Are The New York Giants Now NFC East Favorites?
The New York Giants had money burning a hole in their pocket for the last few weeks and, come the start of free agency, they spent it.
Early Wednesday, word came out that the Giants had signed cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a 5-year, $62.5 million deal. As Jerry Reese and co. continued to work the phones, they landed defensive lineman Damon Harrison to a 5-year, $46.5 million deal. And then they went after the big fish and paid him big fish money. Olivier Vernon will join the Giants after he signs his record-setting deal for 5 years and $85 million.
Can a team in one day make themselves the favorite in a division where they finished third? Not only that, they went 2-4 against their division rivals. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg thinks so.
The Giants addressed three big holes on their league-worst defense. After ranking dead last in pass defense, Reese signed one of the top corners on the market. After finishing 30th in sacks, the Giants added Vernon who has averaged a half a sack per game in his four-year career. In addition, they signed a dominant run-stopper in Harrison and re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul.
Can three players turn a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in four seasons into a division winner? The Giants revamped their defense to complement the 8th ranked offense in the NFL. That offense played without former superstar Victor Cruz for the entire 2015 season, who also restructured his contract yesterday in order for him to stay with the team for 2016.
On paper, the Giants markedly improved their roster within the span of a few hours. But does that make them favorites?
The Eagles are starting fresh with a new coach and have traded away or released many of the assets from their old regime. However, Philadelphia signed a young safety and guard in free agency. The Cowboys will have their franchise QB Tony Romo back from injury. The Redskins locked in their franchise quarterback and re-signed the assets that got them the division championship in 2015.
The Giants may have won the first day of free agency, but will that translate to a victory in the NFC East?