Grading The Giants Early Offseason Moves
Here are the grades that I give to the New York Giants offseason moves thus far, a little over two weeks into the NFL's free agency period. Of course, these grades may be entirely different by the end of the season, but that’s the fun of making predictions: you never know how things can turn out.
Signing DT Cullen Jenkins: B+
The only reason why I’m hesitant to give the Giants’ first free-agent acquisition of the offseason an A is because of the slight drop-off in his numbers with the Eagles last season. His production was down from what it was during his time in Green Bay where he won a Super Bowl in 2011.
The Giants are in need of a big body on the defensive line that can help bolster the team’s run defense, especially with Chris Canty leaving for the Ravens. Jenkins, if he’s able to stay healthy, should be just that.
Signing K Josh Brown: B
I was in the camp of people who believed that Lawrence Tynes still brought a lot of value to the team, and I didn’t think that the Giants particularly needed to go out and sign a new kicker. Nonetheless, it seems as if the Giants were ready to bid farewell to the kicker who helped them reach two Super Bowls in five years. His time with the Giants was a successful one, but the Giants are ready for a new kicker, and they are in need of someone who can hit the long distance ones that Tynes couldn’t.
However, I’m a bit skeptical of Josh Brown, as I would be with any player who went to training camp with the Jets last year but didn’t make the regular season roster.
Signing CB Aaron Ross: C+
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I think the Giants may have settled by signing Aaron Ross back from the Jaguars. The free agent pool for cornerback is fairly deep this offseason, and I believe that there were plenty of other, perhaps more viable, options for the Giants at the position—bringing back Ross may have been jumping the gun. The Giants do need some veteran help at the position, though, so it was a need that had to be addressed no matter what.
Re-signing OT Will Beatty: A-
Will Beatty was one of the anchors of the Giants offensive line last season, and he will continue to be for several years to come as the team signed him to a pretty hefty extension shortly before the official start of free agency.
This signing was something the Giants needed to do to ensure that their offensive line stays strong, and to maintain a sense of continuity at the position. Along with Kevin Boothe and David Diehl, the Giants have been successful at keeping their offensive line intact this offseason.
Re-signing LB Keith Rivers: B-
Keith Rivers didn’t contribute quite as much as most Giants fans hoped he might have last season, but apparently the team saw something that they liked.
I’m all for giving Rivers another shot to step up and be the big-time linebacker that the Cincinnati Bengals drafted in the first round a few years ago. I’m just hoping that he can stay healthy for a full season; something he hasn’t been able to do yet in his short career.
Signing LB Dan Connor: B
The Giants essentially replaced Chase Blackburn with Dan Connor: a player with very similar attributes. Although Connor has not produced the same kind of numbers in his career as Blackburn has with the Giants, he is younger and youth seems to be the direction the Giants have chosen to go this offseason.
Signing TE Brandon Myers: A
The rent-a-tight-end system seems to be working fairly well for the Giants, and the position has become a sort of revolving door in the last few years. Starting with Kevin Boss, who left for free agency in 2011, the Giants went with Jake Ballard two seasons ago and then signed Martellus Bennett last offseason.
After Bennett had a career year for the Giants in 2012, he left for Chicago. Now, the Giants have a young, talented tight end who could become a mainstay at the position if he can replicate the numbers he put up last season in Oakland.
Signing WR Louis Murphy: B-
Another former Raider, Louis Murphy adds some speed and veteran depth to the wide receiver position; although, I can see Murphy being used more in the special teams game as a punt returner or part-time kick returner.
Look for him to pop-up in the passing game though from time to time next season, as Eli Manning loves to use as many weapons in his arsenal as possible.
Re-signing QB David Carr: C+
I thought that David Carr would find a job elsewhere this season, and thought that with all of the quarterback turmoil going on for so many teams, that someone, somewhere, would take a flyer on him and let him try out. After all, he is a former No. 1 overall pick. But apparently Carr is content with backing up Eli Manning, and so am I, just as long as he never gets to see the field.
Re-signing OL Kevin Boothe: A
Alongside Will Beatty and David Diehl, it appears as if all of the Giants free-agent offensive linemen going into this offseason will be coming back to the team next year. Boothe is the latest free agent to be re-signed, and it was a big move for the Giants to gear up for next season.