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Kenny Phillips to Test Free Agent Market; New York Giants, Kevin Boothe Still Talking

March 7th, 2013 at 4:42 PM
By Paul Tierney

Last week, the New York Giants made a "modest" offer to free-agent safety Kenny Phillips in an attempt to keep him off the open market when the league year begins on March 12. However, today, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that Phillips was not satisfied with Big Blue's attempt to lock him into a contract for next season and is determined to test free agency.

'Aaron Ross and Kenny Phillips' photo (c) 2010, Marianne O'Leary - license:

The Giants have a decision to make on Phillips, who has established himself as one of the best over-the-top defenders in the NFL. Although he's just 26-years old and is entering his prime, Phillips has dealt with a multitude of injuries over the last several seasons. In 2009, Phillips underwent microfracture knee surgery. In 2012, he missed nine game with a sprained MCL in his right knee. Phillips has been productive throughout his career; however, he's had issues staying on the field.

As a team with limited salary cap space, the Giants have to be frugal with their offseason spending in 2013. With Stevie Brown emerging as a cheaper alternative, it may make sense to let Phillips walk and insert Brown into the starting lineup. Brown is not as experienced or as physically talented as Phillips, but he was at the right place at the right time on eight separate occasions in 2012 and broke the Giants franchise record for interception return yards. Brown can likely be retained for half the price that Phillips will cost on the free-agent market and does not have a significant injury history. The Giants are likely going to have to choose one or the other, and Brown likely presents better value for 2013.

The Giants are not going to get into a bidding war for Phillips on the open market, and it's possible the market value for his services falls within the team's price range. In a top heavy safety market, it's not likely there will be many general managers willing to overpay for a guy with a history of serious injuries. However, with Phillips determined to hit free agency, the liklihood that the Giants re-sign him decreases dramatically.

In other news, the Giants are still in contract talks with offensive guard Kevin Boothe. Boothe was a pleasant surprise last season; however, the team may not have the salary cap room to retain him. If Boothe hits the free-agent market, it's likely the Giants will lose in a bidding war for his services.

Tags: contract, Football, Kenny Phillips, Kevin Boothe, New York, New York Daily News, New York Giants, NFL, Ralph Vacchiano, Stevie Brown

22 Responses to “Kenny Phillips to Test Free Agent Market; New York Giants, Kevin Boothe Still Talking”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    One thing people tend to forget in their analysis of Brown and Phillips is that they are, in fact, the same age. Brown has been around for years. He just wasn’t getting playing time.

    So it’s really all about health. No one in his right mind thinks that Stevie Brown is in the same class as Kenny Phillips. Forget the interceptions. It’s great that when the ball found Brown he caught it and did good things with it, but only two of his interceptions were really top plays by him. The rest “just happened” (bad throws, overthrows, tipped balls, etc.). Kenny Phillips is a top, top, safety when he’s on the field. He is what Will Hill aspires to be: tough hitter who can play the run but has the speed and instincts to cover the deep part of the field and strikes fear into the heart of any receiver thinking about going to the deep center of the defense.

    If I’m making the decision, I allow Brown to go (savings = $1.3MM), force Diehl to play for $2.25MM (savings $2MMM) or cut him (savings = $4MM), let Bennett go, and pay Boothe no more than $2.5-2.75MM (taking that out of the savings from Diehl and a little bit of the remaining cap space).

    That would leave about $8.75MM of cap space BEFORE asking Rolle and/or Eli to restructure. They had to pay Trattou. And they will keep Tracy. Those two will cost about $900,000 against the cap (they get paid veteran minimum but the cap hit is only $450,000 each I believe). Say there’s $7.85MM left.

    I would get a deal done with Phillips unless someone offers him more than the $5MM we could afford, and I’d use the rest to acquire a defensive tackle in free agency (one of Hill, Bryant and Dorsey, at least one of whom will come very cheap).

    Anyway, that’s a long way of saying Jerry, please figure out how to keep KP and let Brown go. And remember, an MCL isn’t a terrible injury, and it was not the bad knee so what remains is still the concern about arthritis in that knee, and the expectation was that he could play for almost a decade before having to shut it down. That was two years ago. Plenty left in that player. Don’t lose him unless you cannot help it.

    •  Giantskillcowboys says:

      I’ll agree with your re-structuring arguments, but there’s no reason to let Brown go. I think it would be foolish to let him walk when they can tender him and keep him for an affordable price. I don’t care if 6 of those int’s were because he was in the right place at the right time. The fact is, he was in the right place at the right time! That’s exactly what you want out of your safeties. Rolle was brought in to play “center field” and he’s had very few int’s in his time in NY. Brown’s communication with Webster wasn’t always great, but that can be worked out in time and experience. The fact is, Brown was a play maker for the Giants last season. He had 10 takeaways by himself. When was the last time you saw a Giants’ defender have that many takeaways? It really makes no sense to let him go when he’ll only be making a little more than some backups. If I was to make some personnel decisions for the Giants, I think I would keep Brown, sign Phillips to a one year deal (franchise tag if needed) and then see how it goes. If they play well, I re-sign them both to extensions and let Rolle walk after his contract expires. Re-structure Diehl and Webster or Rolle, and find ways to keep the guys you drafted.

    •  nick86 says:

      Couldnt agree more on the KP vs stevie brown comparison. Ive argued the same thing from like the mid way point of the year. Brown has no where near the physical talent that KP has.

      People are blinded by those INTs, he was in the right place at the right time a lot this season…

  2.  ERICHONIUS says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of positive comments with regards to resigning Phillips, but I just cant see it. Don’t get me wrong I will be happy if the giants do resign him. I just feel like there is some team (perhaps Cowboys?) that will lay down a big contract for him. Call me a pessimist. Further, while I like Phillips, I do not feel he is worthy of a big contract. He has injury issues, he is rangy but is not a real game changer. Also, with Antrel Rolle’s contract can we really afford to put this kind of money in a secondary which has not really produced? Yes, I realize he was injured, but that is a part of the game, we are paying the players even when they are not on the field.

  3.  Chad Eldred says:

    Interesting day. I’m just getting caught up.

    Webster taking a pay cut seems like a pretty good deal. I don’t recall the cap implications if we had cut him, but I’m assuming there would have been some dead money. So if we would have taken a cap hit either way, it’s certainly better to reduce the salary and still keep the player. I’m still not expecting stellar play out of him, but if he can keep from being hot garbage we should be okay.

    Te’o is absolutely hot garbage and I hope we steer clear of him completely. Nice college player that will be totally exposed at the next level. He will be lucky to be on a roster in three years.

    With Trattou back in the fold, clearly anything less that the Super Bowl is now a complete failure. I like Ojomo and even Tracy shows flashes, but I’m having a hard time getting excited about Trattou.

  4.  CT GIANT says:

    Glad there are other “fans” and writers here who understand the ins’s & outs of how all this “Ciaos” of signing or restructuring, with only 53 employee’s?
    Why did Reese wait this long to do these things? Maybe i missing it, but the giants were “out of playing” in December, and had plenty of time to evaluate, review, talk about players with coaches, etc. then do whatever needs to be done?
    Maybe there is a lot to do, but within a short time, {last 10 days} everything seems to happen, and if you know your going to have to reduce a players salary
    why wait? I’m not sure how many front office employee’s the giants have, but Reese is calling the shots, and after that, I suspect it’s giving the numbers to someone to draw up a contract, and were done?

    I’m sure I have much to learn, but from what I see, most often, it appears like TC saying, “next man up”, all within a small window of time. maybe it’s not showing your hand, but one way or the other, your staying, leaving, or signing.

    Phillips in 2009 career was in doubt, and we all had hope, he would make it back and he did. The MCL last year, opened the door for Stevie Brown, who set a franchise record return yards with 8 int’s, and he’s much cheaper. Not sure he’s better, but Kenny Phillips would be nice to have back, and I think they want him back, they can always do a contract with IR stuff like Rogers, but it appears
    the amount is to much, we move on.

    •  jfunk says:

      There is no reason to make moves before you have to. You don’t get extra credit for walking around with extra cap space in your pocket.

      If Snee & Boothe each lose an arm in a horrific arm wrestling accident tonight, we’ll be glad they didn’t send Diehl packing a month ago.

  5.  wr45171 says:

    Lets not forget we still have a draft class to sign before blowing our wad.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      They only need about $3.6MM against the cap to sign the nine rookies they’ll be drafting. That’s based on some obscure formula but takes into account that the cap calculation only includes the top 51 player salaries on the team.

      So, even without ANY additional gains via cuts and restructurings, the Giants are currently sitting with about $4.25-$5MM of free money if they want to use it on free agents, including their own. And they have more room. If the right situation comes along they can cut Diehl, gaining an additional $2MM. They could definitely restructure Rolle and Eli. They could very well go to Snee and insist he take a salary hit (yeah, I know, son-in-law, but I think that makes it MORE likely he will go along if they need it and especially if they’ve done a deal with Diehl and are asking others all around to take gas). I think the team COULD free up as much as $12-13MM more if they wish to do so. I’m not sure they will, but they could. And that extra money assumes that they have put aside what they need to sign their draftees.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Depending upon the league’s formulas they may only get 8 picks, which would free up another $400,000 +

  6. Anthony Raiaaxr29 says:

    In 2010 and 2011, as the NFL prepared for and staged a lockout of its players, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was among the hardest of the hardliners, urging his fellow owners to “take back our league” by demanding a more management-friendly collective-bargaining agreement.

    Meanwhile, according to an audited financial statement obtained by Deadspin, Richardson’s Panthers were making more than $100 million in profit over the fiscal years covering those two seasons.

  7.  rlhjr says:

    Questions for all that is purely hypothetical of course.

    Which is the better rotation right now. The Giants DE rotation or the Giants DT rotation?

    If you had a draft choice that had to be spent on either position at slot19, what position would you take DT or DE?

    Just restrict yur choice to DT or DE.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Easily the DE rotation, especially if we assume Kiwi is in it.

      And we need to draft a DT as well as sign one in FA. At #19 I still like Rhodes and Trufant, but I’d take a DT if one of the potentially great ones fell to us.

  8.  shmitty013 says:

    Matthew Fairburn ?@MatthewFairburn
    Sheldon Richardson ran 4.81 and 4.86 in the 40-yard dash. That’s the word from a Mizzou athletic official.

    Wish I could find the 10 yard splits, but man do I hope this guy falls to us. But I just think it’s becoming less and less likely unfortunately. These numbers are from MIssouri’s pro day today in case you didn’t know.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      We will not get a sniff of Richardson. He’ll be long gone by #19.

      •  shmitty013 says:

        You’re probably right, but I’m sure everyone here thought we wouldn’t have a shot at Prince either. We were at pick 19 then too. Players do inexplicably drop. The Cowboys are keeping their entire DL so they think they can all transition fine to a 4-3 so I think they now go OL. If Richardson slipped to them, I had thought they’d take him, but now I don’t.

  9.  Dirt says:

    Best post of the day:

    LUZZ says:
    March 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM
    I find it funny that all the Te’o supporters all start the same way, “throw away that Bama game”.

    Okay, yeah, sure why would we want to evaluate the biggest game of the players career? And against the the champion of a conference that has the most [NFL] players.

  10.  somethingtofollow says:

    Those who wanted McClain might get there wish, Raiders are set to cut him and we all know Reese checks under all stones

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