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Expect New York Giants to Fill Their Tight End Need via Free Agency

February 28th, 2012 at 7:34 AM
By Kyle Langan

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin may have tipped his cap a bit in terms of the team's free agent priorities this past weekend at the scouting combine. It is no secret that the team needs to add a tight end, but Coughlin made no bones about the fact that the team must add another tight end.

Last year at the combine, Coughlin was asked what the teams biggest need was and he answered "center." Of course, the day free agency opened the team signed free agent David Baas from the San Francisco 49ers to a five-year deal. 

Now, in order for Jerry Reese to maintain his value-heavy strategy, it is critical to fill certain needs via free agency. Expect the Giants to be in the mix for some free agent tight ends come March.

There are several solid options set to hit the open market. 

1. Martellus Bennett, Dallas Cowboys The 6'6", 270 pound Bennett was someone that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once refused to trade to the Cincinnati Bengals for what was rumored to be a "significant" deal. He was that highly valued in the Cowboys organization. Now, he has fallen out of favor a bit. More of a blocker as it is, Bennett has caught only 85 passes for 846 yards in his entire career with the Cowboys and only 17 for 144 in 2011. 

Third year player John Phillips out of Virginia has gained favor within the organization as the second man behind all-pro Jason Witten.

The Giants do not ask much of their tight ends in terms of receiving, as none have gone over 60 catches since Jeremy Shockey. With Bennett's frame, he could be a potentially good fit for a team looking to improve run blocking and who also has a banged up tight end group.

2. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks – The former Notre Dame tight end got off to a great start to his career in Seattle before injuries de-railed him. He is more of a receiving tight end (listed at "only" 251). 

Carlson has recorded 137 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns in four years in Seattle and is now the second man behind Zach Miller.

With the contrasting styles of the two, it could speak to where the team believes the offense is going from here on out. Mario Manningham will leave the offense bereft of a significant 3rd receiving option, a role Carlson could help fill, but with their 32nd ranked running game, the Giants could stand to upgrade the blocking out of the tight end position (which could be a reflection on Bear Pascoe as well).

For my money, Bennett would be the guy right now.

Also…

Tags: Bear Pascoe, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jason Witten, John Carlson, Mario Manningham, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Seattle Seahawks, Tom Coughlin, Zach Miller

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21 Responses to “Expect New York Giants to Fill Their Tight End Need via Free Agency”

  1.  romu says:

    Bennett is a very solid blocker, both in run blocking and pass protection, I could see him in Giants blue. He is yound too (25).

    Obviously it depends on the price, as always.

    Dreessen (HOU, 6″4, 243) is also a FA. He is an fine TE that would fit as well (reminds me of Boss), some hands and a solid blocker. He took over 800 snaps last season, 2/3rd as a blocker, and still produced “good enough for a NYG TE” numbers : 28 rec for 353y and 6TD.
    He’s 30 though.

  2. Chad EldredChad says:

    I really like Scott Chandler as well. However, he is close to a deal to re-sign with Buffalo. Martellus Bennett is a no-brainer.

  3.  Krow says:

    Given the current college TE crop it certainly seems like this is what we have to do. Only a couple seem to possess the requisite blocking potential. And they’ll go high and have a learning curve.

    Remember, the draft is BPA. Hard to argue with that philosophy given our recent success.

    But free agency is all about need.

    We NEED a TE.

  4.  romu says:

    @MikeGarafolo
    Mario Manningham just on WFAN. Claims he never said he’s “75 percent” likely to leave Giants. Also poo-pooed TB rumors. All right then.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      He was on recording saying he was 75% gone. LoL. Dude is a character.

    •  romu says:

      @MikeGarafolo
      Manningham said he wants to stay. Asked by @cc660 whether it’s more likely he or Cruz gets a deal. “I’d probably go with Vic,” he said.

      •  giantsfan says:

        That is a stupid question haha. What an insult to Manningham to be asked that. MM should have punched whoever said that in the face.

  5.  giantsfan says:

    So strange…

    Speaking in a Tuesday morning radio interview, free agent Mario Manningham said he wants to re-sign with the Giants, and downplayed a recent report that he’s “likely” to sign with the Bucs.

    ———–

    Anyways, I don’t think the cowboys will let Bennet go. I know he’s been soured there, but I feel they’ll try to keep him.

    •  giantsfan says:

      If we do lose MM, it really is a shame. He’s been great (for the most part) for us. What a luxury it is to have three gifted non-diva WRs

  6.  Krow says:

    Guess Mario’s Wunderlich score was about right.

    • Jeff Levito says:

      Not the brightest bulb in the box, but can you really blame him for leaving? It’ll probably be the biggest payday of his career, he’ll have a chance to be a #1 or #2 WR. In his mind, he’s good enough to do it (he’s definitely good enough to be a very solid #2 on most teams), and if he’s good, he’ll get another payday in a few years. Can’t say he’s making a bad move, even if his chances of getting another ring any time soon are decreased.

      •  Krow says:

        Heck no … I’d do exactly the same thing. I wish him well … and I wish he’d STFU.

        • Jeff Levito says:

          lol. Whatever, he can talk all he wants. He’s not our problem anymore. And his talking is nothing in comparison to Jacobs, Rolle and Osi. Those 3 guys talk more than some entire teams.

  7. Jeff Levito says:

    While I think Carlson as a receiving TE would be a great fit for Eli, especially with the need for someone to roam the middle of the field with the two WRs opening it up, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing Bennett become the TE the Cowboys envisioned when they drafted him…but as a player for their hated division rival!

  8. Abbott Stillmanfanfor55years says:

    Now Mario is a great example of a kid who is basically a pretty decent guy who just happens to like the weed and isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. He probably didn’t realize the implications of what he said earlier until his agent filled him in regarding how GMs around the league might react. Now he has to backtrack a bit. Frankly, I wish him well.

    Some may assume that without Eli throwing him the ball and without the advantage of having defenses focus on Nicks and Cruz he will prove “disappointing” to a new team. I don’t think that’s right. He has the potential to be a top NFL receiver, certainly an excellent #2 on almost every team. I would love to see him back with the Giants but leaving aside the money, if he “wants the ball” (as all good receivers do) there’s no way he will want to remain a #3 receiver surrounded by two other young guys who will be on the Giants for the duration of their careers. My hope was that Reese could convince Mario and Rosenhaus that another 2-3 years with the Giants would get him to the point at which a number of teams might see him as a potential #1 receiver and would therefore give him a big “capstone” contract as he closed out his career. But with the risk of injury I could never criticize Manningham and his advisors for opting for the most money right now. You have to assume that’s the way he will go, but I still think Reese should make that decision tough.

    • Jeff Levito says:

      Agreed. And there’s no reason to think he can’t be a good WR on his own. The kid had almost 1800 receiving yards in 09 & 10. He was also very solid at Michigan and some of his most memorable plays in college (at least for me (I’m a Michigan fan)) were catching the ball in traffic and making plays. Even though his numbers weren’t great this year, he’s shown improvement every year in the league. It just so happens that Cruz caught fire and took his spot. If it weren’t for Cruz explosion, Mario probably had a 1200+ yard season in him and a huge payday ahead of him.

      •  giantsfan says:

        What’s fantastic about all three of our WRs, they are fearless. One thing that bothers me tremendously about Eli is that he will not shy away from exposing his receivers to a big hit. And he has continually done. Kevin Boss, Ballard, Nicks all have memorable big hits and often.

        But our guys, man oh man, are they tough. They dont have alligator arms like some wimps out there (djack..)

  9.  LUZZ says:

    TE’s get blasted all over the league on seem routes. The Safeties are sitting on those routes just waiting to blow up these TE’s. It’s not just an Eli situation. Remember the hit Phillips put on Graham?

    In the case of both Boss and Ballard, one of the reasons they seem to get lit up so often is that they are probably 2 of the least athletic TE’s in the game. Being less athletic tends to leave you flat footed when coming down, thus more likely to absorb a big blow.

    I’m sure Boss and Ballard are fine athletes in their own right, but these NFL secondary’s are made up of some of the best athletes in the world as measured by size, speed, and explosive power. If you’re a bit flat footed and thick ankled, you are going to get punished out there. In the case of Boss, Ballard, Pascoe, and many other TE’s around the league this is just the way it is for them. This is one of the reason’s the NFL is coming down on these hits. These safeties are capable of delivering such a blow that they could actually kill someone out there.

    If Kenny Phillips put the same hit on me (5’11, 195lbs) that he put on Graham, I would probably never walk again. That’s the punishment these guys take. It’s not an Eli thing, it’s an NFL thing.

    •  giantsfan says:

      It’s not just though. I can recall times where he’ll lead them into oncoming defenders. This may not be fair cuz i’m sure other QBs around the league doe sit, but I do see that happening with Eli and it’s quite disturbing to see when our guys go for the ball then gets his bell rung, sometimes, really badly

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