Yeah, that's right. The Giants, who do not currently have a No. 1 wide receiver, a tight end or a starting center but do have a fullback, brought back Hynoski after he went to Detroit to visit with the Lions. Your guess is as good as mine what the heck the Giants are up to right now.
This is nothing against Hynoski, who's an excellent blocking fullback and, if fully recovered from his shoulder injury, should compete with John Conner for the fullback spot in training camp.
And it's really nothing against the move, which surely costs nothing, since I'm sure Hynoski could be cut without costing them much more than meal money if Conner beats him out.
I'm just kind of at a loss to explain why a team with so many needs seems to be doing so little to address them, while letting key pieces like Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck walk out the door.
The Giants' offseason plan seems to be based on the idea of getting younger (though letting the 25-year-old Joseph walk kind of kicks against that a bit) and building for the long term. And they have tried and failed to sign a number of players, including Tracy Porter, Jacoby Jones, Ted Ginn Jr. and others. But the way the Giants have operated these first three days is perplexing, and a Hynoski post felt like a decent spot to make that point. Carry on.
So while Tuck's free-agent departure is jarring (The Raiders? Really??), the Giants have a way to spin it if they so choose. Just don't mistake this for something it's not.
Two years and $11 million for a 31-year-old pass-rusher with two Super Bowl rings who had 11 sacks last season is not an outrageous deal. The Giants had enough cash and enough cap space to match or beat it if they wanted to, and they didn't. They made a conscious decision to move on from a franchise icon as they work to rebuild a decaying roster with younger players so that last season's 7-9 record doesn't become a long-term trend. Tuck wanted to be back. The Giants didn't want him back. So they part.
The decisions are not easy, and must be cold. Jerry Reese and the Giants have a solid track record of knowing when to cut the cord on beloved, championship-winning players, but I'm confident this wasn't an easy decision for them to make. Tuck will be a Ring of Honor Giant, a guaranteed standing ovation every time he comes back, a New York sports legend. Saying good-bye to that cannot be easy.
But that's not all the Giants are saying good-bye to as Tuck leaves for Oakland. There is a lot about who Tuck still is -- on top of who Tuck was -- that will be very difficult for the 2014 Giants to replace.
Tuck is a pass-rusher, sixth all-time in Giants history with 60.5 sacks, but he's about more than sacks. He's the defensive end the Giants would move inside to play defensive tackle on passing downs because they knew he was willing and able to wrestle with guards and centers while someone like Pierre-Paul or Kiwanuka or Osi Umenyiora got to race after the quarterback. He's the defensive end who can set the edge against the run -- a rare trait, tough to teach, tough to find, tough to get sack-hungry young rushers to prioritize. He's the defensive end who will check a wide receiver at the line of scrimmage to knock him off his route before he heads into the backfield to do the things that show up in the box score. Even when the sacks weren't there, he was still these things for the Giants, and his fellow players knew it and loved him for it.
Which brings us to the other huge thing that leaves with Tuck: Strong, high-character leadership. It's no accident that the Giants put Pierre-Paul's locker next to Tuck's. They did it because they wanted Pierre-Paul to learn as much as possible, if only by osmosis. They wanted Tuck to be right there when Pierre-Paul had a question, for Pierre-Paul to have a front-row seat to watch Tuck carry himself as a professional in team meetings, in media interviews, while suiting up for practice, while studying his playbook ... all of it. And Pierre-Paul wasn't the only one in that room who looked at Tuck with reverence. Kiwanuka did, too. Antrel Rolle counted Tuck among the influences that helped him rise to the level of co-captain. Tuck was the other co-captain on defense, a no-brainer election every year.
One Giants player told me this week, when we were talking about Tuck's situation, "Leadership is big. I don't know if you can replace a guy like Tuck." The Giants have decided to try to find out. They are turning a great big page here and hoping things in their locker room work as smoothly on the other side of it as they did on the side that had Tuck.
I think, if you're a real Giants fan with an appreciation for what the Tom Coughlin-era team has accomplished, this has to be a tough bit of news to take. Tuck should and likely does hold a special place in your heart for all he's meant to the team, the fan base ... heck, the community. He's been as visible and active in local charities as any player in the market. So you and the Giants are welcome to talk big and tough about how it was time to move on, or how Reese always gets this right, or how Tuck's going to be miserable winning five games a year in Oakland. And you might well be right about all of it.
But that doesn't mean it's not worth taking a moment to think about what the Giants really decided to let go of Thursday, when they decided to let Justin Tuck walk out the door.
The Raiders announced Tuck's signing Thursday afternoon.
The Giants' offer fell far below what Oakland offered and Tuck was in contact with Giants higher-ups Thursday. He had hoped to remain in New York, but the Raiders simply wanted him more. Oakland needed for a pass-rusher after Lamarr Houston agreed to sign with the Chicago Bears.
Tuck ranks sixth with the Giants and 99th in NFL history with 60.5 sacks. He had 11 sacks in 2013 after two injury-plagued years in which he totaled only nine. Last season was his fourth with 10 or more sacks. He also won Super Bowl rings as a member of the Giants following the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
In addition to his pass-rushing numbers, Tuck also has a reputation as a strong run-defender and has often moved inside to play defensive tackle in the "NASCAR" package the Giants use when they want to load up on pass-rushers on obvious passing downs.
Tuck will turn 31 on March 29. He was a defensive captain the past several seasons.
ESPN.com Giants reporter Dan Graziano contributed to this report.
Even if the Giants had taken a linebacker in the first round since 1984 (which they have not), the re-signing of Jon Beason makes a pick of Alabama's C.J. Mosley unlikely. Ebron, however, makes a ton of sense.
The free-agent market at tight end is underwhelming, and the Giants have been getting by for too long with one-year stopgap solutions at tight end. That bit them in 2013, when Brandon Myers flopped, and it's time to address the position for the long-term. Ebron is, by all accounts, an instant difference-maker and a freakish athlete who could enable the Giants to do things at the tight end position they haven't been able to do since the heyday of Jeremy Shockey. Eli Manning needs weapons on offense, and Ebron would give him a versatile one.
I could see the Giants going any number of ways in the first round. They could take an offensive lineman, a cornerback, a wide receiver or a defensive lineman, and it would be tough to rip the pick. They are rebuilding a roster in decay, and they have tons of long-term needs. But Ebron would be an exciting and appropriate pick at No. 12.
So why spend so much on a position they've effectively ignored since Antonio Pierce retired? Well, there are a couple of reasons the Giants may have stretched for Beason:
- They know they like him. Beason fit perfectly into the Giants' defense last year as a guy who could make the calls and get everybody lined up where they needed to be. He got the system and the terminology immediately, and the players responded to the way he delivered it. Bringing in someone else from the outside, the Giants couldn't have been sure that person would slide in as neatly.
- They need leadership. Cornerback Terrell Thomas is not in their plans. Defensive end Justin Tuck could be back, but they're not exactly going out of their way to convince him to stay. Safety Antrel Rolle has only one year left on his deal. Along with Beason, these were the strong leaders on the Giants' defense in 2013. Two could be gone this year and three next year. The Giants value locker-room leadership and on-field leadership, and as a result Beason likely had more value to them than an outsider (and better player) like Dansby may have had.
- He's only 29, and while he's had injuries in the past, he did stay healthy in 2013. They have reason to believe his best days are not yet behind him.
- The guarantee is low. This is the big difference. Dansby got more years (four) and more guaranteed money ($12 million) from Cleveland. The Giants aren't as heavily committed to Beason. So if he disappoints or gets hurt, they're not saddled with some huge contract they can't escape. If he stays healthy and plays out the whole deal, they'd probably argue that it was money well spent.
The Giants made Beason a priority and once other teams expressed interest, I'm sure they ended up offering more than they initially offered. Good for Beason, who acted as his own agent, for getting what looks to be a very nice deal from the Giants, who decided they couldn't live without him.
But there is more to do on both sides of the ball as the Giants work on getting younger and re-stocking the pipeline for the long term at key positions. No matter what they end up doing for the rest of free agency, the draft will offer them an opportunity to continue that project. And if they fill immediate needs on the offensive and defensive lines with their free agency moves, they'll be able to take the best player available, regardless of position, in the first round.
That could mean another offensive lineman such as Michigan's Taylor Lewan, so great are their overall needs there. It could mean a pass-catching weapon for Eli Manning, such as tight end Eric Ebron or wide receiver Mike Evans. It could mean a cornerback such as Justin Gilbert, a defensive tackle such as Aaron Donald or some other defensive piece. The Giants could go any number of ways in the first round of the draft, and none would constitute a glaring mistake.
Mel Kiper's latest mock draft .
A variety of activity for a team embarking on a major offseason roster rebuild. Here's a look at where things stand with those and other Giants-related situations as we turn our attention to Day 3:
Odd as it may sound, the Schofield situation could help Tuck's case. The Giants agreed with Schofield on a two-year, $8 million contract on Tuesday because they viewed him as a pass-rusher. Now that that deal has fallen apart, the Giants have to look elsewhere for pass-rush help, and bringing Tuck back might be more important than they thought it was 24 hours ago. Not that Schofield was ever going to be a one-for-one Tuck replacement, but they're hoping to stock up on overall pass-rush depth, and losing Tuck would push them in the other direction.
Tuck was still meeting with the Raiders late Wednesday night, and it's entirely possible they could convince him to stay out there. The Raiders had a bit of a rough day, as you may have heard, and need to spend money on someone.
However, with David Baas having been cut, there's no way the Giants can stand on Walton as their only option at center. They haven't ruled out the possibility of re-signing Kevin Boothe to play center, and the fact remains that the top centers on the market haven't signed anywhere. So it's possible they could still get into the mix for someone like Evan Dietrich-Smith, Brian De La Puente or Ryan Wendell. Remember, Snee is no sure thing coming off his second hip surgery in as many years, and the Giants need offensive line depth in the worst way. If they ended up with a healthy Snee, a healthy Walton, Schwartz and another top-level center as interior line options for 2014, that would be a nice problem to have.
The Giants also had former Rams guard Shelley Smith in for a visit Wednesday. Smith is regarded as a top run-blocker who struggles in pass protection, but he's young still. Smith is scheduled to visit the Patriots today, so he's no sure thing to sign. Point is, the Giants know their needs on the line are extensive, and they're working to fix them.
Cornerback: The Giants did place an exploratory call to the Buccaneers a few days ago when they put Darrelle Revis on the market. But those talks went nowhere, and the Giants weren't a factor once Revis was cut Wednesday. He signed with the Patriots almost immediately, as though that had been the plan all along.
The Giants continue to look for a cornerback to go with Prince Amukamara and Trumaine McBride, and they had Tracy Porter in for a visit Wednesday. Porter left the building without a deal, but that doesn't mean he won't sign. Several other cornerback options remain available on the market, and it's possible the Giants could find one in the first or second round of the draft.
Jilted by Jacoby: The Giants wanted Jones. They saw him as a game-changer as a return man, and they desperately want to upgrade their return units in 2014. But they also saw Jones as someone who could help as a wide receiver -- something that, say, Devin Hester doesn't offer. So while they could go out and get someone like Hester for returns, they have been hoping their answer for the return game could also contribute something else. I haven't heard what Plan B is on this. Maybe someone like Ted Ginn Jr. We shall see. They'll still need a wide receiver to replace Hakeem Nicks, unless they think Rueben Randle can elevate himself to that level in time for 2014.
Assorted tidbits: Cornerback Terrell Thomas was also scheduled to visit the Raiders. Thomas has not received any contract offer from the Giants, who seem content to let him walk. ... Linebacker Keith Rivers signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. ... The Giants re-signed Curtis Painter, who was Eli Manning's backup quarterback in 2013. Training camp will tell whether Ryan Nassib is ready to beat him out or will have to spend another year as the No. 3 quarterback. ... In answer to many of your Twitter questions, I'm hearing nothing about the Giants and tight ends. No tight ends have signed yet, though.
LB Jon Beason: Agreed to a new contract with the Giants.
G/C Kevin Boothe: Remains unsigned, possible to return.
RB Andre Brown: Unsigned. Visited Oakland Raiders. Unlikely to return due to Rashad Jennings signing.
K Josh Brown: Re-signed with Giants for two years, $2.5 million.
S Stevie Brown: Re-signed with Giants for one year, $3 million.
RB Peyton Hillis: Re-signed with the Giants for two years, $1.8 million.
DT Linval Joseph: Signed with Minnesota Vikings for five years, $31.25 million
CB Trumaine McBride: Re-signed with Giants for two years, $3.1 million
S Ryan Mundy: Signed with the Chicago Bears for two years.
WR Louis Murphy: Unsigned. Unlikely to return.
TE Brandon Myers: Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years, $4.25 million
WR Hakeem Nicks: Unsigned. Has drawn little interest on market so far. Unlikely to return.
QB Curtis Painter: Re-signed with Giants as backup quarterback.
TE Bear Pascoe: Unsigned.
DT Mike Patterson: Unsigned. Giants have some interest in bringing him back.
LB Keith Rivers: Signed with Buffalo Bills for two years, $5 million.
DT Shaun Rogers: Unsigned. Unlikely to be back. Could retire.
CB Aaron Ross: Unsigned. Unlikely to be back.
CB Terrell Thomas: Unsigned. Has not been offered a contract by the Giants. Visited Oakland Raiders. Unlikely to be back.
DE Justin Tuck: Unsigned. Also visited Raiders. Could return, but not satisfied with what the Giants have offered.
Should you pencil him in as your starting center in 2014? I doubt it. There remains a chance the Giants could bring back Kevin Boothe at center, and top free agents such as Evan Dietrich-Smith and Brian de la Puente haven't signed anywhere else yet. I can't imagine Walton costs much to sign, so it's likely the Giants are placing a small bet on a high-upside guy who could start for them at center right away if healthy or down the road if he needs some time to get back into the flow.
The totality of what the Giants have done so far in free agency isn't very impressive at this point, but they do seem to have an idea of what they want to do, and their offseason process is a long, long way from complete.
Jones struck the deal with the Ravens while visiting the New York Giants. The Ravens were trying to arrange transportation for him to get back to Baltimore to sign the contract.
Jones, 29, was one of the Ravens' Super Bowl heroes in 2012. He scored a game-tying 70-yard touchdown in the AFC divisional game in Denver, a play now known as the Mile High Miracle. Jones then scored two touchdowns in the Super Bowl, a 56-yard catch and a 108-yard kick return.
Last season, it took time for Jones to get healthy after teammate Brynden Trawick ran into him in the season opener and injured his knee.
Jones showed flashes, although not consistency, as a receiver and finished fourth on the team with 37 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest impact came on returns, where he averaged 28.8 yards on kicks (fourth in NFL) and 12.5 yards on punts (fifth).
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the deal is not completely dead, but if it's ultimately completed, it's unlikely to be for as much money as originally expected. The Giants still want Schofield, but on a much smaller deal, so they're letting him look around to see what else is out there.
Schofield tore an ACL during Senior Bowl practice in 2010, the year he was drafted.
Beason's arrival in exchange for the low, low price of a seventh-round draft pick at the end of September changed things. Not only did he play well, showing surprising sideline-to-sideline speed and energy for a guy who'd had leg injuries and tumbled down the Panthers' depth chart, but he also eagerly and effectively assumed the role of defensive leader. The Giants instantly installed him as the middle linebacker and gave him the responsibility for relaying the defensive calls on the field. They needed someone in the middle of the field who could get and keep everyone organized, and Beason offered that to an extentDan Connor and Mark Herzlich could not. The players believed in him and respected him, and the way he played and led justified it.
So you can argue that Beason's performance is what convinced the Giants to finally spend for a linebacker for a change. I don't know what they spent yet. I know they thought they could sign him for something in the $3 million or $4 million per year range. I know there were other teams interested, and Beason was holding that over the Giants' heads in negotiations as recently as Wednesday morning, so it's possible they ended up spending a bit more than they projected. But I'm sure it's not a contract that will break the bank, given where the market is for inside linebackers league-wide. And considering they're surely losing Terrell Thomas and possibly defensive co-captain Justin Tuck from the leadership ranks of that defense -- and defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle is only signed for one more year -- Beason has value to the Giants that goes beyond any stats he might put in the box score.
Beason received a three-year, $19 million deal that includes $7 million guaranteed and $12 million in the first two years, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Carolina Panthers' first-round pick in 2007, Beason was a Pro Bowler in 2008, 2009 and 2010 before injuries began to wear him down.
He lost his starting middle linebacker job to Luke Kuechly in 2012, and he was a poor fit on the outside for Carolina, which traded him to the Giants for a seventh-round pick in October 2013.
The Giants immediately installed Beason as their middle linebacker, giving him responsibility for making the calls on the defense, and his new teammates accepted him and followed him as a leader.
The Giants' defense performed noticeably better over the final 11 games with Beason in the middle of it. He recorded 93 tackles in those 11 games, including 17 in the Dec. 1 road victory over the Redskins.
But it was, as you might expect. Even if the Bucs weren't asking much, Revis would have to redo his contract in order to get a deal done, and he was unwilling to do that. So the conversations ended quickly. Tampa Bay is unlikely to find a trade partner for Revis by 4 p.m. Wednesday, when they owe him a roster bonus, so he'll likely be cut Wednesday afternoon and free for anyone to sign.
We know the Giants have called around on the top cornerbacks, but we also know they balked at Alterraun Verner's price, which turned out to be not so bad. (Verner signed with Tampa Bay for four years and $25.5 million.) This makes me think it's unlikely they pursue Revis as a free agent. They have the money and cap space to do it, but the bidding is likely to get up near the $10 million-per-year mark, and I don't imagine the Giants wanting to play in that neighborhood.
I don't like to write that something won't happen, because you look silly if 95 things change and it actually does. But if you're dreaming of Revis in Giants blue, I'd encourage you to tone down your expectations.