- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Giants made another relatively minor move that could pay off big this season by bringing back Keith Rivers.
A source confirmed Rivers agreed to return to the Giants for a one-year deal, as first reported by the Newark Star-Ledger. If Rivers can stay healthy, he can help replace Michael Boley. Boley, released in a cap-cutting move, had provided the Giants with speed and athleticism.
The Giants might not have a lot of cap space but they are doing what they can to improve a unit that finished 31st in total defense last year. They signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to a three-year deal for $8 million prior to free agency as well.
Rivers can offer similar qualities to Boley if he can stay healthy. Last season, he was slowed by a variety of injuries (calf, knee and hamstring) and only played in 11 games. He started in six games and had 44 tackles. He did show glimpses of being able to fill Boley’s shoes in the Giants’ defense.
The Giants still need to add another linebacker. Starting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn is a free agent. He still could return for a cheap short-term deal but Blackburn is exploring his options on the market. The Giants currently have Rivers, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger. Mathias Kiwanuka likely could move back to defensive end full time this season.
The Giants had Minnesota free-agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley in for a visit on Wednesday and ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter also reported that the Giants have expressed some interest in Cincinnati free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga.
Williams and Rivers are in the mix to start this season. If both can stay healthy, that's good speed for the Giants at linebacker. But they still need to add another body or two.
What do you think of Rivers returning?
3dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan