Mar 302016
 
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Jerraud Powers, Arizona Cardinals (November 15, 2015)

Jerraud Powers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

CORNERBACK JERRAUD POWERS VISITING GIANTS…
ESPN and The NFL Network report that unrestricted free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers (Arizona Cardinals) will visit the New York Giants on Thursday.

The 28-year old Powers was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in March 2013. In seven NFL seasons, Powers has played in 87 regular-season games with 82 starts. In 2015, he started all 13 regular-season games he played in, and finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack, nine pass defenses, and one interception. Powers has 11 career interceptions.

The 5’10”, 187-pound Powers lacks ideal size and top-end speed, but he is he is a very quick, experienced, smart, and steady corner who plays well in the slot position. Powers has had some durability issues although he has only missed three regular-season games in the last three seasons.

While Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins form a very strong starting duo at cornerback, the Giants have little quality depth at the position. Prince Amukamara signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. The other cornerbacks on the roster include Trevin Wade, Tramain Jacobs, and Leon McFadden. Trumaine McBride and Jayron Hosley are unrestricted free agents who may not be re-signed.

Mar 292016
 
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Jasper Brinkley, New York Giants (November 15, 2015)

Jasper Brinkley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JASPER BRINKLEY RE-SIGNING OFFICIAL…
Although it had been originally announced on March 18th, the re-signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley was made official on Tuesday. Jasper signed a 1-year contract.

The Giants originally signed Brinkley in September 2015 after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He played in 15 games, starting nine at middle linebacker, and finished the season with 67 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 forced fumbles. Brinkley was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Since that time, he has spent time with the Vikings (2009-12, 2014), Cardinals (2013), and Cowboys (2015). Brinkley has played in 94 regular-season games with 42 starts. He missed the 2011 season due to hip surgery.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Brinkley said. “I had a good season last year. Just given the opportunities I had, and given the guys that are here and the mentality the coaches have, there’s definitely a winning mentality here, and I want to be a part of that.

“I came here week one and my head was spinning. There was smoke coming out of my ears. I leaned on (Jon) Beason and Mark Herzlich. Those guys helped me a lot. I owe a great deal to those guys…I was tested last year, and being patient paid off for me in the end. When you’re number’s called, you have to be able to go out there and perform, and I feel I did that.”

Brinkley noted the Giants’ free agent acquisitions on defense, including defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

“I can see we made great strides this offseason,” Brinkley said. “We brought some top-tier quality players in here on the defensive side of the ball. That’s going to take us a long way. I’m excited to get back out on the green grass with those guys.”

Brinkley will have to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot with newcomer Keenan Robinson.

“There’s always competition,” Brinkley said. “Nothing has ever been given to me. I have to earn it. Keenan is going to give great competition.”

The video of an exclusive Giants.com interview with Brinkley is available at the team’s website.

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Mar 292016
 
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Will Tye, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

Will Tye – © USA TODAY Sports Images

TIGHT END WILL TYE SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants tight end Will Tye has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

Forced into service due to injuries to other players, Tye was a pleasant surprise in 2015. He played in 13 games with seven starts, and finished the season with 42 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Tye was voted to the Pro Football Writers NFL All-Rookie Team. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in early October 2015.

PATRICK ROBINSON SIGNS WITH COLTS…
Unrestricted free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson (San Diego Chargers) has reportedly signed a 3-year, $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants were supposedly interested in Robinson’s services.

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN PUGH…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Mar 232016
 
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Rueben Randle, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Rueben Randle has signed a 1-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. NJ.com is reporting that the deal is worth $1.025 million with potential to earn more through incentives. The NFL Network says the deal could be worth more than $3 million and includes $500,000 in guaranteed money.

Randle had recently visited the Los Angeles Rams, but he did not receive a contract offer from the Rams.

Randle, a 2nd round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, remains a frustrating performer. With Victor Cruz unable to play in 2015, the Giants needed consistent productivity from Randle and did not get it. Indeed, despite starting all 16 games, his numbers dropped from 71 catches for 938 yards in 2014 to 57 catches for 797 yards in 2015. He did increase his touchdown total from three to eight.

Randle is the third free agent to leave the Giants this month, joining cornerback Prince Amukamara (Jaguars) and defensive end Robert Ayers (Buccaneers). For a complete list of remaining unsigned unrestricted free agents, see the Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Mar 232016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (February 24, 2016)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MORE FROM BEN MCADOO AT NFL SPRING MEETINGS…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo answered questions from the press on Wednesday at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments (video is available at Giants.com):

  • On the offseason strength and conditioning program: “We’re making some renovations in the weight room. We wanted to be a little more forward thinking down there. I hired Aaron Wellman, who’s a guy – he and I go back a long ways. Open it up a little bit down there, do a little bit more movement-based, little more stick and move, so to speak, like you play the game. It’s going to reflect the way we practice, as well, with that mentality. We want to hit the ground running. When we step into the weight room, when we step onto the field, treat it all the same that way.”
  • On reducing injuries: “When you look at injuries, I don’t think you can just point your finger at one area. I think it’s something that we’re going to take a look at a variety of areas – whether it’s the way we practice, it’s how we practice, the intensities and the loads that we use there, the duration of practices. Again, take a look at the weight room as well, nutrition will play a factor. Sleep is huge, and probably the best tool for recovery. So we’re going to take a look at everything, (including) scheduling. Everything is a factor…First things first, in the season we’re going to give players Monday off. We’ll bring guys in on Tuesday to keep things a little more consistent that way, to give them an opportunity to get their rest. Because the NFL schedule now, on Sunday’s you play at a variety of different times. We’re on the East Coast, we’re not centrally located, so flying in and out, you get back at different times on Sundays if you do have a later game. We’ll take a look at that. We’ll vary the times that we’re on the field. Our end time will always be the same, what time we hit the field will be a reflection of the load of that day or the workload that we’re going to have that day. Just things like that.”
  • On convincing DE Olivier Vernon to come to the Giants: “We felt like we were recruiting in college again. We had everybody in the room passing the phone around, and just letting him know what we think of him. For me, it was simple. Going into the game on Monday night (vs. Miami last December) when we came down here to play, he was one of the most disruptive players I saw on film last year. We wanted him to be a part of it. QB rating differential is big in the game today, and the more you can impact the quarterback from a defensive standpoint, from that defensive end standpoint, from his blindside, the tougher it makes it on the opponent. We feel that he’s going to make a big impact for us, obviously.”
  • On QB Eli Manning: “Eli, I still think his best football is in front of him. I still think he’s going to take another jump. He really bought into the system and likes the controls that he has there. The fundamental part of things was probably the toughest thing for him to get used to, but he’s bought into the footwork and the training. Having another year under his belt with the reads is going to clean things up for him. He knows what he likes now, and it’s natural for him. He’s not thinking as much as he was the first year, and even toward the early part of the last year. It comes a little more naturally for him. Eli puts a lot of time and effort into making sure he’s prepared and ready to go. He did some things last year that changed up his upper body routine, the way he trained his upper body, the way he warmed up his upper body, and the way he cooled it down. It made an impact, it was noticeable. I think that he finished last year stronger than he did at any point in time in ’14. That was encouraging. I’m sure he’s out there right now working to get better.”
  • On what he wants Manning to work on: “Before he left, he and I had a conversation about some different things that we liked, that we didn’t like, and what we can make better. Eli’s a pro. He’s no spring chicken, so he knows what he needs to do to get ready. The only thing I ask him not to do is don’t mess with that throwing motion, because his throwing motion is pretty flawless. But anything else, anything he can do to get better and get stronger and stay healthy, we’re all for it and we’ll support it.”
  • On Manning’s durability: “Let’s knock on wood on that one. He is a durable guy. He’s a tough guy. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that, and that factors in that as well. He plays through a lot. We need to do a good job of keeping him upright. To be able to push the ball down the field a little more, it takes a little longer to do that, so we would like to do that, so we need to keep him upright. We are throwing the ball down the field because we have some guys who can make plays down the field for us. Again, he’s in the office every day in the season. He’s in there every day. He’s like a coach on Tuesday’s in the past, and I assume he’ll be that way on Monday this year. The way he prepares, the way he takes care of his body. He’s a tough, gritty guy that he probably doesn’t get enough credit for.”
  • On whether WR Odell Beckham, Jr. should have been ejected from last year’s game against the Carolina Panthers: “That’s an interesting question. There are some things that I would have liked to have done different in that game. I look in the mirror first, and I feel that I could have helped that situation better…Odell and I have talked. A few weeks ago we sat down, we were talking about things; not football, just about life in general. I’m excited for Odell going into his third year. He really has an opportunity to put himself in that upper tier of player. He’s had some great production. And I also look forward to him growing into a leader. I feel that he can do that for our organization and for our team.”
  • On whether he has concerns about Tom Coughlin’s occasional visits to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center: “No, I don’t have those concerns. As long as Tom’s around, we want to welcome him and use him as a resource. We welcome him…Tom’s a phenomenal resource and was a mentor of mine. Anytime I can use him, I’m going to use him.”
  • On who will be the team’s play caller: “Am I going to call plays? There’s a possibility…I love calling plays…I think as an offensive play caller, you’re part of game management right from jump street; it’s a natural part of things. When defensive coaches get an opportunity to be coaches, it’s a little different. I think they may have to spend a little more time preparing themselves for the game management part of things. Being in the same room as the quarterback for years, I think that part of it comes natural. As far as who’s going to call plays for us this year, that hasn’t been determined. You’ll know the first Sunday of the season…I’m not willing to disclose. It’s a competitive advantage or disadvantage.”
  • On the team’s late-game time-management issues: “We’re going to have a game management team, so to speak. We’re going to meet, as we iron it out, it’s either going to be on Saturday mornings or Friday afternoons, depending on the schedule, and make sure we’re on the same page going into the game, and we’re seeing the same things as the game develops…It’s like anything else. It starts with communication first. We need to have open lines of communication. We need to be on the same page, especially at the end of games. You want to end each half with the ball. So the more we can be on the same page, have open lines of communication and have guys being willing to speak up at the end of games to make sure that gets done, it’s important.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “He came in and signed, sat down across the desk from me, and I really liked the look in his eye. It seems like he’s motivated, he has a chip on his shoulder, he’s going to have his legs underneath him. He’s going to have an offseason and a training camp under his belt. What he went through last year, for him to jump in and be as disruptive as he was says a lot about him. As far as the hand goes, we know he’s going to be a disruptive player. He’s going to get used to playing his hand in the condition that it is. Like I said before, I liked the look in his eye. He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder. He’s going to have an opportunity to train with his hand being in that condition, which will give him an opportunity to experiment and see how he can play with it and what’s best to put on it.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “What we need to do with Victor is we need to be smart. I think his knee feels pretty good and he’s just rehabbing the calf and when he’s ready to go we’ll put him out there. But it’s a little early to tell right now.”
  • On the Giants’ running backs: “Looks a lot, at this point, like we left it last year. Rashad (Jennings) took the bull by the horns, and that was great to see at the end of the year. Shane (Vereen) was a good addition; (he was) second on the team in receiving, played about 38 percent of the snaps. So that part was encouraging. A lot of guys are giving up on Andre (Williams). Don’t give up on Andre. He’s going into his third year and he’ll continue to grow. No one is going to outwork him. And then Orleans (Darkwa) is a guy who is a natural runner. He’s a good special teams player for us, he’s a core guy. He’s going to be in the mix as well.”
  • On the right side of the offensive line: “John Jerry is a battler now. He’s going to go out there, he’s going to give you what he has, and he’s going to fight you. We like John Jerry. Marshall Newhouse was a guy that we brought in for depth reasons. He stepped up when he had his opportunity and he played well for us. We’re glad to have Marshall back. He’s a smart guy who’s played a lot of football and he has some flexibility there. He’s just not a right tackle, he can play on the left side and he can play inside as well. At one point in time in Green Bay he had the ball in his hand a little bit just learning to snap, so he does have some flexibility for a veteran, which is nice to have.”
  • On Justin Pugh playing left guard: “I like having Justin at left guard. I think having that interior side of the pocket on the left side nice and solid for a right-handed quarterback is pretty important. We’re going to look at things and if we need to make adjustments we’ll make adjustments, but you’d hate to keep moving Justin. Give him a chance to grow at one spot.”
  • On offensive lineman Bobby Hart: “He’s a young guy who is developing and he has some flexibility, which is nice. He’s a player who likes to play football, he gets ball, so that gives him an opportunity to be flexible. He’s done a lot of work on himself physically to get in good condition. He’s a guy who has some opportunity for growth.”
  • On who might step up at safety: “(Nat) Berhe is definitely one of them. (Bennett) Jackson is one of them. There are a lot of guys who can factor in there. (Mykkele) Thompson. We’re going to get them healthy and get them out there and let them compete for it. We need to get them in and take a look at them, but to a certain degree they’ll each be able to contribute (in the spring workouts).
  • On young players who may surprise: “Guys going from their first year to their second year can make a jump, but also guys going from their second year to their third year like Andre Williams is a guy who can make a jump for us. Geremy Davis is a guy on the offensive side of the ball that I know it’s important to him. He works his tail off and I’m sure he’s out there right now working his tail off to get better and can help us and make a jump on special teams as well. On the defensive side Jay Bromley is a guy who can make a jump for us.”
  • On unrestricted free agent PK Josh Brown: “We’re looking at all our options. Being an offensive coach the last couple years, Josh has been great, he’s been money, he’s been accurate. We definitely value that part of his game…You look at everything that’s available and you make your decisions from there. It’s not a one guy thing, it’s, ‘Here’s what’s out there, here’s what’s available,’ and you take a look at everything and you weigh your options.”
  • On the new rule that spots the ball at the 25-yard line after a touchback on a kickoff: “Touchbacks at the 25, I think it’s probably good for safety reasons, because the kickoff is a play that, even taking the wedge out of things, there are some big collisions right there. But I think it would encourage returners to stay in the end zone maybe a little bit more.  I like the kickoff as a part of the game, but with that being said, we do have to take the injury part of things into consideration. Maybe I like it a little more, because we have Dwayne Harris and he’s an exciting player back there for us. Shane Vereen does a nice job as well. We’ve been pretty good in the return game…I think it would make the end of games interesting. If it’s a two-score game and you score, on the kickoff do you use a mortar kick, what type of kick do you use to give you a chance to get the ball back? I think it would make an impact.”
  • On the NFC East: “I think the division is getting better, and I think it’s getting more competitive. You see the turnaround that Washington made last year, they’re going to be a formidable opponent. Obviously Dallas, when they get their quarterback (Tony Romo) back, is a pretty darn good football team and has a good roster. Philadelphia, that’s a team right there that we’ve struggled with and we need to play better against.”
  • On whether he’s started working on the logistics for the Giants’ trip to London: “Absolutely. The week I got the job. We’re still finalizing some things. Look forward to the trip, should be a great experience for the organization, for the players. It will be great for our game.”

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR CRUZ…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Victor Cruz is available at Giants.com.

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Mar 222016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BEN MCADOO DISCUSSES FREE AGENTS, JPP, AND CRUZ…
Michael Eisen of Giants.com caught up with New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments:

  • On DE Olivier Vernon: “OV is a guy that’s very disruptive. He jumped off the film when we played them, when we had to go down there on Monday night. There were some concerns going into that game because of how disruptive he’s been. He’s someone that’s going to have be accounted for.”
  • On DT Harrison “Damon’s a guy that is a handful in the run game and can push the pocket inside-out in the pass game, and is going to create some problems for quarterbacks there. He’s hard to keep blocked for long periods of time, and is going to make you better on first down and second down, obviously, but then on third down, too, for as well as he does on first and second down at stopping the run.”
  • On CB Janoris Jenkins: “Jackrabbit, as we call Janoris, he’s a guy that is a very talented, instinctive player. He’ll take some shots on the ball, make some plays for you there, and we do like that. He’s a talented guy.”
  • On LB Keenan Robinson: “Keenan, we’re looking forward to getting up to speed and having him with a rebound year.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “Sitting down with JPP the other day, you could tell he’s got a great look in his eye and he’s motivated and he’s hungry. Being able to train for an entire offseason and get out there for the offseason and for camp, he’ll be full-go, he’ll be disruptive, and we look forward and we’re glad we have him back.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “We sat down the other day. I mentioned to him when he went to Cincinnati last year in training camp to practice against them, it was probably the most I’ve been excited about our offense in two years in that practice. He was out there playing well, he looked good, was moving around well. He wasn’t 100 percent, but he was out there with Odell (Beckham Jr.). We had some guys out there playing who were healthy and executing. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we had them on the field together. Glad to have Victor back. He’s motivated and there’s nothing like a motivated player who’s been counted out by a lot of people in a lot of regards. We look forward to the impact he can make.”
  • On improving as a team: “It’s no secret how you build a good team. You have to have a quarterback, which we do. On both sides of the ball upfront, you have to be physical, and we have to have guys that play to our identity – sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise. We’re getting there. We have to develop some young guys as well. All the answers aren’t in free agency. We added some nice pieces there, but we have some young players on the roster now we have to develop, and do our due diligence in the draft as well.”

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Mar 212016
 
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Steve Tisch, New York Giants (January 5, 2016)

Steve Tisch – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JERRY REESE, BEN MCADOO, AND STEVE TISCH TALK GIANTS…
New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, Head Coach Ben McAdoo, and Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch each weighed in on the team’s offseason at the NFL spring meetings in Florida on Monday.

Thus far, the Giants have signed defensive end Olivier Vernon (5-Years, $85 million), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (5-years, $46.25 million), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (5-years, $62.5 million) to high-priced deals from other teams. The Giants have also signed linebacker Keenan Robinson (1-Year, $3.5 million) and re-signed defensive Jason Pierre-Paul (1-Year, $10.5 million) and linebacker Jasper Brinkley (1-Year).

“It’s all on paper,” said Reese. “They’ve got to get out there and play. We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t won a game since we got those guys. We were 6-10 last year, that’s all I know. We just have to get better. Talk is cheap. There’s nothing for me to talk about…We had the money this time. You can be aggressive when you have the money…We’re off to a good start.”

“They’re good fits, not just good players,” said McAdoo of the new defensive free agents. “They’re guys who can come in and make an impact, who are young and have a lot of energy, and are excited to be a part of it…(Vernon) jumped off the tape as much as anybody we’ve seen going into a game. He offers a lot as far as getting after the quarterback, but he’s a complete player as well.”

“Jerry put the vision together, gotta give him credit,” McAdoo said. “(Assistant General Manager) Kevin (Abrams) put the contracts together, gotta give him credit. And there was great support from the ownership.”

McAdoo was also asked about if Ereck Flowers will remain at left tackle. “I’m excited for Ereck to develop as a left tackle,” McAdoo said. “Nothing is ever written in stone, but for him to go out there and battle the way he did as a rookie and have a chance to improve on his fundamentals and technique, we look forward to him developing there.”

McAdoo was asked if the team will be adding an offensive lineman in free agency. “We’re looking at every position, not just offensive linemen,” responded McAdoo. “It’s important that you don’t just find starters, you find depth out there. We’ll take help at any position we can get it.”

“I’m excited,” Tisch said. “I think it’s the right time to make these moves, these acquisitions. I think it’s sort of a perfect storm of new head coach, a lot of money to spend and some great players to bring onto the Giants, so I’m excited, I’m very excited. I think it’s going to make everybody from ownership on down excited about the 2016 season. I think you’ll see the enthusiasm at training camp, I think in the locker room, I think on the field. I know that Eli (Manning) is very excited. I know a number of the other veteran players are excited. It’s all about the fans, and the fans are thrilled. If we can improve this club in 2016, I can’t think of anything that’s going to make the fans and the Giants family happier.

“Clearly, the last couple of seasons we saw where we need to be better. Part of the way to be better is to get better players, get a better sense of just how to put players on both sides of the ball that are going to have more impact and make the New York Giants a much more competitive team in the NFL. So the moves that Jerry made, I’m thrilled about. I couldn’t be happier. And the players that are coming onto the Giants this year seem not only to be athletically gifted, but really, really good people and really good guys.”

“It’s the cost of doing business in the NFL,” Tisch said of the expensive contracts. “No one’s buying wholesale. The retail prices are high and there’s a reason – it’s a market, it’s supply and demand. Like any other market, there’s a seller and there’s a buyer, and the price is determined by who’s going to pay for what. I’m not arguing about the amount of money we spent and the cost of what our players are costing us, I just hope we’ve got a group of guys that are going to play their hearts out and really be contributors and proud to be playing for the New York Giants.”

Tisch was also asked about the team’s new head coach.

“I think he’s a first-rate guy,” Tisch said. “It’s a little premature, because he’s been great for me and John Mara to deal with and for Jerry to deal with and for his coaches to work with. But until he gets those players in front of him – which is coming up pretty soon – that’s when his job really starts. But I think he’s going to a terrific, terrific head coach. I think he’s going to be a leader, I think he’s going to be accessible to the players. I happen to think that a head coach who’s 38 years old is a good thing, not a bad thing. What he lacks in experience I think makes up for by what he’s got in his brain, in his enthusiasm, in his passion. And he knows the game. He’s just a great communicator. And I love his enthusiasm; I think that has tremendous value.”

A video of Tisch’s remarks is available at Giants.com.

JEROME CUNNINGHAM AND ADAM GETTIS SIGN TENDERS…
The National Football Post reports that tight end Jerome Cunningham and offensive guard Adam Gettis have signed their exclusive rights free agent tenders. Safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson signed his tender earlier this month. Other exclusive rights free agents who have yet to sign their tenders include running back Orleans Darkwa, wide receiver Myles White, tight end Will Tye, and punter Brad Wing.

Cunningham spent the first five weeks of the 2015 season on the 53-man roster, was waived and signed to the Practice Squad in October, and then re-signed to the 53-man roster in early November. In all, Cunningham played in nine games with three starts, catching eight passes for 59 yards. Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but remained unsigned until the Giants signed him in August 2014.

The Giants signed Gettis from the Practice Squad of the Oakland Raiders in December 2015 and he was on the active roster for the regular-season finale. Gettis spent two stints on the Giants’ Practice Squad earlier in the 2015 season (September 6 – October 15 and October 21 – November 4) before signing with Oakland. Gettis was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The Redskins waived Gettis in August 2014. The Giants signed him off of the Practice Squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2014.

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Mar 202016
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JOHN MARA TALKS ABOUT FREE AGENCY…
Newsday and NJ.com caught up with New York Giants President and CEO John Mara in advance of the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida. Mara discussed what the team has accomplished in free agency and the work that still needs to be done.

The Giants have signed defensive end Olivier Vernon (5-Years, $85 million), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (5-years, $46.25 million), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (5-years, $62.5 million) to high-priced deals from other teams.

“We had some big holes to fill and we were fortunate to get the three top guys – at least according to how we had them rated – at their position,” said Mara. “It’s not something you want to do every year. You have to pick your spots and this was our spot.

“We targeted these three guys. I thought we would get two of them. We ended up getting three of them. What we didn’t want to do is backload these contracts so we run into salary cap jail in a few years. We were pretty successful I think in evening it out. I feel pretty good about it.

“The three guys were a little more expensive than I thought they were going to be, but they are all young, they are all healthy and they fulfill needs.”

Mara also indicated the Giants still pursuing free agents.

“Yes, those were the three guys we wanted going into it,” Mara said. “After that, you’re kind of looking at some lower level guys.

“There are still some players we’re looking at, obviously at a lower level in terms of compensation. But I still think we have some holes to fill. I think we’d like to have another offensive lineman somewhere down the line, another corner, another receiver. There are still players we’re looking at. We may have to wait until the draft if (the right players) aren’t there in free agency.”

The Giants have also signed linebacker Keenan Robinson (1-Year, $3.5 million) and re-signed defensive Jason Pierre-Paul (1-Year, $10.5 million) and linebacker Jasper Brinkley (1-Year) in free agency. Defensive end Robert Ayers (3-Years, $21 million) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (1-Year, $6 million) have signed with other teams.

Mara said he believes that one of three injured safeties from last season – Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson, or Bennett Jackson – could start at free safety in 2016 for the Giants.

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Mar 182016
 
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Jasper Brinkley, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Jasper Brinkley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley. The deal is reportedly a 1-year contract.

The Giants signed Jasper Brinkley in September 2015 after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He played in 15 games, starting nine at middle linebacker, and finished the season with 67 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 forced fumbles.

Brinkley was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Since that time, he has spent time with the Vikings (2009-12, 2014), Cardinals (2013), and Cowboys (2015). Brinkley has played in 94 regular-season games with 42 starts. He missed the 2011 season due to hip surgery. Brinkley is a big linebacker who lacks ideal overall athleticism. He is a physical, two-down run defender who struggles at times in pass coverage.

Mar 172016
 
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Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawks (October 22, 2015)

Russell Okung – © USA TODAY Sports Images

RUSSELL OKUNG AND DONALD PENN SIGN ELSEWHERE…
The New York Giants are interested in improving their offensive line, but two players who they have expressed interest in have signed with other teams.

Unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Russell Okung (Seattle Seahawks) has signed a 5-year deal with the Denver Broncos. The contract reportedly averages $10.6 million per season. The 28-year old Okung, who is representing himself in contract negotiations, met with the Giants last Friday.

Unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Donald Penn (Oakland Raiders) has re-signed with the Raiders. The contract was reportedly a 2-year, $14 million deal. The 32-year old Penn was scheduled to visit the Giants this week, but it appears he was using the Giants as leverage in his contract negotiations with the Raiders.

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