New York Giants: dustin keller

The New York Giants picked up $5 million in salary cap space Monday when the post-June 1 release of center David Baas became official. This is a procedural move, as the team announced Baas' release in March but designated it a post-June 1 cut so they could spread out the signing bonus cap hit over future seasons instead of absorbing it all this year.

This means the Giants have fresh money to spend as of today, and I would expect them to add a player or two in the coming days or weeks. But don't expect them to go back to adding and spending the way they did in March.

First, and most importantly, there's very little left on which to spend free-agent money. Fans may want a big-name tight end such as Jermichael Finley or Dustin Keller, but both of those guys come with serious medical concerns that would have to be addressed first. And even if the Giants wanted to sign a player like that, it would be on a low-cost, low-risk deal that wouldn't likely require all of that fresh cap room.

Secondly, they're not required to use the cap room this year. The Giants' cash spend is sufficient to meet the CBA-imposed requirements for the salary floor (which is computed over a four-year period anyway), and they're allowed to carry forward cap room into next year if they want to. At this point in the market, that may be a better use of the cap room than overspending to add a summertime piece.

My guess is the Giants do find a player or two in the coming weeks. My first thought is they could add a depth piece on the defensive line, where they risk being a bit thin. But with John Jerry injured and Will Beatty still not practicing, I could see them adding a veteran offensive lineman as well. Those are just educated guesses, and obviously they could churn the roster a fair bit here with their new cap room. But I don't think they're out there planning to do that.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A couple of weeks ago, we went over the reasons why New York Giants GM Jerry Reese didn't feel it was important to get a tight end in this year's draft. The popular perception that the Giants' offense has relied on its tight end as a pass-catcher during the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning era simply isn't supported by facts. And while the list of tight ends currently on the roster isn't inspiring, the Giants are of the belief that someone will emerge who can catch the 42 passes a year their top tight end usually catches.

So no, they didn't take a tight end in the early rounds of this year's draft. And they didn't take one in the later rounds. And even if they had taken one in the later rounds, it wouldn't have addressed the perceived problem, because whoever they drafted wouldn't have been more qualified to start than, for example, Adrien Robinson, who was a fourth-round pick in 2012 and hasn't really seen the field yet. Why would a tight end drafted Saturday be better qualified to play than Robinson, a former mid-round pick who's been in the NFL and the Giants' building for two years already?

"We weren't going to force any players or overvalue anybody just because people may think we need a tight end," Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross said. "That's just not the way we operate."

Which isn't to say that everyone in the building feels great about the tight end situation. Giants coach Tom Coughlin echoed the sentiment that there weren't any tight ends worth taking at the spots where the Giants were picking. But he also acknowledged that he's not fully comfortable with the options on the current roster.

"Yeah, it's a concern," Coughlin said. "It's a concern in a lot of ways. But as has been said, we've got a couple of young guys here that ... Fellas, if you can't see your way to the field now..."

He's talking about Robinson, whose opportunity has never been better, and to a lesser extent Larry Donnell, who distinguished himself as a special-teamer in 2013 and could earn more opportunity as a result. The other two tight ends already on the roster were Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis, and reports Saturday night indicated that they'd added undrafted free agent Xavier Grimble from USC.

From that group, anyone could emerge. The Giants also could still add someone. Familiar names such as Dustin Keller and Jermichael Finley remain on the market, but they remain there due to medical concerns that might not be resolved to the Giants' or any other teams' satisfaction. If the Giants had their preference, Robinson would make a big leap this offseason and cash in on the promise they saw in him when they picked him in the fourth round two years ago.

"Adrien is very sharp and is able to count," Coughlin said. "He's on the field with four guys. And he's handled everything very well to this point. Very well."

The Giants will keep tinkering to make sure they get tight end right, as they will continue to do with every position on their roster. But they're not about to do anything drastic here. They just don't think it's as big a problem as a lot of people outside their building seem to think it is.

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