Well there’s certainly work left to be done, but the Giants took some big steps toward re-tooling their roster as the 2014 free agency extravaganza began yesterday. They were busier than I expected, but their two biggest acquisitions were getting Geoff Schwartz from KC & Rashad Jennings from the Raiders. The terms of both deals are undisclosed – so you can’t judge the moves fully yet. Still, from a player perspective, most Big Blue fans are happy to see their squad haul the top interior OL & one of the best RB available on the FA market.
Rashad Jennings most likely spells the end of the Andre Brown era (who may end up replacing Jennings in Oakland) while serving as the new David Wilson contingency plan. In a perfect world, they’re a tandem. If Wilson can’t rebound from off-season neck surgery though, Jennings has shown he can carry the load. He stepped in for Darren McFadden last year & averaged 4.5 a carry while being one of the best backs in yards after contact. He’s 29, but he’s only got about 2 years worth of touches on his tires. Jennings is also versatile – he’s an exceptional pass-catcher, can return kicks and even blocked a punt last year. Check out his 2013 highlight reel:
Geoff Schwartz was the real catch of the day. The Giants offensive line last year was awful. There’s no bigger priority going into this season, and adding a guard like Schwartz is an immediate improvement. He’s a better run-blocker than pass-protector, but he can play either side of center or RT – so he’s a great piece for a line that’s being rebuilt. Like Jennings, the key here is versatility.
The other notable addition Big Blue made was O’Brien Schofield. This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher – 2 years/$8 mil for a part-time OLB who can’t cover? Guy had 7 tackles last year. He was hyped out of Wisconsin until he shredded his ACL 3 months before the 2010 draft…but that was 4 years ago. Some say he might end up being used as a DE hybrid in pass rush situations. Versatile? We’ll see.
As for future business, WR/KR Jacoby Jones will be paying the Giants a visit while potential C replacement Evan Dietrich-Smith will be visiting Tampa. I haven’t heard anything on Brian de la Puente, but with the money the Saints dropped on Jairus Byrd, he’s definitely up for grabs. Love Jones as a return threat & WR depth, but would much rather see Big Blue land a reliable center.
Other moves – Stevie Brown, Peyton Hillis, Trumaine McBride & Josh Brown all re-signed. Linval Joseph bolted for the Vikings, which definitely hurts. Reserve safety Ryan Mundy signed with the Bears & Brandon Myers left for Tampa. Day 2 has already kicked off with David Baas’ official release, Hynoski & Detroit getting together tomorrow, the Broncos have their eye on Beason & Justin Tuck is visiting the Raiders. With all the money they have to spend, I’m guessing they’ll overpay & he’ll stay there. Stay tuned…