New York Giants: Trumaine McBride

Giants injury update

August, 17, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Four New York Giants left Saturday's preseason game with injuries, and they appear to be of varying degrees of concern:

Cornerback Prince Amukamara left the game with a groin injury. He said after the game that he didn't feel a pop and was able to jog and do some cutting left and right on the sideline, but that he didn't feel he could let it go at full-speed and so it didn't make sense to go back in the game.

"What they said was to see how it feels [Sunday], and if it's worse, take some pictures, do an MRI, stuff like that," Amukamara said.

Safety Cooper Taylor had a toe injury and left the stadium on crutches and with a boot on his left foot. Obviously, that's cause for significant concern for Taylor, who's been having a strong camp and preseason as a reserve safety and a special teams player. The Giants are already short at safety because of the suspension and release of Will Hill, so they don't want to lose Taylor as he's showing improvement.

Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn left the game with an elbow injury, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Kuhn told him after the game that his elbow felt fine.

Tackle Charles Brown left the game with a shoulder injury. It's unclear how severe it is at this time.

On the positive injury front, starting left tackle Will Beatty said his leg felt fine in his first game action since he broke it in Week 17 of last season. And cornerback Trumaine McBride got a healthy workload in his first game back from hip surgery.

Giants Camp Report: Day 15

August, 13, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. continues to make significant progress from the hamstring injury that has held him out of practice since the first day of camp. The team's first-round pick even took a couple of snaps Wednesday in 11-on-11 drills and caught a touchdown pass on one of them. Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn't even rule out the possibility that Beckham could play in Saturday's preseason game in Indianapolis, though I have to think that's a long shot and that next Friday against the Jets is more likely.
  • Coughlin said left tackle Will Beatty and cornerback Trumaine McBride, who have been practicing but didn't play in the first two preseason games as part of the plan for their recoveries from offseason surgery, would play Saturday. He said to expect Beatty to play about as much as a starting offensive lineman would play in a first preseason game of the year. For comparison's sake, Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton played 20 snaps in the Hall of Fame Game, and right tackle Justin Pugh played 24.
  • Cornerback Walter Thurmond continues to dazzle, and I have to think it will be a huge relief for Giants slot receiver Victor Cruz to go up against whoever the Detroit Lions are using as a nickel cornerback Sept. 8 in Detroit. Thurmond's highlight plays Wednesday included a pass breakup on which he had tight end Larry Donnell blanketed over the middle and a stop on running back Rashad Jennings when Jennings caught a pass in the flat.
  • Other highlight plays: Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard knocking rookie running back Andre Williams to the ground in the backfield on a run play; Rueben Randle's acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in one-on-one goal-line drills; Rookie cornerback Bennett Jackson ripping the ball out of wide receiver Travis Harvey's hands at the end of a long pass play; Interceptions of Curtis Painter by Mark Herzlich and Chandler Fenner in early team drills.
  • Wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan was back at practice after sitting out Monday and Tuesday with a knee injury. New to the list of injured players sitting out practice was cornerback Zack Bowman (unclear what his injury was). Also sitting out were running back Peyton Hillis (ankle), tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring), tight end Daniel Fells (knee), return man Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder).
  • Cruz, who had some knee issues in practice this week, seemed completely fine and appeared to do everything in Wednesday's relatively short practice.
  • Though they will continue to practice here next week as they have been, Thursday marks the final official day of Giants training camp. That means Thursday's 1:20 pm practice will be the final practice of the year that is open to the public. So take off work and come out to say hi. Tell your boss I said it was okay.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have been practicing without first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. since the first day of training camp.

 But Beckham has been around, and watching from up close. He had to watch from home, on television, Sunday as the Giants played the Bills in their preseason opener in Ohio. And when fellow rookie wide receiver Corey Washington scored that 73-yard touchdown, Beckham's first thought was that he'd better be careful.

"I remember trying not to celebrate too much, but I was so excited for him," Beckham said before Giants practice on Thursday.

He didn't want to celebrate by jumping up and down and risking further injury to the hamstring that's keeping him from practicing and playing. That's the focus for Beckham these days -- avoiding further injury even as the hamstring makes enough progress to make him and the team hopeful that he can return soon.

"A hamstring is one of those things where it's that last leg you need, and you feel like you're good to go but it's just not there yet," Beckham said. "And if you rush out there, you risk putting yourself back with another injury. So it's one of those things that we're all just waiting on."

Beckham has been able to do more running and cutting in the past two days than he did last week, and there's tangible progress. He obviously won't play in Saturday's game against the Steelers, but at this point it's not crazy to think he might get cleared to practice at some point next week or the week after.

"He is getting better," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "They're doing a lot with him, and I think he's responding pretty well the next day. He's not that sore. I think he's close."

Guard Geoff Schwartz, who sat out Wednesday's practice with a knee injury, is expected to return to practice Thursday night, Coughlin said. Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who sprained his ankle Wednesday, won't practice Thursday or play Saturday. Running back Peyton Hillis remains out for a while with a sprained ankle of his own, and return specialist Trindon Holliday is out with a hamstring injury. We'll see whether defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder) can return to practice Thursday.

Left tackle Will Beatty, who's rehabbing a broken leg, is practicing more or less in full every day but won't play on Saturday. Coughlin said the plan is for Beatty to play in next week's preseason game in Indianapolis. Ditto cornerback Trumaine McBride, who's practicing fine but is still being held out of games as he works his way back from offseason hip surgery.

McBride the unsung hero of Giants' CBs

August, 6, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants didn't just add Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman to their stable of cornerbacks this offseason.

They also re-signed Trumaine McBride.

That move didn't create nearly as much buzz, but McBride was one of the team's most valuable players a season ago and has looked great thus far in training camp.

McBride picked off Ryan Nassib at the end of practice Tuesday, and it wasn't McBride's first interception of camp, either.

"[McBride] intercepts the ball and runs 80 yards every day, and they tell me he can’t play," coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday. "I’m looking at them like, 'Who’s got the two heads here?'"

The "they" Coughlin was referring to is the Giants' medical staff, which held McBride out of the team's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills. McBride underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his hip in January, so the doctors want to ease him into game action.

McBride won't play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, either, but hopes to play a week later in Indianapolis. In the meantime, he continues to stand out in practice.

"I wouldn’t say [I feel] 100 percent," McBride said Wednesday, "but I feel good."

Two years ago, believe it or not, McBride, 28, was out of the NFL after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars at the end of training camp. He sat out the entire 2012 season after playing five years in the league with the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals and Jaguars.

The Giants signed him in January 2013, and the move paid huge dividends when Corey Webster struggled to get onto the field due to injury (and performed poorly when he was on the field). McBride ended up playing in 15 games, starting 10, and performing quite well, including a pair of interceptions -- despite suffering the hip injury sometime in the middle of the season and playing through it.

McBride said some other teams pursued him in free agency, but he decided to re-up with the Giants for two years and nearly $3 million in early March.

"My heart was here," McBride said. "We did have other teams that I talked to. But I just felt like being here was the best case for me. ... Being here [already], the scheme, the staff, and just a great organization overall. I really didn’t want to leave that structure."

The structure of the Giants' secondary has certainly changed, however. Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara are the clear-cut starters at cornerback, and Thurmond has been installed as the team's nickelback. McBride is currently listed as one of the Giants' second-string corners, along with Thurmond, with Bowman and Jayron Hosley listed as the third-stringers behind them.

Barring an injury, McBride probably won't start a game this season. But he'll see some action, is one heck of an insurance policy, and says he's not worried about playing time.

"Whether I’m first, second or third on the depth chart, my goal every day, every practice is to get better and just make plays," McBride said. "I can’t worry about if I’m starting or if I’m a backup. Me personally, my mind frame every day is just to go out and make plays."

And he's doing exactly that.

Giants Camp Report: Day 7

July, 29, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Unfortunately, the news of the day was injuries, headlined by running back David Wilson's neck burner. The Giants sent Wilson to New York and the Hospital for Special Surgery for a full battery of tests because they want to be as careful as possible with his neck as he's coming off spinal fusion surgery and only last week was cleared for full practice. It's possible this turns out just to be a low-level scare, but it's important to take every possible precaution given the recent history with Wilson and his neck. By comparison, the nagging hamstring troubles that kept Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, Xavier Grimble and Trindon Holliday sidelined seem like minor issues.
  • Interesting practice for Larry Donnell, who's still No. 1 on the team's tight end depth chart and possibly in the coaches' hearts. He fumbled a ball near the goal line after one catch, but then got back up and made a leaping, one-handed touchdown grab in the back right corner of the end zone on the next play. All of the tight ends (except the injured Grimble) are getting lots of run, and they're all getting their share of first-team reps. There are a lot of formations the Giants are using in practice in which two tight ends are on the field at the same time, and they're lined up all over the place. They really need one or two guys to step forward from this group.
  • Jerrel Jernigan dropped three punts that my "NFL Insiders" colleague Field Yates and I counted during punt-return drills. That's not good, and with Beckham and Holliday unable to return punts we're seeing a lot of David Wilson (before he had to leave), Victor Cruz (who's not going to do it in games) and Charles James on the punt return unit. Maybe that's a way for James to sneak onto the roster, who knows? It was good to see Field, regardless.
  • Humorous highlights included a halfback pass from Peyton Hillis to Donnell that, shockingly, fell incomplete and a Trumaine McBride interception of Curtis Painter that he ran back for a touchdown with fellow corners Prince Amukamara and Walter Thurmond rushing off the sidelines and accompanying him home. I also thought it was funny that Jason Pierre-Paul joined in the defensive backs' post-practice huddle but left because their motivational chants are growing too complicated. Pierre-Paul continues to look fantastic in practice, by the way.
  • And I haven't been charting each and every rep, but it seemed to me that John Jerry got more time at first-team right guard Tuesday than he has been. Brandon Mosley's still the main guy there, and certainly has an opportunity to hold off Jerry and claim the spot for his own. But they do like Jerry and want to give him a look as his surgically repaired knee allows.
  • The Giants are off Wednesday and return to practice Thursday.
During the week of June 30, we took a position-by-position look at the New York Giants' offense as it heads into training camp. This week, we've been doing the same with the defense -- one position group per day. Today, it's the cornerbacks' turn. And what a group it is.

McBride
Projected starters: Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Projected backups: Walter Thurmond, Zack Bowman, Trumaine McBride, Jayron Hosley (susp.)

Others competing for spots: Charles James, Bennett Jackson, Ross Weaver, Travis Howard

James and sixth-round pick Jackson look like strong special teams contributors, but where do they fit? With Hosley suspended for the first four games, there is a spot if the team can manage to carry six corners, but it doesn't look as though there are two spots for James and Jackson. Could one of them surpass McBride, who performed well as a starter in several spots last season? Hard to imagine, and if they carry seven corners, that leaves them short elsewhere (i.e., offensive line).

Thurmond is a sure thing, and practically a starter as the projected nickel corner. And Bowman is a special teams whiz who looked great on defense in minicamp. So those spots seem set, as do those of Rodgers-Cromartie, who is going to draw the assignment of covering the opponent's best receiver each week, and Amukamara, the 2011 first-rounder who says he is ready to make the leap as a playmaker this season. But down the depth chart live some pretty good battles for roster spots among some pretty good players. Other teams are likely to be scouting the Giants' corners in preseason in the hopes that one or two they like get cut loose.
Cornerback is the deepest and most crowded position group on the New York Giants' roster heading into training camp, and it's going to force some difficult decisions when it comes time to make roster cuts in late August. Conor Orr of NJ.com has broken it down like this:
Based on what we've seen in camp, if we had to rank the position based on how much playing time they'll get, this is what we came up with:

1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
2. Prince Amukamara
3. Walter Thurmond
4. Zack Bowman
5. Trumaine McBride
6. Charles James
7. Jayron Hosley
8. Bennett Jackson
9. Ross Weaver
10. Travis Howard

But obviously, you don't keep 10 players. The Giants finished with five cornerbacks on the active roster and two on injured reserve last year. It's safe to say at least three, but probably four of these players won't make it out of camp, especially with the need to carry four at the safety spot.

I can't quibble too much with Orr's rankings. I might put McBride ahead of Bowman based on the way he played last year, and Hosley would surely be ahead of James if Hosley weren't suspended for the first four games of the season. But that suspension makes Hosley, who was likely on the roster bubble to begin with, a tough call. Jackson is a draft pick they'd surely like to keep if possible, and he and James have shown an ability to contribute on kick coverage teams, as has Bowman.

My guess is the top five on Orr's list are safe, but that there's likely only room for one more guy, either James or Jackson until Hosley comes back. And when Hosley does come back from suspension, there's likely to be a tough choice between him and whoever made it between James and Jackson.

There's always a possibility that an injury opens up a spot, but if everyone stays healthy, the Giants are going to end up cutting a couple of players of whom they think very highly here.

Giants offseason wrap-up

May, 22, 2014
May 22
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» NFC Wrap: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South » Grades

With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and training camp just a couple of months away, we assess the New York Giants' offseason moves.

[+] EnlargeGeoff Schwartz
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsThe Giants knew they needed help on the offensive line, so signing Geoff Schwartz was a move in the right direction.
Best move: Signed to start at left guard after a season in which the interior of the Giants' offensive line crumbled completely and decimated the offense, Geoff Schwartz will be an immediate upgrade at a key position and should help the run game as well as Eli Manning's protection in the passing game. The Giants needed to make the offensive line a priority, and signing Schwartz at the start of free agency showed that they understood that.

Riskiest move: Letting defensive tackle Linval Joseph leave for Minnesota in free agency. Joseph is still just 25 years old -- younger than any free agent the Giants signed. He and Justin Tuck (who left and signed with the Raiders) were the Giants' two best defensive linemen in 2013. The Giants are hoping 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins can fill Joseph's shoes, but letting him go risked leaving the Giants too thin on the defensive line -- a position of renowned strength during their last two Super Bowls.

Most surprising move: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and in general the amount of free-agent attention the Giants paid to cornerback. They spent big to acquire Rodgers-Cromartie and also signed Walter Thurmond, Zack Bowman at Trumaine McBride. They obviously needed to replace Corey Webster (who they should have replaced last offseason), but the extent to which they beefed up at the position was surprising for a team that appeared to need more help on offense than on defense.

Draft pick impact: First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has a chance to make a rookie-year contribution as Hakeem Nicks' replacement at wide receiver if he can learn the offense quickly. Ditto second-round pick Weston Richburg, who has a chance to beat out J.D. Walton for the starting center job. And fourth-round pick Andre Williams, who led all of college football in rushing yards last year at Boston College, could get into the mix early at running back. The Giants are counting on their draft picks to help fill holes on the offensive side.
Cornerback wasn't projected as a major New York Giants need when this offseason began, but man did they attack it like one. The Giants spent big money to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and added Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman while also re-signing Trumaine McBride.

Amukamara
This flurry of activity did not escape the attention of Prince Amukamara, who was the team's No. 1 cornerback last year and admitted Tuesday that the moves led him to wonder about his role and his future with the team.

"A little bit," the always-honest Amukamara said. "I think it's natural for someone to think that, especially if you feel threatened by the guys and the guys are good. And there are two sides to that. You can look at it and say, 'This guy can help the team,' or you can say, 'This guy might take my spot.' But it's not my job to worry about that."

Amukamara still projects as a starter on the outside opposite Rodgers-Cromartie, with Thurmond likely playing the slot. But Thurmond can absolutely play on the outside if necessary, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said last month that Rodgers-Cromartie would be asked to cover the opponent's top receiver every week -- an assignment Amukamara had toward the end of last year and was hoping to get again.

Add in the fact the Giants haven't yet decided whether to pick up the 2015 contract option on their 2011 first-round pick, and Amukamara has reason to wonder whether he's in the team's long-term plans.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it, but I can't really worry about that," Amukamara said. "I've just been living by, 'Only focus on the things I can control.' I could have controlled whether the Giants did or not by my play the last three years, but right now I can't worry about that. If they do it, that's great. If they don't, that's great too. But I would be very excited if they did, of course."

The option likely would be around $7 million for 2015 (it's the average of the salaries of the No. 3 through No. 25 highest paid cornerbacks in the league), and it wouldn't be fully guaranteed until the first day of the 2015 season. But the Giants have to decide by May 3 whether to pick it up, or else Amukamara would be a free agent following the 2014 season. Rodgers-Cromartie carries a cap hit in excess of $7 million for 2015, so it's possible the Giants wouldn't want to pay two cornerbacks that much. But it's a premium position in today's NFL, and the Giants treat it as one, so it's not out of the question either.

"It shows that the team wants you," Amukamara said. "And who wouldn't want to feel wanted?"

After the Giants' cornerback signing spree, it sounds as though Amukamara would like to know whether he is.
Our man Adam Caplan says the New York Giants have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent cornerback Zack Bowman. That makes 20 free-agent signings for the Giants so far this offseason, four of whom play cornerback.

Bowman, 29, is known as a strong special teams player. So even if he can't find a way into the suddenly crowded mix at defensive back, he's likely to make a contribution on the kick and punt coverage units. But he did start seven games for the Bears last year and had two interceptions during that stretch.

The Giants this offseason already re-signed cornerback Trumaine McBride and signed veteran cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond from the Broncos and Seahawks, respectively. Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara project as starters, with Thurmond apparently ticketed for the slot corner role. But with Thurmond, McBride and now Bowman on the roster, all of whom have experience as starters on the outside, the Giants count the cornerback position as the deepest on their roster.
On paper, following their flurry of free-agent activity this week, the defensive backfield is the strength of the New York Giants' roster. We say "on paper," because it's March 19 and paper's all we have. The Giants don't play a real game for another five-plus months, which means all we can do is project what we think will happen based on the way everything looks from this far out.

So let's. Let's take a look at the Giants' new secondary, piece-by-piece, to get everybody fired up about how much better it has a chance to be in 2014. Assuming, of course, that they haven't improved it at the expense of the pass rush. Which they may have. But that's a different story for another time. This is about the secondary, whose members now include:

[+] EnlargeAntrel Rolle
AP Photo/Seth WenigIn 2014, Antrel Rolle should see more help in pass coverage given the Giants' additions at cornerback.
Antrel Rolle, safety: The lone remaining defensive captain, Rolle should be well served by the addition of all this cornerback depth. He's been asked to handle too much cornerback duty the past several years due to injuries and depth issues at that position. With everyone they now have at corner, Rolle should be able to stick to safety as he prefers. He's a leader on the Giants' defense, which is the main reason he was never a real candidate to be cut in spite of his whopping $9.25 million cap number. Ideally, he'll be able to switch off seamlessly between strong safety and free safety in the Giants' defensive scheme because his fellow starting safety will be able to handle either role.

Prince Amukamara, CB: I believe Amukamara is a good player. His technique is good, he's willing to mix it up physically, he can tackle, he's willing to help out against the run. Smart, studies hard, keeps himself in excellent shape... solid, all-around player. What I do not think he is is a star cornerback, a "shutdown" type who you can put on the other team's best receiver and expect him to take the guy out of the game. Not a knock, mind you -- there are very few guys like that. Just saying that I think the additions around him will help alleviate some of the pressure and responsibility Amukamara took on himself last year as the team's clear No. 1 corner.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB: He doesn't fit that "shutdown corner" description either, but his speed and athleticism enable Rodgers-Cromartie to make spectacular plays and sometimes even outrun his mistakes. The Giants should be able to split the field with him on one side and Amukamara on the other and feel very good about their chances in coverage. Depending on week-by-week matchups, they can isolate Rodgers-Cromartie in coverage as warranted without having to lean on him as a one-on-one difference-maker every week. He looks up to Rolle, his former Arizona Cardinals teammate, and should benefit from that relationship.

Stevie Brown, safety: When training camp 2013 opened, Brown was coming off an eight-interception breakout season and was talking about his development as a player. The hope was he would evolve into the kind of safety who could switch off with Rolle as Kenny Phillips used to do, and Brown and the team were confident he could. Brown tore his ACL in the 2013 preseason and hasn't played since, so his health will be a question mark going into the year. But if he is healthy, he will get a chance to win back that starting safety spot and show off his ballhawking skills again.

Will Hill, safety: He emerged as the starter opposite Rolle as the 2013 season went on after missing the first four games on a drug suspension. Rolle made the Pro Bowl, but I believed Hill was the better player at times in 2013, which is more a compliment to Hill than it is an insult of Rolle's play. The questions with Hill are of off-field issues, but if he's got his life in order away from the football field, he's a force on it. If Hill stays out of trouble and Brown stays healthy, the Giants have enviable safety depth.

Walter Thurmond, CB: He was one of the cornerbacks called upon to fill a larger role in Seattle last year following the drug suspension of Brandon Browner, and it's generally believed the Seahawks' cornerback play improved. Thurmond is an elite-level talent as a slot cornerback, which is the role he'll likely fill with the Giants, but he's also capable of handling himself on the outside should one of the starters get injured.

Trumaine McBride, CB: The Giants were impressed enough with his 2013 work as an injury-replacement starter that they signed him back on a two-year contract. Undersized but extremely determined, McBride showed an ability to handle himself on the outside and can play the slot as well. He'll function as a reliable backup.

Cooper Taylor, safety: Late-round 2013 draft pick is already a helper on special teams, and with all of the veteran safeties they have in front of him, he can take his time developing as a defensive player.

Jayron Hosley, CB: The Giants' 2012 third-rounder has been slow to develop due to health issues. The Giants liked him as a slot corner option when they picked him, but he's got to show a lot to stay in the long-range plans at this point.

Quintin Demps, safety: Signed primarily as a kick returner, he's a last-resort option if injuries dictate that he fill in at safety. He did start six games there for Kansas City in 2013.

Charles James, CB: Saw some work in the return game last preseason, but they have other guys for that now. James has some value as a special teams player but will have to fight his way up the depth chart.
If you felt as though the New York Giants weren't being active enough in free agency, Sunday should have made you feel a good bit better. The day began with the announcement of two signings -- cornerback Walter Thurmond and kick returner Quintin Demps. Around lunchtime, news broke that the Giants were meeting with former Cowboys pass-rusher Anthony Spencer. Long about dinnertime, we learned they had set up a meeting with their own former wide receiver Mario Manningham. And then a bit before bedtime, Adam Schefter reported that cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was spending the night and taking a physical today.

We chronicled and analyzed it all for you move by move, as is our wont here on ESPN's NFL Nation. Here are the links:
  • I believe Thurmond was signed to play the slot corner position, but it's possible that he and/or Trumaine McBride could handle outside duties if the Giants don't sign Rodgers-Cromartie or another corner. There are still a number of corners on the market if Rodgers-Cromartie heads to the Jets or elsewhere.
  • Demps offers some down-the-roster safety depth but was signed to help boost a sagging kick return game. Neither he nor Thurmond has any NFL experience returning punts, so that position remains up in the air, but Demps is electrifying on kick returns.
  • Spencer would have to be a steal to make sense for a Giants team that has yet to sign anyone over 30 (which he is) and let team captain Justin Tuck walk last week without making an effort to re-sign him. Spencer's knee is a question mark, and he's got no NFL experience as a 4-3 defensive end, which he'd be in New York. They do need reinforcements on a defensive line that has seen its two best players from 2013 sign elsewhere, but I think Spencer would be a backfill guy in the pass-rush rotation at this point.
  • Manningham would be the fourth receiver if his knee checked out and they signed him. He isn't much at this point, though I understand the justifiable place he occupies in the hearts of Giants fans. He made one of the most important catches in franchise history.
  • Rodgers-Cromartie is the best corner left on the market and would allow the Giants to claim a deep secondary as the strength of their team.

We will of course keep you posted throughout the day on further developments. Also, feel free to catch me at 3:30 p.m. ET on "NFL Insiders" on ESPN. Maybe I can sneak in a Giants note there, too.
Our man Adam Schefter reported Sunday night that free-agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who spent Sunday meeting with the Giants, will return to the Giants' facility in East Rutherford, N.J., on Monday to undergo a physical. I take this as a sign that Rodgers-Cromartie and the Giants are making good progress toward an eventual signing.

Rodgers-Cromartie
It doesn't have to mean that, especially since the guy spent Saturday meeting with the Jets and it's only like a half-hour from the Giants' facility to the Jets' facility (depending on which way you go). If he wanted to, Rodgers-Cromartie could hit the Giants with a thanks-but-no-thanks and be in Florham Park in time for a noon news conference. But for the purpose of this particular post, let's operate as though Rodgers-Cromartie is likely to be a Giant and analyze what it would mean.

First of all, I think it would be a good signing for the Giants, who had a rough time locking in their top targets at cornerback last week but could end up benefiting by having to "settle" for a better player later in the market.

Rodgers-Cromartie is tall and fast and extremely talented and three weeks shy of his 28th birthday. He's an exciting player, which isn't necessarily the best thing you can say about a cornerback, but I mean it at least as much in its positive connotation as in its negative. He can be beaten deep and will drive you nuts from time to time when he bites on a double-move. But he's fast and athletic enough to compensate for mistakes, and he's got an ability to make plays on the ball. Eagles fans still justifiably bitter about the way things went in 2011 and 2012 will tell you he can't (or won't) tackle, and they may be right, but that's a nitpick. A cornerback who's doing his job (i.e., covering receivers and breaking up passes) doesn't have to tackle. And by the middle of 2012, the entire Eagles defense had mailed it in and nobody wanted to tackle. Rodgers-Cromartie had a fine year in 2013 with the AFC champion Broncos, who likely would have brought him back if they hadn't been able to upgrade to Aqib Talib. And he's young enough to make you believe he's on the upswing.

This would be the best player the Giants have yet signed in free agency -- a starting outside cornerback along with Prince Amukamara. With Walter Thurmond, who signed Sunday, in the slot and Trumaine McBride and Jayron Hosley on the bench, the Giants would boast a deep cornerback corps and finally be able to keep safety Antrel Rolle from having to play any corner at all, which would make him happy and maximize his value at safety. You could accurately call the secondary the strongest part of the Giants' roster.

I wonder whether the Giants will have to restructure a contract or two (Mathias Kiwanuka and Eli Manning are obvious candidates) to fit Rodgers-Cromartie under the cap. They had about $12 million in cap room at last check without counting the Jon Beason, Thurmond or Quintin Demps deals, so they're getting close to the number and have other needs yet to fill at wide receiver, tight end and on the offensive and defensive lines. (Remember, they don't get the $5 million in cap relief from David Baas' release until June 2. They'll use that to sign their draft picks.)

And from a purely selfish standpoint, the idea of having to type "Amukamara and Rodgers-Cromartie" every time I refer to the Giants' starting cornerback duo sounds like a pain. But I'd do it for you guys, because I know it would make you happy. And that's what I'm here for.

Last week, I wrote that the Giants were playing a risky game by targeting certain specific players and signing them early in free agency rather than letting the market come to them. Surely, Rashad Jennings and J.D. Walton could have been had for less money, and if not then similar players could. In this case, however, if they do end up signing this player, they could benefit from having patience forced on them. I think Rodgers-Cromartie is better than Tracy Porter or Corey Graham, whom they eyeballed early last week. And since they obviously weren't going to make the big-splash play for Talib or Darrelle Revis, he's basically the best they were going to do at this point. Assuming they can afford him and keep him from sneaking down I-80 to Florham Park, this is a move that would make the Giants better.
A disappointing week of cornerback-hunting could be starting to turn around for the New York Giants, who are in agreement on a one-year contract with former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond and are still scheduled to meet Sunday with former Broncos and Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Thurmond
It's possible Rodgers-Cromartie will be out of their price range, and he met with the Jets on Saturday, so there's competition. The Giants believe they could go with Prince Amukamara and Trumaine McBride as their outside starters if they don't sign anyone else, especially now that they have Thurmond to play the slot corner position that Terrell Thomas handled for them in 2013.

The Giants never seemed interested in bringing back Thomas and never made him a contract offer. Instead, his job goes to Thurmond, who will be 27 when the season starts and fits the age-range profile of the free agents the Giants have brought in this past week. Thurmond was the Seahawks' primary slot corner in their just-completed Super Bowl championship season and played well there. Pro Football Focus says his 0.85 yards allowed per snap in slot coverage was the fifth-lowest number in the league.

The Giants continue to look to fill holes in the secondary, the defensive line, the offensive line and at wide receiver and tight end as free agency rolls along into its second week. The Thurmond move will look better if they end up signing someone else for the outside who's an upgrade over McBride, but the slot corner position is effectively a starting position in the NFL today because of the proliferation of three- and four-receiver sets among offenses, and the Giants just nabbed a good young slot corner with a Super Bowl ring.
The New York Giants continue to hunt for cornerback help, and the top cornerback still on the market might be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the former Cardinal, Eagle and Bronco. According to Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger, Rodgers-Cromartie has scheduled a visit with the Giants after he stops in to visit the Jets this weekend.

Rodgers-Cromartie
He fits the profile, as he doesn't turn 28 until next month. (Rodgers-Cromartie, that is. I think Conor is actually younger.) And Rodgers-Cromartie has played pretty well the past couple seasons in Philadelphia and Denver. He's got a bit of a reputation as a flake, but a player who's very athletic, very fast and very effective when he's focused. He'd slot in as a starter opposite Prince Amukamara, and slide Trumaine McBride down to a slot or backup role where he'd likely be more effective.

Problem is, Rodgers-Cromartie is visiting the Jets first, and as you know, a lot of times these guys sign with the team they're visiting and cancel all of their other visits. Rodgers-Cromartie also was thought to have been seeking a bank-breaking, $10 million-per-year deal when free agency began. And while he's not likely to get that from anyone, let alone the Giants, there remains a chance he scheduled a Giants visit in part to scare the Jets into upping whatever offer they make to him. So I guess I'm saying don't get your hopes up.

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