The New York Giants were hoping to land return man and backup slot receiver Julian Edelman this offseason in hopes of solidifying their wide receiver corp. and allowing David Wilson to step aside as the return man. With Edelman back as a member of the New England Patriots, the Giants are likely to take another gander at the free-agent market, hoping that they can swipe another quality free-agent on a salary cap friendly deal.
Earlier this offseason, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plains Dealer reported that the Giants could have an interest in Josh Cribbs. Although Cribbs reportedly failed a physical with the Arizona Cardinals, he could still make sense for the Giants.
Cribbs failed his physical because he had not yet fully recovered from surgery on a torn meniscus in his knee. The Cardinals wanted to give his knee more time to heal before committing any money to him, but with that opens the door that Cribbs could find a better situation for himself on the open market.
After spending the entirety of his nine-year NFL career in a Cleveland Browns uniform, it's likely Cribbs want to play for a contender this season. The Giants can offer him a two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback, ample opportunities to make plays with the ball in his hands and a legitimate chance to win a ring.
If the Giants are interested in picking up quality depth at wide receiver, an interest that appears sincere given the team's interest in Edelman, Josh Cribbs is a quality fallback option. Cribbs played in all 16 games last season for the Browns, but only amassed 7 receptions for 63 yards. Cribbs has shown an ability to remain healthy throughout his career, as he has only missed one game over the last four seasons. It's indisputable that his numbers have declined as of late, but given that he would not be relied upon as a starter for the Giants, he's still athletic enough to find a contributing role on this roster.
The Giants have a decision to make on special teams next season. With David Wilson presumably taking over starting running back duties, it's unlikely that the team allows him to double as a kick returner as well. Jerrel Jernigan is still on the Giants roster, and would provide an affordable replacement for WIlson as kick returner, while also playing as a backup slot receiver. If the Giants feel that Jernigan will be effective enough to contribute in both of those capacities, then it makes sense for the team to pass on Cribbs. But given the team's interest in Edelman, there is at least some uncertainty within the front office in Jernigan's skill-set.
The Giants are being held hostage by Victor Cruz's contract negotiations at the current moment. It's likely that Cruz sings his long term agreement just before the draft, which would pay him just over $7 million annually. However, if Cruz does not sign his contract but elects to sign his tender and play this season for $2.89 million, the team will have significantly more salary cap space to operate with. With such uncertainty surrounding how much salary cap space the team has available, the Giants are stuck handing out one-year contracts for the league minimum.
Jerry Reese has done a nice job at finding quality depth in Aaron Ross, Mike Patterson and Dan Connor to play for the team at bargain prices. It remains to be seen if Josh Cribbs will fall into that category as well, as the Giants may still be looking to add depth at wide receiver.
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