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.
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