This blog has been sitting here staring at me in the face for a couple of years now, but I needed some motivation to actually take it out of mothballs. Instead of sending around my comments to friends in emails, which people find so annoying, i decided to resurrect this blog. Here goes:
First comments from March 10th:
Reese may have overpaid for these players and there are definitely some risks, which I will outline below, but the bottom line is that the defense was completely devoid of quality players and good athletes and needed an enormous infusion of athleticism/talent. They seem to have gotten some of that yesterday.
One thing to like about all three players is that they are not aging, oft-injured players. In addition to getting new S&C coach, Giants are probably trying to steer clear of injury creating situations, such as signing older players or players with long history of injury. No doubt this went into the decision to cut Beatty and Schwartz and not to resign Prince. JPP is a different story - that was not an injury that was an accident.
CB Jenkins is very talented, very athletic, but apparently a real gambler. He is boom or bust - gets beat deep at times, bites on fakes and double moves, but also makes big plays. He has lots of talent, so perhaps Spagnuolo can mold him and develop him properly. I like Prince, but I believe they were scared off by injuries. This guy has big upside and nice to have two dangerous CBs
Vernon is the best DE edge pass rusher left on the FA market, but that doesn't mean he's worth what we paid for him. The worry about him is the famous Leonard Marshall syndrome. Marshall played DE next to LT. He made a bunch of plays, even made pro bowl one year. Then he left the Giants and signed a big FA contract with the Jets who were hoping he would replicate the productivity he showed with the Giants for the Jets. Unfortunately they did not have LT playing LB for them. He was out of the league one year later. Vernon was playing next to Suh who attracted a lot of attention, leaving Vernon to face many 1-on-1 situations. So maybe his sacks and numbers this past year were largely a function of that. BUT ----- Vernon was also fairly productive the few years before Suh arrived; in total he had very good numbers over the past 3 or 4 years. he is young, maybe he is coming into his own, he has a real upside.
The best signing may have been Harrison. He is an absolute stud at DT, maybe one of the best 3 or 4 DTs in football, especially if you just look at run stoppers. He did play in a 3-4 and now will be a 4-3 DT, which is an adjustment. Not everyone who is built for one canexcel in the other defense. But he is very good. Hankins and Harrison in the middle of the defense is solid and gives the DEs room to be creative. JPP had trouble closing the deal last year and actually making tackles because of the hand, but he was very disruptive and did get into the backfield to cause pressure. When he came back all of a sudden Ayers woke up and started making some plays because the OL had to pay attention to JPP. With JPP, Harrison and Hankins, even if Vernon's numbers were slightly inflated by Suh, he also has some protection on this newly reconstituted DL.
It's interesting that NYG did not go after a LB, also a need. But - there were no Kuchlys on the market and it's not worth overspending on a LB that is not a 3 down player. Very few LBs are nowadays - that doesn't mean you don't need LBs, you definitely need them - it's just that the LBs that can cover the TEs and the RBs or the zones in the middle of the field are often not big enough to stand up to the run; converse is also true of course. Many of the LBs have become situational players now. Makes it hard to find them and play defense because a team can still throw in down and distance and with personnel package that might indicate a run. It's probably why a great pass catching TE is so valuable. LB usually plays off and gives the TE free release and if he's a great pass catcher, that's all he needs to get going. Hard to defend.
Bottom line is that if they had gotten only one of these defensive players it would not have improved the defense that much. The fact that they got all of them is possibly a huge upgrade because the opposing offenses can't concentrate on one. Spagnuolo has some work to do but he has some talent to work with now. Like I said above, they may have overspent, but even if these guys don't play to their contract numbers, but are still very good players..... who cares. I tried to find the TV rights fees for the next several years, but could not find it.... but I do know that they're going up, which means the salary cap will continue to go up next year. So we may not be capped out next year by these big contracts this year.
BTW ---- with all this money being thrown around, how much of a bargain does Eli look like right now. Especially after Bradford, Flacco, Chase Daniels contracts!
Still need: S, LB, right side of OL, WR. Highest priority in FA I think is a S. The rest we can fill with draft choices, spare parts, value/bargain FAs. But after spending all this $$$ on defense, I don't want a rookie S who learns the position while getting beat deep 3 times a game.