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How will Free Agent departures affect 2015 Giants?

One month after the start of free agency, the NFL gears up for the 2015 NFL Draft, where clubs can fill holes they haven't yet addressed with veteran signings.


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While they haven't been as active as last year, the Giants have seen plenty of players come and go in free agency in 2015. From co-captains to backups, openings were made on the roster, some of which have been filled and others that will be in the coming weeks and months.

Here looks at those departures and what they mean for the Giants heading into the draft and offseason workouts:

Safety Antrel Rolle

New team: Chicago Bears

What it means for the Giants:Rolle started every game for the Giants over the last five seasons, including the 2011 Super Bowl run. And since his arrival in 2010, Rolle grew into a team leader and was a defensive co-captain for the last two years. Now the Giants will have to replace his voice on the field and in the locker room.  As the roster currently stands, the team has two safeties listed -- Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe -- but coach Tom Coughlin mentioned last month that cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Bennett Jackson could get looks at the position.

"That's an issue, no doubt," Coughlin said about the safety depth at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix. "We do have one more access to bringing in personnel with the draft. We have a couple of guys in the program -- Berhe, who we liked as a rookie as a special teamer. We have injured players coming back who hopefully can help, but it's a concern."

Cornerback Walter Thurmond III

New team: Philadelphia Eagles

What it means for the Giants:There was much promise in the Giants' secondary heading into last season, but then injuries struck the team. They began with Thurmond, who suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in Week 2. His first and only season would end there as he became one of 22 Giants to land on injured reserve.

Coming off his Super Bowl XLVIII victory with the Seattle Seahawks, Thurmond was regarded as one of the top nickel cornerbacks in the league. After Thurmond went down last season, Trumaine McBride took over the spot until landing on injured reserve himself, and now he and players like Chykie Brown, Jayron Hosley and Chandler Fenner will compete for the role as starting corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara return in 2015.

Cornerback Zack Bowman

New team: Miami Dolphins

What it means for the Giants:Like Thurmond, Bowman spent just one year with the Giants. Bowman played all 16 games in 2014 with five starts and grabbed a pair of interceptions. He also made contributions as a gunner on special teams, where new Giants wide receiver and return specialist Dwayne Harris could pick up the slack.

"I am a physical player," Harris, a former Dallas Cowboy, said when he signed with the Giants in March. "I think all of the Giants fans are going to find that out soon. I am a physical player and I like the physical nature of the game. I like being the guy who hits players. I take a lot of hits during the game. It is always fun to return the favor."

Linebacker Spencer Paysinger


New team:** Miami Dolphins

What it means for the Giants:In addition to his role on defense -- he played 62 games with 14 starts over four seasons -- Paysinger became a special teams ace for the Giants since making the team as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011.

In the meantime, the Giants bolstered both their defense and special teams when they signed free-agent linebackers Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas in March.

"They will make contributions in both ways," Coughlin said. "Thomas played very well against us (for Jacksonville last Nov. 30). Quite frankly, there is no better info as you get ready looking into free agency than people that have done well against you. Both will get plenty of opportunities. There is just more information about Thomas in normal down and distance situations than there is on Casillas. But we know they are both special."

Offensive Tackle James Brewer

New team: New York Jets

What it means for the Giants:A fourth-round draft choice by the Giants in 2011, Brewer played 26 games with eight starts for the Giants but appeared in just two contests last season. The Giants added more depth to the offensive line in signing veteran Marshall Newhouse in free agency as well as CFL star Brett Jones.

Center J.D. Walton

New team: Miami Dolphins

What it means for the Giants: Walton was waived prior to the start of free agency, making room for last year's second-round draft choice Weston Richburg to compete for the starting center position. Back at the combine in February, Coughlin said Richburg's preferred position is center, where he played throughout his distinguished college career at Colorado State. Meanwhile, the Giants also have Jones, who started all 20 games at center last year and was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.

Photos of the Giants 2015 official roster

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