None of the signings are blockbuster moves but they are all solid additions and all likely done at reasonable prices. Remember, the Giants have cap limitations and are looking to add young talent with upside and players who might shine with bigger opportunities at a reasonable price.
Let’s take a quick look at each of the new Giants:
Outside of the Cullen Jenkins’ addition before free agency began, this might be the sexiest move –- if there is such a thing for the Giants in free agency -- Jerry Reese makes in this free agency. Martellus Bennett’s departure left a void at tight end and the Giants replaced him with a tight end who has upside and has proven that he can clearly be an asset in the passing game.
The 6-3 tight end is coming off a breakout season with 79 receptions for 806 yards and four touchdowns -– the best year of his four-year career. Last year, Myers, 27, had nine games in which he finished with five catches or more. He got hot during the middle of the season with five straight games of at least five catches. He caught all four of his TDs during that stretch, which finished with a 14-catch, 130-yard, one-touchdown performance against Cleveland.
But, in the final four games of the season, Myers only had a total of 10 catches for 85 yards. The biggest question surrounding Myers is his blocking ability. Myers will have to block in order to stay on the field for multiple downs so they have the threat of running on first and second down or pass.
Tight ends coach Mike Pope will work with Myers, the Giants’ fourth starting tight end in as many years. Bear Pascoe will continue in his role as hybrid blocking tight end. And the Giants will continue to develop last year's fourth-round pick Adrien Robinson. But the potential hookup of Eli Manning to Myers is something to look forward to if Myers can block well enough to stay on the field as long as possible.
The Giants’ signing of Connor likely means free agent Chase Blackburn is moving on. Connor had 57 tackles in 14 games with eight starts last year for the Cowboys. In 2011, he had 75 tackles in 15 games and 11 starts for the Panthers.
The Giants said in the team’s press release of Connor’s signing that he will play middle linebacker. He is going to have to come in and learn Perry Fewell’s system and he will be replacing the one player Fewell considered as an extension of himself on the field. Fewell trusted Blackburn to always make the right calls.
Connor has some big shoes to fill from that perspective. Under Fewell’s defense, Connor could end up playing two downs and then when the Giants go to their coverage packages, Fewell could go with three safeties and use speedy linebackers Jacquian Williams and Keith Rivers.
Considering the Giants weren’t going to spend a ton on linebacker, the Connor move seems like a solid addition. But we’re going to have to wait and see how Connor does on the field in Fewell’s system –- something which Blackburn may have known better than any other Giant.
Murphy will see the least amount of playing time of the three signings with Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle ahead of him. Murphy was signed to improve the Giants’ depth and as a young player that the Giants might be able to develop at the slot.
Murphy has slot experience and the Giants can protect themselves by developing Murphy and Jerrel Jernigan at the slot in case Cruz ends up leaving in the future. Cruz, a restricted free agent who was tendered with a first-round RFA tender, likely will be around for at least this season and the Giants will continue to work to keep Cruz around for a long time. But it doesn’t hurt to continue to develop other young receivers.
Murphy had 25 receptions for 336 yards and one touchdown last year for Carolina. His best seasons came in his first two years with Oakland when he had 34 catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns in 2009 and 41 catches for 609 yards and two touchdowns in 2010.
With Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden both free agents, the Giants needed to add another body at receiver. They still likely need another receiver.
Tell us what you think of the Giants’ three signings over the weekend.