The NFL is investigating alleged violations of the rules surrounding the legal tampering period that opened Saturday at noon, where teams and player’s agents are permitted to talk terms conceptually, but not exchange offers or agree to contracts. Anyone as plugged into Twitter as the average @Giants360 follower is aware that word of agreements have been bandied about since Saturday afternoon, with Ndamukong Suh, the top player on the market, agreeing to a contract with the Miami Dolphins.
Anxiety among Giants fans has increased as no word of any agreement with any player and the team havimg been leaked to the press, however, this comes as no surprise to those of us who have been watching Jerry Reese operate since he became general manager in 2007. Advance word rarely leaks, and if it does, the source seems to be quickly located and plugged. The Giants, unlike the majority of the National Football League, intend to abide by the rules of the legal tampering period, and are not formally reaching agreements with players until 4 PM today, when the market opens. Or are at least taking steps to ensure that any verbal agreements remain firmly under wraps.
Does this mean no agreements have been reached? Not at all, one player that should be announced shortly after the deadline passes is former Cardinals defensive tackle/nose tackle Dan Williams, the top run defending interior defensive lineman on the free agent market. Whispers of the Giants interest have been clear since Saturday, and competition for his services seem to be minimal compared to other players the team has pursued. He is one of the players Giants360 identified in our free agent positional summaries as a possible target for the team, and you can find that information here.
Leaked information yesterday pointed to the team agreeing to a contract with Eagles free agent defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham, but he has decided to return to Philadelphia rather than come to the Giants. Graham’s negotiation broke down because the Giants were only offering a one year deal and Philadelphia offered four years. There have been a few mentions of the Giants taking a look at Browns linebackers/defensive end Jabaal Sheard, another strong run defender, who would provide Steve Spagnuolo with the flexibility to use him in multiple formations and positions. The lack of continuity in this rumor makes me think it’s either very true, or very false, but not a drawn out and surprisingly public negotiation like Graham. Sheard is another Giants360 player advocated in the free agency series.
The leading rumor over the past 15 hours has been the Giants interest in former Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Fresh off a big game in Super Bowl 49, his name bring excitement to the fan base, but a closer examination of his body of work reveals a surprising number of injuries for a 26 year old running back. Of the Patriots last 48 games, Vereen has played in only 37 while hamstring, wrist, foot, and groin injuries have prevented him from taking the field in the other 11. He is said to be seeking a contract that averages $3.5 million per season, which is far too high for a back that will have to have his role limited to stay healthy. Jacquizz Rodgers rates out similarly according to ProFootballFocus.com and will come at a much more reasonable price. If the Giants sign Vereen, they team will experience buyer’s remorse long before his contract expires. It should be noted there are no whispers of the Giants showing interest in Rodgers.
Adrian Clayborn has been linked to the Giants since Saturday afternoon, and the news has remained eerily quiet thereafter. This could be interpreted as an agreement being reached, but not announced, per the NFL’s express rules, or it could indicated that the talks broke down. Clayborn is a former 20th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft who has excelled at run defense when he’s been healthy. Having him on a defensive line with Jason Pierre-Paul, Hankins, and Williams would give the Giants a very strong run defending base defense.
Safety remains a top priority, but also a highly competitive position. With Devin McCourty off the market, Rahim Moore, they safety Giants360 has been advocating as the more reasonable alternative for almost a month, has vaulted into the top free agent slot. Ron Parker, the converted cornerback who played twelve games at free safety for the Chiefs is said to be a top target for the Giants, as is soon to be former Buffalo Bill Da’Norris Searcy. Interest in Searcy is likely an indicator of the salary ceiling for Moore climbing above the maximum the Giants are willing to pay.
What’s going to happen at 4 PM? The sleeping Giants awaken and announce a signing, Williams. Perhaps two, the second being Vereen, creating a buzz and excitement among fans, but drawing criticism in this space. A third and forth signing before tomorrow morning, from among Parker, Searcy, Clayborn, or Sheard would not be shocking, but then things will calm down until things settle down and salary demands begin their descent towards the veteran minimum. Those players who don’t sign within the first two weeks of the market opening will realize that a flood of cheap labor enters the market at the end of next month and will scramble to find a landing spot. That’s when the Giants will fill their roster with quality players at an affordable price.
With 16 million of cap space available following Jon Beason’s contract restructuring, announced yesterday evening, the Giants have enough room to add several players who can start and make contributions to the team in 2015. The Giants360 Twitter account will bring you breaking news first, with analysis to follow on this website. Send questions on Twitter or to footballgiants360.com, as we’re always pleased to interact with intelligent fans.
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