By the time training camp is over, it is likely that the New York Football Giants could see an almost 50 percent turnover in its roster from 2013 opening day. With the days until training camp begins dwindling down to single digits, there are many former NFL players still looking for a chance to make a roster in 2014. As you can imagine, most of the still unsigned free agents have an injury or attitude cloud hanging over their heads. Or in the case of Santonio Holmes; bringing both of these issues to the table.
In looking over the list of still available free agents, one thing becomes apparent; the New York Giants are well represented. Need a quarterback? David Carr and Josh Freeman are available, even though Freeman only had a half a cup of coffee with the G-men. Looking for a running back? Giant fans will probably not be surprised that Da’Rel Scott is still unsigned.
Former Giants’ third-round draft pick Travis Beckum was released by the Seattle Seahawks in May and remains a free agent. Beckum never lived up to expectations with Big Blue and tore up his knee in Super Bowl XLVI. He may be at the end of the line, despite being only 27 years old.
Also unsigned is former first round draft pick of the Giants Kenny Phillips (2008). The Giants chose to let Phillips walk after the 2012 season, and he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the rival Philadelphia Eagles. But the micro-fracture surgery that Phillips had on his left knee in 2009 deprived him of much needed mobility, and he was cut by the Eagles before the 2013 training camp was over. He has not been resigned by any of the other 30 NFL clubs, and his career may be over at just 27 years of age.
The Giants have two alumni available to sign at the center position: David Baas and Jim Cordle. Baas was a big money free agent bust for the Giants, while Cordle was an undrafted free agent, who made the club. Cordle tore his patella tendon last year, and he was not tendered a contract by New York. At 26, he could be back in the NFL, but not until he is healthy. And Cordle has already beaten the odds in making an NFL squad as an undrafted free agent, so the possibility may exist that he is finished as well. Baas was designated as a June 1 release by the G-men, after completing three injury filled years of a five-year contract. The G-men ate a good portion of the Baas contract, and the University of Michigan product may not be able to play again in the NFL after suffering neck and knee injuries.
Perhaps the most surprising name on the list is cornerback Terrell Thomas. As you recall, Thomas was reaching possible Pro Bowl status when he tore the ACL in his right knee in 2011, and reaggravated the same injury in 2012. But Thomas played the physically demanding slot cornerback position with success last season. While the Giants moved on by signing Walter Thurmond away from Seattle, it would seem that Thomas would get a shot somewhere in a league that values cornerbacks as Major League Baseball values pitchers. No one has come knocking thus far, however.
On the other hand, Corey Webster’s name being on this list should surprise no one. Webster seemingly showed up on the injury report every week, but no one knew exactly what ailed him. New York Giants’ radio analyst Carl Banks even mentioned that he thought Webster quit on the team last season, after he was unhappy with his contract restructuring. A team would have to be in dire straits to come calling for Webster’s services, but it would seem unlikely at this point that a franchise would be willing to add someone with declining skills and character.
The Giants are also well represented at the linebacking corps, with Dan Connor, Michael Boley and Bryan Kehl. Connor won the starting middle linebacker position in training camp, only to injure his neck in the first game of the season against Dallas. Connor was placed on injured reserve and then released by the Giants last year, after the team picked up Jon Beason. Ironically, Connor ended up with the Carolina Panthers, the team who originally drafted him, in November. No one has seen fit to take a flyer on the former Penn State star in 2014.
The Giants released Michael Boley in early 2013 after he lost his starting position late in the 2012 campaign. Nagging injuries seemed to taken their toll on the 31 year-old linebacker, who completed four years of a five-year contract with the G-men. Upon his release from the Giants, Boley was also quietly charged in a child abuse case. According to TMZ, Boley plead guilty to the charge in exchange for being placed in a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. Despite these issues, Boley did end up with the Cincinnati Bengals last year; signing a contract on October 1, 2013. Boley played in 10 games in 2013, with modest statistics.
Kehl was a fourth round draft pick of the G-men (2008), out of Brigham Young University, who never really made an impact with the club. Kehl has bounced around the league also playing for the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and two separate stints with the Washington Redskins.
Not to be overlooked, offensive lineman Sean Locklear spent the 2012 season as a reserve with Big Blue. Locklear has mostly played offensive tackle in his NFL career, which started with the Seattle Seahawks in 2004. Locklear is a plug-in reserve, who will be in more demand later in the season as a fill-in than he is right now, since he likely will not represent an upgrade at the position for a team. At 33 years of age, he also is probably reaching the end of his NFL career.
Finally, kicker Lawrence Tynes, who twice kicked the New York Giants into the Super Bowl, is available, after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. Tynes was signed last season to replace incumbent Bucs’ kicker, Connor Barth, who ruptured his Achilles tendon. Unfortunately, Tynes contracted the MRSA virus in training camp and never played for Tampa Bay.