Last Updated: April 7, 2014
2014 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
RB ANDRE BROWN (to the Houston Texans): Brown was originally drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He tore his Achilles in training camp and missed his entire rookie season. The Giants waived him the following year and thus began a journeyman-like odyssey that saw him with the Broncos, Colts, Panthers, and Redskins before coming back to the Giants in August 2011. But it wasn’t until 2012 that he flashed real ability. Before he broke his left leg in November 2012, Brown had rushed for 385 yards and eight touchdowns on 73 carries (5.3 yards per carry) as the team’s #2 running back. Entering 2013, he was set to vie with David Wilson for the #1 spot but broke his left leg again in the preseason, causing him to miss the first half of the season. He started the final eight games and finished with 139 carries for 492 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 103 yards. Brown lost three fumbles in the final four games. Brown has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He is more of a north-south, cutback runner with some power to his game. He is not overly quick or elusive. He has good hands as a receiver. Brown has obviously been injury-prone and the late-season fumbles are concerning.
WR LOUIS MURPHY (to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Murphy was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Carolina Panthers in March 2013. Though the Giants talked about him being speedy vertical threat, Murphy had a disappointing and unproductive season. He played in 14 games but only had six catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Murphy was originally drafted in the 4th round of the NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders traded Murphy to the Panthers in July 2012. Before coming to the Giants, Murphy played in 57 games with 24 starts. Murphy has good size for a receiver. He has very good speed and can get deep. Murphy lacks “natural” hands and is inconsistent catching the ball.
OG KEVIN BOOTHE (to the Oakland Raiders): For the second season in a row, Boothe started all 16 games. However, due to injuries to David Baas and Jim Cordle, Kevin Boothe started six games at center in addition to 10 games at his regular left guard position. Boothe was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders cut him in September 2007 and the Giants immediately claimed him off of waivers. Boothe is very smart and has good size and strength. He is consistent and versatile. But he lacks ideal overall athleticism and agility, which impacts his ability to pull and block at the second level. Boothe is not an overly physical or powerful player in the run game.
WR HAKEEM NICKS (to the Indianapolis Colts): Nicks has had two very disappointing seasons in a row. After starting 27 regular-season games in 2010-2011 and compiling 155 catches for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns, his production has fallen off pretty dramatically. In 2012-2013, he started 26 games and caught 109 passes for 1,588 yards and three touchdowns. Indeed, he has not scored a touchdown since Week 14 of the 2012 season. Only twice in 2013 did Nicks catch more than five passes in a game, and only three times did he have more than 100 yards receiving. An injury-prone player, Nicks has never fully completed a 16-game season. He missed the biggest game of the year – the Week 12 game against the Cowboys – with an abdomen injury. He also dislocated a finger in September. In 2012, he broke his right foot during non-contact OTA drills in May and then injured his knee in Week 2 in September. Both injuries required surgery, the foot before the season and the knee after the season. In 2010-11, Nicks was an impact player as demonstrated by his 28 catches for 444 yards and four touchdowns in the 2011 playoffs. Nicks has a nice combination of size, strength, and athletic ability. He has long arms and big hands. While not a burner, Nicks plays faster than he times and can make big plays down the field. When on top of his game, Nicks adjusts well to the football and attacks the ball when it is in the air. He has good hands. But even though he’s only 26 years old, he just hasn’t been the same player since injuring his knee in Week 2 of the 2012 season. Nicks seems less talented, less dynamic, less reliable, and less interested.
DE JUSTIN TUCK (to the Oakland Raiders): Tuck rebounded with a strong season (63 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles) after two down seasons in a row. Tuck also had double-digit sack totals in 2007 (as a reserve), 2008 (Pro Bowl), and 2010 (Pro Bowl). But injuries, especially in the shoulder/neck area, seriously affected his play in 2009, 2011-12. Tuck has a good combination of size, strength, and athleticism. When healthy and focused, Tuck is a very good two-way player who can rush the passer and stuff the run. However, he can be moody at times. Tuck turns 31 in 2014 and the question with him is how much he has left in his tank?
LB KEITH RIVERS (to the Buffalo Bills): In his second season with the Giants, Rivers played in all 16 games with eight starts in 2013. He finished the year with 45 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defense. The Giants acquired Keith Rivers via trade from the Cincinnati Bengals in April 2012 for a 5th round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Hamstring and calf injuries caused him to miss five games and limited his playing time and effectiveness in his first season with the Giants. Rivers was originally drafted by the Bengals in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In four seasons in Cincinnati, Rivers started 33-of-35 regular-season games he played in. But he missed 29 regular-season games with injuries – including nine games in 2008 with a broken jaw and all of the 2011 season with a wrist injury that required surgery. Rivers also missed time in 2009 with a calf injury and in 2010 with plantar fasciitis. Rivers lacks ideal size, but he is strong and athletic. He is more of the run-and-hit type than physical presence at the point-of-attack against the run. Rivers has the overall athletic ability and range to do well in coverage, but he needs to become more consistent in that area of his game. He only has three career sacks. Rivers obviously has been injury prone, but he stayed healthy in 2013.
DT LINVAL JOSEPH (to the Minnesota Vikings): Joseph was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Giants. In the last three seasons, Joseph has started 46-of-48 regular-season games. In 2013, he finished the season with 59 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Joseph has an excellent combination of size and athletic ability. He is very strong and difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage on running plays. Joseph has decent quickness for a big man and flashes on occasion as a pass rusher. However, he has averaged only 3 sacks per season as a starter.
S RYAN MUNDY (to the Chicago Bears): Mundy was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March 2013. When Stevie Brown was lost for the year, Mundy became the new starter at free safety until Will Hill surpassed him on the depth chart in the second half of the season. Mundy played in a 16 games with nine starts (seven at free safety). Even after losing his starting job, Mundy would see the field quite a bit in the Giants’ three-safety package (two starts). He finished the season with 77 tackles, 1 sack, 2 pass defenses, and 1 interception. Mundy was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Steelers. Mundy has good size and is very physical, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism and range. He is a good special teams player.
TE BRANDON MYERS (to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Myers was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent in March 2013. Myers played in all 16 games in 2013 with 14 starts and finished the season with 47 catches for 522 yards and four touchdowns. Myers lacks ideal size and athleticism. He works hard at his blocking but lacks the size and strength to excel as an in-line blocker. Myers is a reliable short- to intermediate-receiver but he lacks speed and quickness to present real match-up problems for opposing defenses. Myers seems better suited as backup, role-playing H-Back.
2013 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
PK LAWRENCE TYNES (to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Tynes had another very solid season in 2012, making 33-of-39 field goal attempts (84.6 percent) and 46-of-46 extra point attempts (100 percent). Aided by the new kickoff rules, Tynes has dramatically improved his effectiveness on kickoffs, with 34 touchbacks in 2011 and 24 in 2012. Tynes was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chiefs after the 2001 NFL Draft. After spending time in NFL Europe and the CFL, he finally made the Chiefs’ roster in 2004. Tynes was traded to the Giants in 2007 for a conditional 7th round draft pick. Career-wise in the NFL, Tynes is an 81.5 percent field goal kicker.
WR DOMENIK HIXON (to the Carolina Panthers): Coming off of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in his right knee in 2010 and 2011, Hixon rebounded in 2012 with a solid season, catching 39 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns. Hixon played in 13 games, starting three. He missed three games with a concussion and an ankle injury. Hixon was originally drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The Broncos cut him in October 2007 and the Giants immediately claimed him off of waivers. Hixon has good size and is a good athlete. The knee injuries may have permanently robbed him of his previous explosiveness, but he is an experienced, smooth receiver with good hands. Hixon also has experience returning kickoffs and punts and was a dangerous returner before the knee injuries.
DE OSI UMENYIORA (to the Atlanta Falcons): After missing half of 2011 with a knee injury, Umenyiora basically lost his starting job to Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012. While he logged a lot of minutes as a reserve, he only started four games and finished the season with his lowest sack total (six) since he missed the 2008 season with a knee injury. A two-time Pro Bowler (2005 and 2007) on the downside of his career, Umenyiora is still a very good athlete who runs extremely well. He still flashes on the pass rush and has a knack for stripping the football from opposing quarterbacks. Umenyiora is not a good run defender and is probably best suited for situational pass rush duty at this phase of his career. Despite his stature on the team, Umenyiora really isn’t much of a leader and has been prone to sulking about his contract.
LB CHASE BLACKBURN (to the Carolina Panthers): A season after being re-signed off the couch in November 2011, Blackburn won the starting middle linebacking job in training camp/preseason and ended up starting 15 games, missing one contest in November with a hamstring injury. Blackburn finished the season with 98 tackles, three sacks, six pass defenses, one interception, and four forced fumbles. Blackburn was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent after the 2005 NFL Draft. After starting 15 games in 2008-09, Blackburn was strictly a special teams player in 2010, serving as the unit’s captain. The Giants chose not to re-sign Blackburn in 2011 until injuries became a factor late in the season. An overachiever, Blackburn is a big linebacker who lacks ideal athleticism, speed, and quickness for the position. He is a very smart player who works hard on and off the field. Blackburn sets a good example for others to follow.
S KENNY PHILLIPS (to the Philadelphia Eagles): Phillips had a forgettable season after suffering a PCL and MCL injury to his right knee in Week 4. Phillips ended up playing in only seven games in 2012, starting six, and finishing with only 24 tackles and three pass defenses. Phillips was drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Giants. He suffered a potentially career-threatening left knee injury (patella femoral arthritis) in 2009. He returned as a full-time starter in 2010 and had his most productive season in 2011. Phillips has an excellent combination of size and athletic ability. When healthy, he has good speed and his range often discourages opposing quarterbacks from testing the deep middle of the secondary. Phillips is a good hitter and tackler.
TE MARTELLUS BENNETT (to the Chicago Bears): A newcomer to the Giants in 2012 as an unrestricted free agent, Bennett had a breakout season, starting all 16 games and finishing with career highs in receptions (55), yardage (626), and touchdowns (5). Bennett was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. In four seasons with the Cowboys, Bennett caught 85 passes for 846 yards and four touchdowns. Bennett is a big man and a very good athlete for his size. As a receiver, he has the ability to threaten a defense down the field. Bennett has solid hands, but to reach the next level he needs to make more superlative and clutch plays in the passing game. Bennett is a good blocker, but he needs to work at being more consistent and finishing his blocks.
2012 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
LB JONATHAN GOFF (to the Washington Redskins): Goff was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2011 before the season started with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear to his right knee that he suffered in practice. Goff became the new full-time middle linebacker in 2010. He started all 16 games and finished with 80 tackles, one sack, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Goff was selected by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Goff’s rookie season was a wash as he was hurt early in the preseason with a fractured back and later suffered concussion and hamstring injuries. Goff did start the last four games at middle linebacker in 2009. Goff is a well-built player with decent athleticism. In 2010, Goff flashed at times against the run and in pass coverage. However, while his tackle total was respectable, the fact that it was not higher on a game-by-game basis raises questions about his instincts. Goff is smart and hardworking. He appears to be more of quiet type rather than a fiery leader.
DE DAVE TOLLEFSON (to the Oakland Raiders): Tollefson had his best season in 2011, playing in all 16 regular-season games with two starts. He finished with 21 tackles, five sacks (doubling the total from his first five seasons), and one forced fumble. Tollefson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. The Oakland Raiders signed Tollefson in January 2007 and the Giants signed him off of the Raiders’ Practice Squad in October 2007. In five seasons with the Giants, Tollefson has played in 63 regular-season games. Tollefson has good size and is a decent athlete, but he’s not overly quick or fast. He’s more of a try-hard, back-up-type who will give you a solid day’s work. While he occasionally flashes, he is an ordinary run defender and pass rusher.
WR DEVIN THOMAS (to the Chicago Bears): Since being claimed off of waivers from the Panthers by the Giants in November 2010, Thomas has had more of impact for New York on special teams than as a receiver. Thomas finished 2011 with only three catches for 37 yards. He combines good size and athleticism, but he has not yet impressed at the NFL level as a receiver with the Redskins (2008-10), Panthers (2010), and Giants (2010-11). In four seasons, he has caught 43 passes for 482 yards, and three touchdowns. Thomas needs to improve his ability to read coverages and run precise routes. While Thomas did not stick out as a kick returner for the Giants in 2011, he did flash as a gunner on punt coverage, including recovering two fumbles in the NFC Championship Game.
CB AARON ROSS (to the Jacksonville Jaguars): With the season-ending injury to Terrell Thomas in the preseason, Ross became the starting right corner once again in 2011. Ross had a solid year, finishing the regular season with career highs in tackles (60), pass defenses (12), and interceptions (four). Ross was drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Giants. He started nine regular season games that year and 15 the following season. But Ross lost his starting job to Thomas in 2009 when a persistent hamstring injury ruined his season and caused him to miss 12 games. Ross was also limited in 2010 by a foot injury (plantar fascia tear). Ross combines good size and athleticism. He is fluid and smooth in coverage, but lacks ideal speed and quickness. There seems to be a game or two every season where Ross struggles in coverage. He can be aggressive and physical in run support.
WR MARIO MANNINGHAM (to the San Francisco 49ers): With the emergence of Victor Cruz, Manningham saw his overall productivity drop from 60 catches, 944 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 2010 to 39 catches, 523 yards, and 4 touchdowns in 2011. Injuries (concussion and knee issues) caused him to miss four games as well. Manningham lacks ideal size, but he is a very good athlete with good speed, quickness, and fluidity. He can threaten a defense down the field with his speed and quickness. He still has some issues reading coverages and running the proper routes. Manningham has good body control and adjusts well to the football. Although he has good hands, he is guilty of the occasional drop. Manningham runs well after the catch.
2011 New York Giants Free Agent Losses
LB GERRIS WILKINSON (to the Jacksonville Jaguars): Gerris Wilkinson has been an injury-plagued disappointment ever since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants. In five seasons, he has only started seven games and none in the last two seasons. He was a complete non-factor on defense in 2010. He missed four games with a broken hand. Issues with with his knees (2007 and 2008) and wrist (2009) have also caused him to miss time. Wilkinson is a good athlete who runs well. But it is pretty telling that he can’t break into the starting lineup on an average-at-best unit in five seasons under four different defensive coordinators.
WR STEVE SMITH (to the Philadelphia Eagles): Smith was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2010 with an injury to his knee (articular cartilage) that required microfracture surgery. Smith earlier partially tore his pectoral muscle, an injury that caused him to miss four games. Smith finished 2010 with 48 catches for 529 yards (11.0 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in nine games. In 2009, Smith became a full-time starter and he responded with a superb season, finishing with 107 receptions (25 more than the franchise’s previous single-season record), 1,220 receiving yards (second-highest total in team history), and eight touchdowns (after only having on with his first two seasons with the Giants). Smith was voted first-alternate to the Pro Bowl and became the first Giants’ wide receiver in 41 years to go to the Pro Bowl when another player dropped out of the game due to injury. Smith was drafted by the Giants in the 2nd round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Smith missed the bulk of the 2007 season with a fractured scapula and a hamstring pull. Although he only played in five regular-season games, catching eight passes, Smith was a major contributor in the playoffs with 14 pass receptions. He led the Giants in receptions in 2008 with 57 as a third receiver. Smith has average size and speed. However, Smith is a quick and smooth athlete who knows how to change speeds and set up defenders. He reads defenses well, runs good routes, and has a feel for getting open. Smith will go over the middle, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He is a clutch player who is confident and dependable. Smith faces a lengthy rehabilitation process this offseason due to the knee surgery and it remains questionable how effective he will be in 2011 because of the injury.
S MICHAEL JOHNSON (to the Detroit Lions): Johnson was placed on Injured Reserve in late September 2010 with a herniated disc in his back. After becoming a full-time starter in 2008 and displaying some promise, Johnson regressed horribly in 2009, often appearing to be a liability in pass coverage and in run defense. In 2010, Johnson was also exposed in the Week 2 game against the Colts when Kenny Phillips left the game with an injury. Johnson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Giants. Johnson combines nice size and athletic ability. However, he does not appear to be overly instinctive and does not make many plays on the football. Johnson appears particularly susceptible to play-action. In 2009, he did not hit or tackle very well.
WR DEREK HAGAN (to the Oakland Raiders): The Giants added Derek Hagan to the roster in November 2010 after injuries hit the wide receiving corps hard. It was Hagan’s second stint with the Giants as the team originally signed him in December 2008 after the Miami Dolphins waived him. The Dolphins drafted Hagan in the 3rd round of the 2006 NFL Draft. In 36 games with Miami, Hagan caught 53 passes for 645 yards and three touchdowns. In 16 games with the Giants in 2009, Hagan caught 8 passes for 101 yards and 1 touchdown. The Giants waived him in the last round of cuts in early September 2010. After the Giants re-signed him in November, Hagan played in the last seven games of the season, starting four, and finished the year with 24 receptions for 223 yards (9.3 yards per catch) and one touchdown. Hagan has good size and athleticism. He runs good routes and adjusts well for the football. However, he is not overly fast or quick. Hagan is a decent special teams player.
TE KEVIN BOSS (to the Oakland Raiders): Boss remains one of the league’s better all-around tight ends despite dealing with an assortment of injuries (concussion, back, hip) in 2010. The hip injury required offseason surgery in January 2011. In all, Boss started 13 of 15 games, finishing with 35 catches for 531 yards (15.2 yards per reception) and five touchdowns. In 2009, Boss had career highs in catches (42) and yardage (567). In 2008, he was named a first-alternate to the Pro Bowl. Boss was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2007 NFL Draft out Western Oregon University (Division-II). Boss is a tall target who has added muscle and bulk. While he remains a better receiver than blocker, Boss has steadily improved his blocking. As a receiver, Boss adjusts well to the football and has good hands. He has decent speed and can run after the catch. Boss will probably never be a top blocker, but he works hard at it and has improved. He is a tough and team-oriented player.
DT BARRY COFIELD (to the Washington Redskins): Cofield rebounded with a strong season in 2010 after a disappointing 2009 season when he was coming off of offseason microfracture surgery. Cofield started 16 games and finished with 54 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 pass defenses, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. He did this despite playing with a shoulder injury that bothered him all year and required surgery. Cofield was originally drafted in 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants. Cofield is an average-sized defensive tackle, but he is strong, consistent, and occasionally flashes the ability to penetrate and make plays behind the scrimmage. While Cofield is not overly stout at the point-of-attack, he is a better-than-average run defender who fights hard and hustles. While Cofield has only had 10.5 sacks in five seasons, he did improve in that area in 2010. Cofield is smart and team-oriented.