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New York Giants Impending Free Agents: Early Look at Who is Likely to Stay and Who is Likely to Go

December 31st, 2012 at 12:00 PM
By Simon Garron-Caine

'Osi Umenyiora' photo (c) 2006, Alexa - license: As we mentioned in our New York Giants 2012 eulogy after the very bitter and teensy-bit-sweet 42-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, one of the biggest challenges facing Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin are the expiring contracts of familiar faces.

There'll be a lot more to say about the guys under high-salary contracts who might be asked to renegotiate or given the axe altogether, but let's start here and take a look at the Giants facing unrestricted free agency. To be sure, there are some key names on this list.

Osi Umenyiora

Umenyiora is all but gone and has said himself it is highly unlikely he returns to the team. All signs point to his long-contentious but productive career with the Giants coming to an end.

It's not out of the question that Umenyiora sees a much weaker than anticipated market for his services. He says he wants to be a starter, but if reality ends up forcing him to accept a pass-rush specialist role it's possible he decides to stay in Blue to do it.

At the end of the day, Osi likely departs and goes down in history as another cog in the Giants legacy of fierce pass rushers.

Kenny Phillips

Kenny has long been one of this writer's favorite Giants, so it's hard for me to think about 21 in another uniform. His talent as an above average starting-caliber NFL safety shouldn't be in doubt, but the chronic knee issues become paramount.

It really comes down to whether another team wants to make a big-money investment given Phillips' medical sheet. The Giants would presumably have the edge in deciding whether or not to compete with offers made to Phillips since they should know the player better than anyone, but personally we'd love to see the two parties work out a deal.

The Giants do have an expensive safety on the roster in Antrel Rolle and some good young talent in Will Hill and Stevie Brown (who is also a free agent), so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Will Beatty

Beatty isn't the biggest name on this list, but to be sure he just might be the most important. He's quietly developed into a starting-caliber NFL left tackle and was one of the bright spots on an otherwise shaky offensive line.

Free agency is free agency and left tackles are hard to find so you never know, but we'd be very surprised if Beatty becomes such a hot commodity that the Giants have trouble keeping him in the family.

Martellus Bennett

Although Bennett didn't have the kind of breakout success that some thought Jerry Reese had stumbled upon when he released Bennett from backup duty in Dallas, Bennett proved to be as as advertised: a very, very good run blocker and a big, athletic target in the passing game (even if he's got a bit of the stone hands).

A guy who appeared to fit well in the New York Giants locker room and said he'd be willing to take a hometown discount to stick around, it sounds like the Giants should be able to find a nice middle ground with Bennett.

After all, Adrien Robinson and Bear Pascoe aren't exactly banging down the top of the depth chart's door.

Domenik Hixon

Hixon's been around the Giants for a while and is a favorite of coach Tom Coughlin. He's fought through two torn ACLs and still continues to contribute, as a receiver and kick/punt returner. He's the kind of trusted, reliable and versatile veteran that every team wants to have and the Giants value that.

Barring some team offering Hixon legit starting money as a #2 or even #3 option, we'd be very surprised not to see Hixon behind Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle on the depth chart next year.

A few other notable guys

Kevin Boothe went from being "that backup lineman" to a pretty solid left guard for the Giants this year. They've liked him ever since they claimed him off waivers from Oakland a few years ago and we'd expect him to be back in the fold.

Sean Locklear appeared a veteran free agent sent from heaven when he stepped in at right tackle. His return to form from a nasty ACL tear is the biggest key to his return.

Ramses Barden has played out his rookie contract and gets to hit free agency with at least that one good game in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers (9 catches for 138 yards) under his belt. We don't sense many of you will be clamoring for him back and we think there'll be a few teams out there that will think that they can make something out of him given his size.

Travis Beckum also just finished his rookie contract and, to a larger degree than Barden, we sense most Giants fans gave up on him a while ago. Especially given the injury concerns, we'd guess his run with Big Blue is done although if he's healthy we wouldn't be surprised to see him at least in camp next year.

Rocky Bernard has clung to that cheap veteran defensive tackle role for a few years now and only time will tell if he does so for another year. Given Chris Canty's injury history and Marvin Austin's lack of advancement, it's really not out of the question.

Lawrence Tynes is also a free agent, although we don't see any reason for him to leave the company.


Tags: Carolina Panthers, Domenik Hixon, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Phillips, Lawrence Tynes, Martellus Bennett, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz

37 Responses to “New York Giants Impending Free Agents: Early Look at Who is Likely to Stay and Who is Likely to Go”

  1.  giantsfan says:

    Some optimism for next year:

    1) Extended offseason (no playoffs) will provide players to heal to 100%

    Let’s face it, the fact that Eli and Nicks were not able to practice together showed on the field. Not only did Nicks lose his explosiveness, Eli also couldnt predict his route. The lack of practice time showed. With an extended offseason, Nicks will come back healthy and regain his playmaking ability.

    Canty should return to form as well. With him fully recovered, the passrush will be a LOT better. He was clearly missed.

    Kenny Phillips would be on the list, but his proneness to injury worries me. Cannot rely on him.

    Terrell Thomas returning? A bit of a question mark as well. But with two years removed from injury, if he can regain 80% of his form, he will a fantastic #2 cb.

    2) Young players getting a year under their belt.

    Wilson and Randle getting qualilty experience. Maybe not as much as we would had liked, but experience nonetheless. It’ll be interesting to see how Wilson will be played next season. A lot depends on the status of Andre Brown. I don’t see us letting go Bradshaw. If Brown returns, we may see a lot of the same… I think he earned his #2 spot.

    Stevie Brown and Will Hill are two quality players. They should be with us for the foreseeable future. Both playmakers.


    A few thoughts:

    I am in favor of ridding Perry Fewell. Like many posters here, I respect his coaching style and intelligence, but it is clear his schemes do not fit with the players. It seems like the players never bought into his system and constantly harped on change. I don’t think players like the bend but don’t break philosophy. I would like us to get a DC that will apply more of an attack mentality.

    Despite of Chase’s leadership, I would like us to get a better MLB. But with the draft position, I’m not sure if any would fall to us…

    I also expect Kiwi to return back to the line with the departure of Osi.

    If Reese is as cutthroat as he seems, I’m not sure if they will retain Tuck. He’s been injury-prone and has played poorly in the past two seasons. He turned it up in the playoffs last year, but doesn’t justify his horrible regular season play.

    I know it’s unfair to compare any players to Strahan, but I do miss the days when you can double and even triple Strahan, and he will come thru to knock the bejezzus out of the QB. Our guys can’t beat double teams. A young Tuck did it a few times, but he can’t anymore. Osi, forget it. He’s gone anyways. Kiwi rare if at all. I don’t even see JPP do it much. I’m interested to see how Reese will handle the Dline.

  2.  demo3356 says:

    Nice Piece Simon! I agree pretty much across the board. Here’s my thoughts
    David Carr- Bring back on cheap. Solid guy likes being here
    Andre Brown- Bring back. Belive he is ERFA
    Victor Cruz – Bring back is ERFA
    Domenik Hixon- Likely to get more money and playing time elsewhere
    Ramses Barden- Likely gone. Didnt even dress last 3 games
    Martellus Bennett- Bring back. Great fit and good all around player
    Bear Pascoe – Stiff- Could draft a better player in 7th round
    Travis Beckum- Bring back at right price.
    William Beatty – Top UFA Priority. Very good LT and knows system
    Sean Locklear- Sadly that knee injury might be nail in coffin for him
    Kevin Boothe- #3 UFA Priority. He and Beatty have left side on Lock down
    Jim Cordle – Bring back at minimum
    Osi Umenyiora- Wish him the best. Will be a Saint if Spags doesn’t get fired
    Adrian Tracy- ERFA- Bring him back. High upside
    Rocky Bernard- He is done. Bring in a high round space eating run stuffing DT
    Shaun Rogers – Intriguing if healthy. May be pissed about IR and not return
    Chase Blackburn – Really impressed me down the stretch and hope he stays
    Keith Rivers – Really talented but really fragile. Offer a 1 year prove it deal
    Justin Tryon – Solid special teams and decent depth. Offer minimum deal
    Kenny Phillips – #2 UFA Priority. Flat out stud and key piece to defense.
    Stevie Brown -ERFA- needs to be bought back. Future star
    Lawrence Tynes – MEh.. Pretty reliable but great kickers can be drafted in 6th- 7th rd and paid the minimum

  3.  Samardzija says:

    yeah something needs to be done about that D-line of ours. 3 of our 8 biggest earners plays on the line and they were all invisible this year. still cant believe how much Canty is getting paid

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    December 31, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    This team will be back next season. It will benefit from a longer off-season, more time to recover from a broad variety of surgeries, time for Randle and Wilson to “get to know” Eli, and hopefully some serious self-scouting by the coaches. It will also benefit from the dumping of some aging veterans who cannot play to their contracts, the addition of a few free agents (doesn’t matter if there are players “in-house”….they will still add some free agents and I think the most obvious adds are at DT and corner but an O-lineman may also be in the cards), and at least 8, and probably 9, draft picks.

    Frankly, I think we may, for the first time, see Jerry Reese trade up in the draft to get a critical piece of the puzzle. There are a few college players who fit the Giants’ systems and could be impact players by the second half of the 2013 season.

    You have to maintain perspective. It was a “lost season” because the talent on this team should have carried them into the playoffs. BUT, they had a lot of absolutely critical things go wrong.

    I think, as I’ve said many times, the loss of Shaun Rogers was critical. He was to be the run-stopper they needed and they just didn’t have enough behind him once he was lost. Hakeem Nicks is their second most important offensive player and he was crippled in 2012 and very ineffective. In truth, the entire offensive game plan ran through him much as it did through Burress when he was around. His absence (for all practical purposes) cost the offense any continuity or ability to stay balanced. Kenny Phillips is the one player on defense who forces teams to change their game plans (when healthy he’s the best deep safety in the league) and his absence really exposed the secondary, particularly Corey Webster, in Fewell’s read-and-react scheme.

    I think the effect of Sandy was dramatic. Many players were directly affected. All were very aware of the devastation. They just didn’t “have it” against the Steelers and I think that carried over into the Bengals game. These guys are human. It brought their intensity down enough that they lost games they could have won. And if you think that what happened in “Giants’ territory” in Newtown didn’t have any effect on the players and their perspective as they went into Atlanta and Baltimore, you’re almost certainly wrong. I’m just a fan, and I stopped caring about football at that point. I cannot imagine having to prepare for a game and maintaining focus under those circumstances. My company lost about two weeks of real work as we all tried to deal with the fallout from that horrid tragedy. I blamed no one for slacking off over those weeks. I know I did.

    So I think a combination of a long season in 2011 (which was a GOOD thing), the distractions that come with a championship, perhaps a small bit of complacency leading into the opening game, and then a confluence of injuries and events goes a long way to explain the failure to reach the playoffs despite a talented roster. Hopefully, the law of regression to the mean will work for the Giants next season and they will have fewer such problems in 2013. Assuming that to be the case, I expect them to have a very good team in 2013 and be far more likely to win a championship than the odds-makers will grant them to begin the season. None of this is meant as an excuse for poor execution or poor coaching decisions, but honestly, those things happen EVERY season. These are humans, not automatons. But even with those mistakes, if you take away the factors I noted above I think you get AT LEAST the one additional win that would have had them in this year’s playoffs.

    It’s so hard to win a championship (the players and coaches know that even when the fans don’t) and the difference between success and failure is minute. There were just too many things that didn’t go the Giants’ way in 2012. I think recriminations are wasted energy. It’s time to carefully evaluate and then quickly look forward. This is a great organization. They’ll be back.

  5.  demo3356 says:

    A few realizations Giants fans should except sooner rather than later..
    1) Perry Fewell is going NOWHERE unless he gets a HC job.
    2) Kevin Gillbride-is going NOWHERE unless he gets a HC job.
    3) Osi has played his final game with the Giants. Look for him to be a Saint next year
    4) David Deihl is GONE in a few weeks. Great Giant and warrior who gave his all to the team and switched positions at teams behest, never complaining even when it cost him $$$. That said his play has diminished for 3 straight years and is owed 4+ million. He will go the way of Suebert, Ohara and McKenzie.
    5) There will be NO big money free agent signing. The team does not have the cap room to sign their own free agents, nonetheless over pay for someone else’s. They will grab a couple of quality guys like they did with Bennett and Locklear this year but put down the pipe and stop talking about elite OT and CB free agents,
    6) One or both of Marc Ross and Dave Gettleman will be leaving for GM jobs. There are 6-7 open GM spots and those 2 are on everyone’s hot list.
    7) In addition to Diehl and Osi at least 2 of the following (Tuck, Snee, Bradshaw, Webster and Boley) will be gone. It is just a mathematics thing. Too much $$ going to too many declining vets with too many younger guys needing to be resigned..

    •  Chad Eldred says:

      Regarding point 7, Bradshaw and Webster are the most likely to be gone. Tuck isn’t making all that much relative to his position, I’d be surprised if he were cut. A trade scenario could make sense. Snee getting cut is unlikely, he could probably be talked into restructuring. Getting rid of Boley would be nuts since he is by far our best LB and the only one that can cover.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Generally agree but I am almost certain there WILL be free agents signed at DT and corner, and one of them may be a “name”. You cannot logically suggest that they may cut Webster (I don’t think they will but they will ask him to restructure or leave) and then say they will not go and get a solid replacement. They’ll definitely draft 1-2 corners, but this isn’t a team that wants to use rookies in that position except under distress.

      Of all these changes the one that most disturbs me is the loss of at least one of Gittleman and Ross, and perhaps both. Both of these guys play HUGE roles in the success of this team.

      •  Chad Eldred says:

        Restructuring Webster makes sense, but his contract is pretty big. I think he goes. He will be one year older and slower next season. If a vet of comparable skill can be brought in for less, he’s gone.

    •  James Stoll says:

      I think Diehl has a bright future in coaching. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him in an o-line assistance position. Before long

  6.  Dirt says:

    Bennett *really* wants to be here next year it looks like.

  7.  Dirt says:

    JPP – sackless (literally and arguably figuratively) since Week 9, November 5th against the Steelers

    One thing that was probably never said about Lawrence Taylor (the man many compared JPP to last year) was that he needed others to play well around him to wreak havoc.

    But then there was that quote that Fewell was scheming to not have sacks against Brees, which should have led to an immediate firing.

    So who knows why JPP showed up so small.

    •  rlhjr says:

      LT was never 30 lbs over weight in the hips. And the Giants had legit pass rushers in additon to LT. Finally, LT stood up and was able to roam.

      He was enabled by the scheme no limited. He was used as a weapon.
      Two things he was that no current athlete is in this day and age are:

      1. Completely and totally tenacious
      2. Absolutely no regard for his body

      •  James Stoll says:

        LT was also a once in a lifetime player. He changed the position. Re-defined the game.
        JPP is not that guy

  8.  rlhjr says:

    Offensive line (Kid that can start RG/RT)
    Linebacker (Please God)
    Defensive tackle (Canty being payed way to much)
    Corner (Kid that can be developed special team ace)
    Running Back (Big physical if Bradshaw is released…..doubt it)
    FG Kicker (50 yard range)
    Project LB (Special Team Beast)

    Could use the 2 comp picks for skill position sleepers.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I really doubt they release Bradshaw. He’s the heart of the team, and if limited to 10-12 carries per game (except when he gets hot or Wilson or Brown gets cold) he should be fine, even with his bad feet. They’re far more likely to draft another receiver than a running back.

  9.  Valid says:

    If this is it for Osi (and it looks like it is), what a ride it was. I think our greatest memory of him will undoubtedly be his demolition of the Eagles back in 2007 when he sacked McNabb six times in that Sunday night game.

    Yes, he may have been inconsistent and a bit of a big-mouth at times, but make no mistake: he was a HUGE part of our two Super Bowl runs, and his legacy has been cemented as a Giants great. I will miss him a lot.

    •  Krow says:

      OK, but all he has to do is sign a reasonable contract. He’s leaving because he wants the highest dollar. That’s a choice he’s making.

  10.  Dirt says:

    Looks like Fewell stays, and we can all look forward to “he’s aggressive when his 11 starters are out there, but gets very passive whenever one key guy gets hurt, and since this is football, there’s no chance of that happening so we’re good!”

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