Free Agency started like horses out of the gate at the Kentucky Derby. There were three trades nobody expected to happen including big name players that weren’t really attached to trade rumors. The three trades didn’t include the New York Football Giants but Jerry Reese had a busy day, nevertheless.
The Giants signed five players, not including Jon Beason restructuring his contract to allow the Giants more wiggle room. The five signings they made were:
Shane Vereen was the prize signing on day one. Vereen got a three year deal worth $12.3 MIL, $4.5 of it guaranteed from NYG. Vereen is a dream come true for Ben McAdoo and Eli Manning. Eli hasn’t had this type of pass-catching running back since Ahmad Bradshaw and Vereen is going to see a lot of screens and quick routes called in by McAdoo. Just last year Vereen had 52 catches compared to the entire Giants running-back’s group 62. He had 467 receiving yards and three touchdowns while the Giants core had 469 yards and a goose egg. Pairing him up with Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, McAdoo will have a lot of fun changing formations, switching the three backs in and out of games, keeping legs fresh.
J.T. Thomas, a MLB from Jacksonville received a three year deal, like Vereen for $10 MIL, $4.5 MIL guaranteed. He’s mostly been a backup for the early stages of his career, but he had a lot of success starting 10 games for the Jags in 2014. He played all 16 games, starting 10, and had 84 tackles, two interceptions, five pass deflections and forced two fumbles. It’s interesting to see going forward if this signing, along with the Casillas one, make Jameel McClain more expendable. Jameel lead the G-Men in tackles in 2014 but with only one year left on his deal, New York may have signed these LB’s with the thought of letting McClain loose.
Dwayne Harris was the one contract I was originally not very happy with but I’ve begin to lighten up the more I’ve read and learned it. That contact ended up being five years for $17.5 MIL with $7.1 MIL of it being fully guaranteed. Harris really is a special team extraordinaire. He kick-returns, punt-returns and is a gunner too boot. It keeps Odell Beckham Jr. off the field from a potential return injury and improves the Giants horrendous special teams play which has lasted for what seems like all of Tom Coughlin’s tenure. Not to mention, he plays wide-receiver and see an increase of snaps for the Giants if Cruz doesn’t return fully healthy from injury.
Another special team stud Jonathan Casillas was brought in by Jerry Reese today, again on a three-year deal and could be worth up to $10.5 MIL. Casillas specialty is coverage and bringing him and Harris in should keep DeSean Jackson in check twice a year. Like Harris, special teams isn’t the only thing Casillas can bring to the table. Being an outside line-backer, he may be the replacement to Jaquan Williams who wasn’t brought back by NYG.
Last but not least, was depth added to the offensive line in the form of Marshall Newhouse. Just a two year deal for $1 MIL guaranteed and could make up to $3.25 MIL. Newhouse, who was once a starter in Green Bay, has settled into more of a backup role the past two seasons only starting seven games. Three of NYG’s backup linemen from 2014 are free agents so bringing in the young, once-upon-a-time starter isn’t such a bad idea by Big Blue.
The common denominator in all of the signings the Giants made today? Youth. Ages of new Giants are Shane Vereen (26), J.T. Thomas (26), Dwayne Harris (27), Jonathan Casillas (27), and Marshall Newhouse (26).
New York addressed some of it’s needs for the day and didn’t address others. There two primary targets at safety, which they desperately need, Rahim Moore and Ron Parker are still available. They’ll likely attack day two knowing they need some help in their secondary but for all of us fans, we’re going to actually have to wait until tomorrow to find out!