbs while Autsin is 5’9 180lbs. I think Watkins can be a true number 1 kinda like a Justin Blackmon kinda player. I only saw 1 game of his but have been watching his highlights and thats the impression i get. Would love to draft him at 12 if there, even tho i have been screaming for Dennard all offseason. At 12 it has to be either Dennard or Watkins if Clowney, Matthews and Robinson are all off the board at 12. If all 5 are gone by 12 i would love to trade down, if not possible, ill go Gilbert, Mack, Ebron or Nix/Jerrnigan

    jerseyrich says:
    February 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM
    LOL…if we do keep our 12 pick, its almost guaranteed that ONE of the guys you named will be the pick. Barr (if he drops), lewan, and zack martin are all wildcards though at that spot.

    jerseyrich says:
    February 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM
    I think we’d all take Watkins at 12….sadly he’ll be gone by then. Lee and Benjamin will be gone when we pick in the 2nd as well.


    I hope one the guys we get are in the first group i mentioned. Theres a possibility that Benjamin might be there when we pick in the second but if we go WR in the second it means we are kinda neglecting the OL and in turn we would have to spend money on free agent OL. Hopefully Stork will fall to round three. My ideal draft would be:

    1. CB Dennard
    2. OG Yankey or Richardson
    3. OLB T. Smith
    4. C Stork
    5. RB J Wilder jr.

  4.  JBeast3 says:

    As for return guys, i like Ginn to fill that role along with the number 4 WR. I still think Ginn can be a good WR if given the chance in the right situation

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    Here’s another example of the fans seeing what the team apparently didn’t. How many of us have screamed for them to draft a defensive back who can also return kicks? I spent countless posts insisting that we haven’t had a decent solution in punt returns since Hixon departed. What does it take to get these clowns to recognize what is obviously there for the seeing?

    Coughlin talks a lot about “hidden yards” but he does nothing about it. They should have tried Charles James this past season, and they should try to keep him around in 2014 as a potential #4-5 corner who competes AND as a potential punt returner. But they definitely need someone. (It would, of course, also help if anyone blocked on returns).

    I’ve thought Jernigan could be a pretty decent substitute for Wilson in the kickoff-return role, but he may have become too valuable as a wide receiver after FINALLY being given a chance toward the end of the season and showing he could do something.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Smh because I felt the same about James, he should have been given a shot. It’s not Randle’s fault, he’s just not even an average NFL PR. At least Hosley did get a chance, he or James could be the answer. As could Jernigan, I wonder if now that Jernigan has confidence if he could excel as a PR. Because his issue was just catching the ball which seems mental.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    As anyone evaluates Justin Tuck I think it benefits them to remember that while he DID play well all season against the run, his sacks came predominantly against an awful Redskins team (check out what percentage of his sacks came in those two games) and when he was playing INSIDE rather than at DE (where he is quicker than most NFL guards).

    He had a reasonable number of hurries out of his DE spot, but the step he has lost cost him actually getting to the QB in most situations.

    He is a solid, but generally only a bit-better-than-average NFL defensive end who has the capability of playing snaps at defensive tackle as part of a pressure package. That has value, but not so much as to be worth more than about $3MM per annum. Maybe less. If Reese pays him the $4-5MM Tuck is probably seeking then he’s crazy, and would be repeating past mistakes that were made with AP because of the “intangibles”.

    •  Krow says:

      In times when we’ve been successful we’ve handled the “little things” … the details. We had role players. We were aggressive. The locker room was united. No one put himself above the team. They were focused … on football.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think Tuck’s strengths do make him a 4 mil type player. Getting a pass rush at DT besides Jenkins still wasn’t something we were getting so if Tuck is strictly and early down DE and a passing down DT there’s plenty of value in that player IMO. However, considering where we are I don’t think Tuck is worth that for us going into 2014. With JPP’s contract coming up and Joseph a more important re-signing I just don’t see the long term value with Tuck. Plus I think JPP’s comments about stepping up if Tuck leaves show that Tuck just might need to leave for JPP to perform.

  7.  jfunk says:

    Returning is a young man’s game. I feel like chasing veteran free agents to be return specialists is more often than not going to lead to disappointment. The guys who stay good for a long time are very rare.

    If you’re desperate for somebody to do the job safely and nobody on your squad can reliably catch it without fumbling, by all means find a vet to get 6 yards per punt and 20 per kick.

    Otherwise, just stick to the draft for your return specialists.

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