- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Giants owner John Mara spoke publicly Thursday at a ribbon-cutting for a newly renovated Police Athletic League facility in Manhattan, and he said he was pleased with the way his team has approached free agency so far. Per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post:
"There were obviously some star players out there, but for the most part I thought it was a mediocre free-agent class," Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters Thursday at the PAL’s William J. Duncan Center in Manhattan.
Mara’s family donated $250,000 for building renovations.
"And I think a lot of guys got paid more money than maybe they would have in other years, because there was a lot of cap room out there. I think the guys who we got will help us, but we still have a long way to go."
The Giants have signed six outside free agents and retained nine of their own so far. Of the new additions, none is projected as a surefire starter, though Shane Vereen should have an impact as a third-down running back and defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and linebacker J.T. Thomas will get chances to win starting jobs in camp. They continue to look around for defensive line help, and will host former Cowboys defensive end George Selvie for a visit in East Rutherford on Friday. But they haven't done much to upgrade their offensive line, they still need at least one starting safety and possibly two, and they have a lot of work to do to turn around a team that has gone 13-19 the past two years and hasn't come close to contending for a playoff spot.
Mara's point about mediocrity and free agency is a good one. As he said, the Giants checked in on Ndamukong Suh and made a strong play for Devin McCourty, but couldn't get either one. Those were the two premium defensive players on the market, and they would have been worth stretching the budget. But to simply move down the line and give McCourty money to the next-best safety just because it's burning a hole in your pocket would be a poor strategy.
Nonetheless, the Giants clearly must do something to improve their roster, and the only way to do that at this point in the market is to find creative solutions and/or hope all of last year's injured guys come back healthy and productive. I give the Giants credit for not going nuts in a market that doesn't inspire them, but I think it's legitimate to worry whether they think their current roster is better than the results of the past two seasons say it is.
Team remained disciplined during free agency, but still has roster holes to fill.