Last NFL season was a disappointment for the New York Giants. The team looked bad, but thankfully they’ve been running circles in free agency. Lots of moves, lots of money, so what’s the verdict? Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
The New York Football Giants have been tearing apart the second week of free agency. Once the dust settled and the bigwigs wasted whatever scratch they could muster on players past their prime, the G-Men sauntered in and scooped up pieces they needed, one after another.
I am going to interrupt myself by saying I am incredibly biased. The New York Giants are my favorite football team. However, it is hard to argue with the incredibly successful free agency period they have had thus far.
Admittedly, it is easier to make a huge free agency splash when your team was terrible the prior season. That’s why we may be lower on the Denver Broncos than most; they don’t seem a whole lot better overall. That argument cannot be made about the Giants.
This was one of the worst teams in the NFL last season. Their secondary was a disaster. The offensive line and running game was a train wreck. Eli Manning struggled all season, and the return teams were putrid.
Enter GM Jerry Reese to fill some holes. The Giants bring in a new starting center and starting guard; they grab Rashad Jennings to play alongside David Wilson in the backfield; they add two of the best return men in the game, one to seemingly handle punts (Trindon Holliday) and the other to return kickoffs (Quintin Demps).
Then, on the defensive side, NY brings in a couple linebackers to add depth and battle for starting spots, as well as bring back Jon Beason. In the defensive backfield, they sign not one but two, new starting cornerbacks: Walter Thurmond of the NFC champion Seahawks (who will probably “start” as the slot corner) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the AFC champion Broncos, who arguably becomes the best player on this Giants defense.
The interesting thing though with many of these moves is that the contracts are bigger than expected. While not at the level of the contracts Denver handed out, with the exception of Rodgers-Cromartie, all these new signings come in for more than they would have been worth in the past.
Perhaps as an outsider you can address whether you even see these moves as substantial, considering the team still needs a tight end and some more depth along both lines. But with the expanded salary caps, are we witnessing the disappearance of value in NFL free agency? The biggest problem in the NBA has always been the overpay for mediocre talent. Is this trend migrating towards football as well with the cap creeping towards $150 million?
Or is this just an isolated example of one team overspending for players that they could get 80% of their production from another guy who costs three times less?
Before I get into the Giants’ moves themselves, let me talk to the money issue and whether anyone is actually being overpaid. The reason the high salaries were an issue in the NBA is because many of them were guaranteed contracts for suspect players. Every season, be it in NBA or NFL free agency, there are a group of players available. Teams have needs and money to spend. The value of a given player is based completely on the market that year. In the NBA teams paid for players they needed or wanted, making sure they paid enough to secure them. The mistake was in the long-term deals, the guaranteed money, and the overvaluing of talent as a whole.
The NFL, and the Giants in particular, do not have this problem. NFL contracts are not guaranteed and are not particularly lengthy on average. It’s completely worth it to pay 20% more for a player to ensure you get him, instead of saving the 20% to only get 80% production out of a lesser talent. The NFL is a team game and each cog is crucial. You can hide the player who is a lesser talent behind other star players, but if it’s a real need position then you can’t risk bringing in the weaker player only to save a little money. I think the idea of a value player only exists in years with tons of available men at that position. This leaves some of them unknown yet great, and hence coming at less money and a value. Don’t confuse value with the actual dollar figures this year.
The New York Giants have no reason to be stingy. They are only a few seasons removed from a Super Bowl, in a major TV market, with lots of money to be made. You as a fan saw last season as a real stinker. I think, considering how poorly Eli Manning played and how awful the offensive and defensive lines were, that they did quite well. Eli had no one blocking for him, leading to no running game and tons of sacks and missed throws. The defense couldn’t stop anyone. And yet they still managed seven wins in a highly competitive division.
The Giants are doing exactly what they should be doing in free agency and you have every reason to be excited. The 7-9 team from last season can easily be 11-5 this year with the moves being made. They had big holes and are filling them, paying what’s needed to do so. You don’t need to worry about tight end or line depth. If the NFL Draft can be relied upon for anything, its finding later round linemen and unknown tight ends who succeed.
The only issue I see with the G-men is with offensive play makers. Yes, they signed Mario Manningham, but the offense had no style last season and still seems to lack big play ability. As a New York Jets fan I’m all too familiar with a lack of play makers. Who do the Giants get to push them over the top?