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Seattle's O'Brien Schofield, the almost-Giant

1/30/2015

Remember last March, when free agency started and the New York Giants agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract with a Seahawks pass-rusher named O'Brien Schofield, only to back out once he failed the physical? Remember that? No? Well, it happened, and afterwards Schofield returned to Seattle on a one-year, $730,000 deal. His reward is that he gets to play in the Super Bowl again Sunday.

Newsday's Tom Rock caught up with Schofield recently (at the NFC Championship Game, I think), and obviously the dude has no regrets. I mean, money's cool and all, but the Giants went 6-10:

"They said I was starting to get arthritis in my knee," Schofield said Sunday. "But honestly, who's not playing with something?"

He wound up re-signing with the Seahawks -- and now he and his teammates are going back to the big game. He played in the defensive-line rotation against the Packers, and finished with two assists and a quarterback hit. He lined up all along the defensive front, from end to nose tackle. ...

He'll again be a free agent in a few weeks, and he hopes his efforts have opened the eyes of some general managers -- and maybe some team physicians -- to what he can do.

Until then, he gets to finish the ride with the Seahawks.

"To possibly have the first two Super Bowls in franchise history and have them back-to-back and be a part of both of them? What more could you ask for?" he said. "That's a storybook ending for anybody."

I bring this up because the short-lived Schofield signing was an example of something the Giants might do again this offseason. Though they will be focused on re-signing free-agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, they are always looking to beef up the pass rush. They added Robert Ayers late last year as Justin Tuck's replacement, and with Mathias Kiwanuka likely on his way out the door this offseason (and Pierre-Paul not a sure thing to return), they will be looking for one or two more bodies, at least, for that pass rush.

The free-agent pass-rusher market this year is loaded with familiar names, and you are going to want to know about guys like Buffalo's Jerry Hughes, Washington's Brian Orakpo, Philadelphia's Brandon Graham, etc... But the Giants had a specific reason for liking Schofield as a linebacker who could help their pass rush by lining up in different spots all around the formation. And even if they don't go back to that particular well, expect to hear a name or two out of the blue and off the beaten path as the Giants scour the market for pass-rushers. After all, as they have often said, you can't have too many.