Sunday, March 9, 2014
Giants make calls on CB Verner, DL Jones
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
You have to be careful this weekend with what you hear and where you hear it. The NFL's legal tampering window opened at noon ET on Saturday, so while no free agent can sign with a new team until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, teams are allowed to talk to agents for free-agent players, and talk they do. Reports Saturday indicated the New York Giants had reached out to the representatives for Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner and Baltimore defensive lineman Arthur Jones.
The calls could mean any number of things. Take Verner, for example, who is likely to be one of the most sought-after and highly paid cornerbacks on the free-agent market. The Giants could be looking around to see whether they can afford to spend on a cornerback this offseason, and calling the agent for the top one to see where the market is going is one way to find out. Green Bay just re-signed Sam Shields on Saturday for four years and $39 million with at least $12 million guaranteed. So if the Giants want Verner (or another top cornerback), it's fair to assume they will need to offer $9 million or $10 million a year to get him.
That's a significant price to pay, especially for a team with so many significant needs on the offensive side of the ball. But the idea of making Prince Amukamara the No. 2 cornerback again isn't a bad one for the Giants. That is not to say Amukamara is a No. 2 corner. I think he's a very good player -- not a "shutdown" type of guy, but a good, smart technician who knows the position and works hard at it and will contribute more good than bad. A borderline No. 1 at least. Adding a corner who is better than he is would make the defensive backfield very strong. Defensive back is a position on which the Giants have long shown a willingness to spend big resources (early draft picks or free-agent dollars), and so it wouldn't be out of character for them to throw money at a cornerback early in free agency.
As for Jones, who was a defensive end in Baltimore's 3-4 front, he'd be a defensive tackle in the Giants' scheme and could be an option if they believe Linval Joseph is leaving as a free agent. Pro Football Focus ranked Jones the No. 12 overall 3-4 defensive end last year. He'll be 28 in June and he's a Syracuse guy, and you know how the Giants like those Syracuse guys.