In the process, they waived three of their 2010 draft choices – linebackers Phillip Dillard and Adrian Tracy and punter Matt Dodge.
Steve Weatherford, a seven-year veteran signed early in training camp, replaces Dodge as the Giants' punter.
Sage Rosenfels, the backup quarterback in 2010, was placed on injured reserve because of the strep throat and subsequent back problems that have plagued him for three weeks. David Carr, who played here in 2008 and 2009, is again Eli Manning's backup.
The four rookie linebackers who made the team include two 2011 draft choices – fifth-rounder Greg Jones of Michigan State and sixth-rounder Jacquian Williams of South Florida – and free agents Mark Herzlich of Boston College and Spencer Paysinger of Oregon.
"The best thing that they did was play special teams, although Jones was pretty solid in there as a middle backer, too," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "But the other guys flashed the other night. Paysinger made a couple of nice physical plays. Herzlich had an outstanding sack and did a nice job on special teams. Williams had a big night – he came off the edge very well and played very well on special teams. He got a big block on the punt return. Herzlich did, too. They continue to get better. I didn't like, to be quite honest, their response to the Jet thing (their play in a 17-3 loss to the Jets on Monday). I thought some of them were a little big-eyed. But the other night they were locked in there and they did a nice job."
The Giants made 27 transactions today to reach the NFL regular-season roster limit of 53 players. They open their season Sunday, Sept. 11 against the Redskins in Washington.
In addition to Rosenfels, safety Brian Jackson (hip) was waived/injured.
The team terminated the contracts of six veterans: wide receiver Michael Clayton, tight end Daniel Coats, guard Ikechuku Ndukwe, center Chris White, defensive tackle Gabe Watson and kicker Rhys Lloyd.
Nineteen players were waived: Dillard, Tracy, Dodge, quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, running backs Andre Brown and Charles Scott, tight end Christian Hopkins, wide receiver Darius Reynaud, tackles Jamon Meredith and Jarriel King, center Jim Cordle, defensive ends Ayanaga Okpokowuruk, Craig Marshall, Alex Hall and Justin Trattou and Dwayne Hendricks and defensive backs Joe Burnett, David Sims and Jerrard Tarrant.
Coughlin is in his 16th season as an NFL head coach, but the day he must make numerous cuts is not among his favorite on the calendar.
"You have to talk about the Michael Clayton's of the world, who are consummate pros," Coughlin said. "They work their tail off, they're focused every day, they play hurt, they bring a huge physical presence to the game. When you have to let a guy like that go it eats away at you.
"You can say the same thing for Jamon Meredith, the same thing for Gabe Watson, although we don't know Gabe that well. He came in here and was a very classy guy in terms of how he reacted. Darius Reynaud was very classy in talking to him about the fact that we would have to release him. Alex Hall, who really did do a pretty good job the other night, was the same way. Jim Cordle is an outstanding young guy who has been around here and everyone likes and respects. It's very difficult.
"Some of the guys are really hurt. Some of them were shocked. This is a day when their expectations – you teach them to aim high and they pretty much all aimed high. There was some reality there, too. When you tell them that this time around, unfortunately, it's not going to work, it's a difficult thing. It's part of the business. I've done it for a lot of years. We do things as a team here. It doesn't get any easier. It's not as pleasant a day as some. But it has to be done. There's tremendous, tremendous pressure on the clubs to get the right combination of people. It's not just positions, it's people. It's the right combinations of people in the right spots so you can have the kind of quality examples and leadership that you need. That's what's difficult about a guy like Clayton going. If I was a young guy, I'd be following him around."
Today's transactions leave the Giants with the following roster as they begin preparations for the
Quarterbacks (2): Eli Manning, David Carr
Running Backs (4): Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, D.J. Ware, Da'Rel Scott
Fullbacks (2): Bear Pascoe, Henry Hynoski (Pascoe also plays tight end)
Wide Receivers (6): Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Devin Thomas, Victor Cruz, Jerrel Jernigan
Tight Ends (2): Travis Beckum, Jake Ballard
Offensive Linemen (9): David Diehl, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Will Beatty, David Bass, Stacy Andrews, Mitch Petrus, James Brewer, Kevin Boothe
Defensive Linemen: (8): Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rocky Bernard, Dave Tollefson, Jimmy Kennedy
Linebackers (7): Mathias Kiwanuka, Jonathan Goff, Michael Boley, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones, Spencer Paysinger.
Cornerbacks (5): Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Michael Coe, Brian Williams, Prince Amukamara
Safeties (5): Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant, Kenny Phillips, Tyler Sash, Derrick Martin
Kicker (1): Lawrence Tynes
Punter (1): Steve Weatherford
Long Snapper (1): Zak DeOssie
Wide receiver Ramses Barden and offensive lineman Adam Koets are on the physically unable to perform list.
Here are Coughlin's thoughts on some of today's moves:
*On selecting Weatherford over Dodge as the team's punter:
"That was a tough, tough decision. It was a tough call and a difficult thing to talk to Matt. He responded in a class manner and made it very easy. He came in with a smile on his face. We talked about the competitiveness of it. I told him it sometimes takes awhile for a punter to develop. I saw tremendous improvement on Matt's part this year. I saw his growth and maturity and focus, which was illustrated most by a game here at home when he was booed by our fans and he punted the ball 63 yards and after that I didn't hear much. I think that was one example of the way the guy had grown up.
"I think in training camp, neither punter really missed a punt. Some weren't as good as others. They both did an outstanding job and it was not an easy decision to make. I think Matt will continue to grow and develop and I think he'll punt in this league – probably punt for a very long time."
*On whether the talent at running back and linebacker made this an unusually difficult cut:
"It rotates between different positions in different years. I think going in running back was going to be a strong position in camp. No question that made that more difficult. I think the linebacker position put a smile on most people's faces, because of the rapid development and play of the younger guys, particularly on special teams.
"Those two areas we knew going in exactly what we had, a young group we thought was pretty talented and that remained true throughout the preseason and made some parts of this thing difficult."
*On Herzlich making an NFL roster two years after missing a season at Boston College because he contracted Ewing's sarcoma.
"Herzlich didn't bat an eye the whole camp. Physically, he did everything you asked and more. I saw him improve literally week by week. He can play multiple positions. He's very smart. He does an outstanding job on special teams. He's told one time and he goes and does it. He deserves it."