Fact or Fiction: Giants Best Free Agency period?

Posted Mar 11, 2016

The staff debates Big Blue topics with Free Agency underway

This was the Giants’ biggest free agency period in the last decade.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - In terms of expenditure of resources, the answer is undoubtedly fact. Whether or not this class has the impact of the class of 2005, when the team brought in Kareem McKenzie, Antonio Pierce and Plaxico Burress, remains to be seen. That is the only class that would compare to this one in my opinion. I think the players obtained this year probably rate higher in their respective position groups than the 2005 group, but ultimately, it will depend on this group’s production with the Giants.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - We’re barely into the heart of free agency and the Giants have already added three impactful players at three different positions, and all three are coming off their rookie contracts. When you look at the team’s track record over the last decade, each offseason they’ve added a few players through free agency, but the makeup of the roster has mainly come through re-signing key contributors, the incoming draft class and undrafted prospects. This offseason, the Giants have been very aggressive on the open market right from the start, so that fact alone sets this up to be the team’s biggest free agency period in the last 10 years. Regardless of whether or not you consider the 2016 NFL free agent class deep, the Giants signed arguably one of the top players available at three different positions (CB, DE, DT). The only other free agent class that I’d throw out as a comparison based on the volume of players who were signed is 2014 when the team brought in Robert Ayers, Zack Bowman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Quintin Demps, Rashad Jennings, John Jerry, Jameel McClain, Geoff Schwartz and Walter Thurmond.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - It doesn’t get much bigger than grabbing the three best players on the market at their respective positions. Add in the re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul, and the Giants are on their way to accomplishing their top offseason priority: improve the defense. “Splashy” isn’t a term usually associated with the Giants, but they had needs and addressed them with the best players available. But like Olivier Vernon responded when asked about the potential of the front four, the possibilities are what they make it. Let’s see them on the field together.

The free agency moves will have a big impact on the team’s draft plans.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - An impact, yes. A big impact, no. Here’s what I mean: if the Giants get to the draft and decide the best player available is a pass rusher or cornerback, I don’t think they would hesitate to pick either. But at the same time, if all things are equal between players, they will no longer be pressed to take a defensive lineman given their free agent haul. They have more freedom now, which is a good thing.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - The free agency moves will certainly have some type of an impact on the team’s draft plans, but I wouldn’t go so far to say it will have a major impact, given that the Giants’ draft philosophy has always been: “take the best player available.” The draft conversation/narrative will change depending on what other positions the team addresses in free agency but with that being said, the best way to add depth is through the draft so, for example, even with the Giants signing defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, I wouldn’t be surprised if they take another defensive lineman in the first round. Case in point, last offseason, the Giants re-signed John Jerry and added Marshall Newhouse, yet they still drafted Ereck Flowers in the first round and Bobby Hart in the seventh. In 2014, they signed four defensive backs in free agency (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Quintin Demps, Zack Bowman and Walter Thurmond) but still drafted two others in Nat Berhe (5th round) and Bennett Jackson (6th round).

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - After three consecutive losing seasons, the Giants knew they needed to improve the roster across the board. One player won’t turn everything around, so the “best player available” mantra will hold true. You can never have enough depth, especially when it comes to playmakers on defense -- like the ones they signed in free agency.

The Giants will still add another starter through free agency this year.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Do we necessarily know who the Giants starting middle linebacker is? Free safety? Slot corner? Right guard and right tackle? Second wide receiver if Victor Cruz isn’t healthy? We do not. I would bet that someone brought in via free agency in the next few weeks will be a starter in 2015.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - I think the Giants will add at least two more starters through free agency or at least two players who will compete for starting jobs. I could see the addition of a veteran safety, either a right guard or right tackle, or a linebacker who can play multiple spots.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - The first wave of free agency is done, but that doesn’t mean the Giants are. There are so many variables between now and Week 1, as starters like Robert Ayers, Prince Amukamara, Brandon Meriweather, and Cullen Jenkins all became unrestricted free agents. Meanwhile, the Giants began the month by releasing Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz, two veteran offensive linemen who started for the team.

“Snacks” is the best nickname in the NFL.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Snacks is tops. If Megatron wasn’t retired or if I could go back in time and use “The Refrigerator”, I would. Iron Head Heyward or the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye would be up there, too. Primetime Deion Sanders was great, but there just aren’t as many great nicknames anymore. Revis Island? Weak. RG3? No way. Cadillac Williams was fun, but he is retired, too. Doug Martin has buried the Muscle Hamster moniker. Lance Medow was once known as the “L-Train”, but that has faded away, too. Snacks is funny, it is logical, and it is embraced by the player. The legend of how he got the nickname is great, too. Who would want to eat Rice Krispies treats out of a sweaty sock? A guy nicknamed Snacks, that’s who.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - It’s a good nickname and has an interesting back story, but I’m going with another defensive tackle nicknamed after another form of food. First of all, it’s important to note I’d include Megatron and Beast Mode on my list had Calvin Johnson not retired and there weren’t rumors that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will do the same, but given we’re only considering active players, those two have been omitted. Here’s my Top 5:
•  5 – Matty Ice (Matt Ryan - Falcons QB)
•  4 – Revis Island (Darrelle Revis – Jets CB)
•  3 – Run DMC (Darren McFadden – Cowboys RB)
•  2 – Muscle Hamster (Doug Martin – Bucs RB)
•  1 – Pot Roast (Terrance Knighton – Free agent DT) – is there anything more fitting for a defensive lineman

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Who doesn’t love snacks? Sure, “Revis island” and “Honey Badger” are good. But the genius of “Snacks” is in its simplicity. Now combine that with “Big Hank” and you have 670 pounds on the interior of your defensive line. Thankfully, Harrison, a former Jet, is bringing the nickname with him from Florham Park to East Rutherford. “You can’t hide away from it, man—or I can’t,” he said. “I can’t hide, I can’t run from it. I didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on me and the fans love it, so ‘Snacks’ is here to stay.”