The New York Giants are currently juggling their limited salary cap space with their attempts to fill vital holes on the roster that caused Big Blue to miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons in 2012. By signing Cullen Jenkins, Aaron Ross, and Ryan Mundy, the Giants have added quality depth to their roster without eating up a significant portion of the salary cap. The team continued those efforts today, as the Giants have brought in former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor to visit with the team.
Connor is a former third-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers, where he started 19 games over the first four years of his career. He signed with the Cowboys last offseason and went on to make 54 tackles in 14 games. Connor took over starting duties late in the season after teammate Sean Lee was put on the injured reserve.
With Chase Blackburn a free-agent, Connor makes sense for the Giants. For the money, he will provide solid play against the run and help fill the rushing lanes in the middle of the defense. Connor is not a three down linebacker, as he is a complete liability in coverage and does not posses the speed or athleticism to defend in the open field.
Regardless, the Giants need to find a player to man the MIKE linebacker position ins 2013. There are definitely more talented players than Connor on the free-agent market; however, given the team's current financial state, this may be the best player the Giants can afford. As a team that has not invested heavily in a middle linebacker in recent years, it should come as no surprise to fans that the Giants are searching the free-agent scrap heap to help solidify a glaring hole in their defense.
Connor has also visited with the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. If he ultimately decided to sign with the Giants, he will thrown into a linebacker competition with Mark Herzlich and Keith Rivers to man play middle linebacker. Rivers is also a fit on the weakside as well, but with Jacquian WIlliams and Spencer Paysinger on the roster, the Giants will likely attempt to utilize Rivers elsewhere. Connor is talented enough to find a role within the defense, but he is not a difference maker on the defensive side of the football. At best, he provides modest production in limited action, while being a veteran presence at one of the younger positions on the team.
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