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Giants keep breaking up the band

3/28/2013

News overnight Wednesday included the official (and long-expected) signing of Osi Umenyiora with the Falcons and the signing of Chase Blackburn with the Panthers. Neither of these New York Giants Super Bowl heroes had been expected back in 2013, and it does not appear the Giants made any real effort to keep either one. That's the way the Giants roll when it comes to players -- they look forward and not back. But it's worth a moment to stop and consider the changes they've seen in a little over a year.

It's been less than 14 months since the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, and 22 of the 45 players who played for them in that game are no longer on the roster. Another -- cornerback Aaron Ross -- left for a year and came back. This is the list of the 22:

  1. DE Osi Umenyiora

  2. LB Chase Blackburn

  3. RB Ahmad Bradshaw

  4. RB Brandon Jacobs

  5. RB D.J. Ware

  6. WR Mario Manningham

  7. TE Jake Ballard

  8. TE Travis Beckum

  9. OT Kareem McKenzie

  10. G Mitch Petrus

  11. OT Tony Ugoh

  12. WR Devin Thomas

  13. K Lawrence Tynes

  14. CB Will Blackmon

  15. LB Michael Boley

  16. S Kenny Phillips

  17. S Deon Grant

  18. DT Rocky Bernard (still a free agent, could return)

  19. DT Chris Canty

  20. DE Dave Tollefson

  21. CB Derrick Martin

  22. LB Greg Jones

Some fairly significant names in there, and while I don't think any of their departures represents a bad or ill-considered decision on the team's part, I just felt like it was worth looking back and assessing the turnover in light of the Umenyiora and Blackburn departures.

This is the way things work in the NFL. The Super Bowl champion Ravens have turned over basically their whole defense, and their title was less than two months ago. So the Giants haven't been gutted or pillaged or anything like that. They view their roster as an organic, constantly evolving entity, and they're not going to hold onto guys they shouldn't keep just because those guys helped win them a Super Bowl (or, in some cases, two). Some of these players will be missed, others will not, but if the Giants get back to the Super Bowl again in the next couple of years, the team is going to have a much different look at many positions than it did in the Super Bowl they won just last year.