Aaron Ross Is Not The Answer For The Giants Secondary
In a free agent pool that is stacked from top to bottom and brimming with talent, the Giants have had to make do with what they have, for the most part, due to salary cap constraints and a bevy of free agents that they plan on re-signing. However, over the last week, the team has added a few new pieces: namely, DT Cullen Jenkins, TE Brandon Myers, LB Dan Connor and S Ryan Mundy, among others.
Among those new additions to the team was a familiar face: someone who is no stranger to wearing Giants blue and who also happens to own a few Super Bowl rings as well. On March 12, the first official day of free agency, the Giants signed CB Aaron Ross, who returns to the team after spending one mostly unproductive season as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ross was signed by the Jaguars during last year's offseason after becoming a free agent. His three-year, $15 million deal only lasted a season though, as he was released by the Jaguars only a few days before free agency opened.
The former first-round pick had a decent career as a Giant from 2007-2011, notching 10 interceptions with two of them returned for touchdowns as a part of two Super Bowl title teams. In 2011, Ross started the entire season at cornerback for Big Blue after Terrell Thomas went down in the preseason with a year-ending injury.
On paper, bringing back Ross seems like a no-brainer, as he's already familiar with Perry Fewell's defense, and he's an established player with whom the Giants have had some past success. Also, anybody who owned a Ross Giants jersey—there can't be that many, can there?—has to be pretty happy as well, as they can now drag it back out from the dark depths of their closet. Although the exact terms of the contract haven't been disclosed yet, it's also likely that the Giants will be paying him much less than the three-year, $15 million contract he was getting in Jacksonville.
However, taking a few seconds to examine the move a little closer may reveal that perhaps the Giants jumped the gun just a little too quickly by signing Ross. This year's free agent pool is one of the deepest in recent memory, and it also happens to be chock full of veteran cornerbacks who are ready and available for the taking for the right price.
In fact, just a cursory glance will yield names like Nnamdi Asomugha, Quentin Jammer, Tracy Porter, Terrence Newman, DeAngelo Hall, Rashean Mathis, Pacman Jones, Captain Munnerlyn, Antoine Winfield and Marcus Trufant. Most, if not all, of the names on that list will also be demanding close to the same amount of money, as the going rate for top free agent cornerbacks these days seems to be hovering around the $4 to $5 million per year mark.
Would the Giants be better off with any of those aforementioned names at cornerback instead of Ross? Well, it's hard to say. The Giants have witnessed firsthand how Asomugha was exploited in the secondary as a member of the Eagles last season—and they were even guilty of doing the exploiting a few times—but who's to say he won't excel in a different defensive system, as he did when he was in Oakland?
Simply put, there is a free agent pool that is overflowing with talent, and the Giants may have pulled the trigger a little too quickly going back for a familiar face instead of gambling on a new name like Tracy Porter or DeAngelo Hall. With two Super Bowl titles under his belt, I'm certainly not one to criticize the decisions of GM Jerry Reese, but even I have to wonder how a weak secondary will be that much improved with the return of Aaron Ross—someone whose potential we've already witnessed once before.