Mar 112016
 
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PRINCE AMUKAMARA SIGNS WITH JAGUARS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara has signed a 1-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.

The 26-year old Amukamara was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. In his five seasons with the team, he has stayed healthy for a full 16-game schedule just once (2013). He missed most of his rookie season with a broken foot, battled high ankle sprain and hamstring injuries in 2012, and missed half of the 2014 season with a torn biceps muscle.

Amukamara was off to a strong start in 2015 until he tore his pectoral muscle in Week 5. He missed the next five games, and when he returned, Amukamara did not play as effectively. He played in 11 games with 10 starts, and finished the season with 63 tackles, 10 pass defenses, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.

ROBERT AYERS SIGNS WITH BUCCANEERS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The contract is reportedly a 3-year, $21 million deal that includes $10.5 million in guaranteed money.

The 30-year old Ayers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL by the Broncos. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in April 2014. In his first year with the Giants in 2014, Ayers started 1-of-12 games before being placed on Injured Reserve with a torn pectoral muscle. Despite missing four games early in the season with a hamstring injury, Ayers had his best NFL season in 2015, starting 11-of-12 games and finishing with career highs in tackles (41), sacks (9.5), pass defenses (4), and forced fumbles (2).

MARCH 11, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
The official NFL free agency signing period began on Wednesday. Here is the latest news and rumors regarding the New York Giants:

  • Multiple media sources report unrestricted free agent left tackle Russell Okung (Seattle Seahawks) visited the New York Giants on Friday, but left without a contract. He will next meet with the Detroit Lions on Saturday. The Seahawks and 49ers are also said to be interested in his services. Okung is representing himself in contract negotiations. The 28-year old Okung was originally drafted in the 1st round (6th overall pick) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Okung needed left shoulder surgery to repair a dislocation suffered in the 2015 playoffs and reportedly is still recovering from that procedure.
  • The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants are one of three teams “in the mix” for the services of unrestricted free agent safety Chris Conte (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). The other two teams are the Buccaneers and Saints. The 27-year old Conte was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He signed with the Buccaneers in March 2015. In his five NFL seasons, Conte has played in 71 regular-season games with 65 starts, including 13 starts in 2015 when he accrued 79 tackles, six pass defenses, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent safety Reggie Nelson (Cincinnati Bengals). However, the paper also says the Giants do not consider safety a “high priority”. The 32-year old Nelson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since 2010, he has played for the Bengals. In 2015, Nelson made the Pro Bowl after starting all 16 regular-season games and finishing with 77 tackles, 14 pass defenses, and eight interceptions.
  • FOXSports out of Indianapolis is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent linebacker Jerrell Freeman (Indianapolis Colts). Freeman is meeting with the Chicago Bears on Friday and the Atlanta Falcons are also said to be interested. The 29-year old Freeman was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2008 NFL Draft but he did not make the team. Freeman played for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009-2011 before joining the Colts in 2012. In the last four seasons, Freeman has started all 57 regular-season games he has played in with Indianapolis, including 13 in 2015, when his finished the season with 112 tackles, three sacks, and one interception.

NO COMPENSATORY DRAFT PICKS FOR GIANTS…
As expected, the New York Giants were not awarded any compensatory draft picks for 2015 free agent losses. Compensatory picks are awarded to teams that have lost more qualifying free agents than they gained the previous year in free agency.

ARTICLES…

Mar 252015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Addresses Media at League Meeting: New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday. Some of key points made by Coughlin included:

  • On WR Victor Cruz’s recovery from knee surgery: “I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well… I don’t know (when he will be able to fully practice). I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”
  • On QB Eli Manning’s contract situation: “Eli knows he’s our guy. (As for) when these things get done, well, I think John (Mara) last week expressed it as well as it can be said. Yeah, it’d be great if it was done. If it isn’t done going in (to the season), it’ll be done during or shortly after or whenever… It’ll get done, I’m fully confident of that, and I think so is Eli. Why would he have any concern about that?”
  • On the safety position: “That’s an issue, no doubt. We do have one more access to bringing in personnel, obviously, the draft. And we have a couple of guys in the program including (Nat) Berhe, who we really liked as a rookie and a special-teamer. We have injured players (Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson) coming back that can help. But there’s concern, no doubt… (Moving Jackson to safety) is a possibility… a kid none of us know much about. He’s rehabbing. He’s doing pretty well.”
  • In addition to Bennett Jackson, Coughlin also said cornerback Chykie Brown might be moved to safety.
  • On S Nat Berhe: “(He can play free safety and) I think he can come down in the box, too. His special-teams play would lead you to believe that. We threw him into a lot of responsibility on special teams and I thought he handled it well. So he’s adaptable, he’s smart, he’s anxious and he’s eager for the opportunity, for sure.”
  • On RB Shane Vereen: “As a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, pass-protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three wide offense, the defensive run game if you will. A lot of the (Tom) Brady hook up with Vereen, the ball was almost automatically going to him. You know there would be certain first downs, if there was zone coverage, they would drop the ball off and he would scoot. So, we know that. Will we open it up to other parts of it? Well, we would like to make sure he can. He does very well at that spot. I really like the young man, he adds an experienced playmaker out of the backfield.”
  • On WR/Special Teams Player Dwayne Harris: “The idea that you have a guy of that ability — and you’ve seen the way he carries himself on the field, he’s physical — to have a guy who can kick return, punt return, cover kicks, gunner. In this day and age to have a guy at gunner who’s consistent and good, let’s face it, it’s been a while since we’ve had that. That is a very attractive deal… (David) Tyree would come in (on offense), he’d be a blocker, that’s what Harris does, but you see him on the field, you start thinking that way. And that part of it alone opens up possibilities, maybe you get back to that old fake ghost screen stuff again, maybe that becomes a better opportunity for it. Whether he’s the third receiver or fourth receiver or a special situation kind of a player, offensively he wants to contribute.”
  • On linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas: “We think Thomas can be a WILL ‘backer. Casillas is basically the same kind of guy. Both are excellent special teamers. They’ll make contributions in both ways.”
  • On what he expects out of LB Devon Kennard: “A lot. If Jon (Beason) comes back and Jon is healthy and can play, then you have Kennard maybe in a stronger position and rushing the passer more, the whole deal that way. That is going to make you better.”
  • On DE Damontre Moore: “He has to make a contribution. He has the pass rush ability and special team play.”
  • On the defensive tackle position: “(Kenrick) Ellis is a big human. The young man on our practice squad, (Dominique) Hamilton, is a big human, so I am looking forward to seeing what they can do, too… We realized that big dominating guy in the middle is a good starting point for the D-Line.”

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

A video of an NFL Network interview is also available at Giants.com.

Giants Receive No Compensatory Draft Picks: As expected, the New York Giants will not receive any compensatory choices in the 2015 NFL Draft. Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The Giants were pretty aggressive in signing free agents for other teams in 2014. For a complete list of free agents signed and lost by Giants in 2014, see the 2014 Free Agency Scorecard.

Giants.com Q&A with OT Justin Pugh: A video of a Giants.com interview with OT Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Shane Vereen gives Tom Coughlin and Giants more options in passing game by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Jennings: Giants offense can be “dominant” by Arthur Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants Wide Receivers: Do the Giants have enough wide receiver depth to protect against Victor Cruz being healthy? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on LB J.T. Thomas: Why didn’t Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign J.T. Thomas and what does he bring to Giants defense? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com