After taking a look at how free agency is likely to affect the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants are next up in the NFC East free agency preview.
The Giants are coming off a disappointing 8-8 season of course and the process to remodel their roster has already started with the release of middle linebacker Antonio Pierce. The cutting of ties with Pierce appears to be a sign of things to come for the Giants as they move to remodel the defense that was so successful during their Super Bowl run two seasons ago.
Most Important Free Agent- DT Barry Cofield (RFA): Cofield has been a started at defensive tackle since he was drafted by the Giants four year ago. One of many players originally slated to be an unrestricted free agent in 2010, Cofield will become a restricted free agent if no CBA agreement is reached. Cofield has said that he "expects to be back" with the Giants in 2010, and the Giants will likely make sure that no one pries away one of their more productive defenders. With fellow defensive tackle Fred Robbins likely moving on, expect Cofield, 25, to be back in blue next year.
Other Notable Free Agents- The Giants have four players who will remain unrestricted free agents even if no CBA agreement is reached. The aforementioned Robbins, 32, was replaced as a starter late in the season and is expected to be elsewhere in 2010. The Giants face an interesting decision with regard to linebacker Danny Clark, who started 12 games for the Giants in 2010, notching two sacks. Clark is also 32-years-old, but the Giants have already cut ties with former middle linebacker Pierce so they may be wary to leave their linebacker ranks so barren. However, the Giants have 2009 2nd-rounder Clint Sintim waiting in the wings, so Clark may indeed be gone. And don't let 43-year-old Jeff Feagles' age fool you, he can still get the job done so the Giants may still choose to retain the man who's punted for the team for the last seven years.
The Rest- QB David Carr (UFA), S C.C. Brown (RFA), CB Kevin Dockery (RFA), OG Kevin Boothe (RFA), WR Derek Hagan (RFA), WR Sinorice Moss (RFA), OT Guy Whimper (RFA), OLB Gerris Wilkinson (RFA).
Targets Elsewhere? - Linebacker Karlos Dansby, consider by many the prize of the unrestricted linebacker market, has been linked to the Giants since the Arizona Cardinals said they would not place their franchise tag on Dansby. The Giants are certainly looking to upgrade their linebackers so the fit is a natural, but Giants' co-owner John Mara also recently said that big spending in free agency "doesn't work." The Giants will also likely look to upgrade their backup quarterback position either in free agency or the draft.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 8:30 a.m., February 21