New York Giants: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

New York Giants. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
New York Giants. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Shaun O'Hara, New York Giants
Shaun O’Hara, New York Giants. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

player. 31. . Center. 2004-10. Shaun O'Hara. 4

  • Selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NFL seasons
  • Started in all 97 games he played for Giants
  • Giants team captain and leadership council member
  • Giants “Man-of-the-Year” (2005)

The Giants were in the full throes of a rebuild when general manager Ernie Accorsi took a shot at signing offensive lineman and New Jersey native Shaun O’Hara. The former Rutgers star previously had signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He had played 54 games with Cleveland, garnering 38 starts, according to Pro Football Reference.

Even though he played mostly at guard for the Browns, the G-Men wanted O’Hara to go back to his more natural center position, as a protector for rookie quarterback Eli Manning. It could not have worked out better for Big Blue. The offensive line was a liability for the team in 2003, which led to a disastrous 4-12 campaign that cost head coach Jim Fassel his job.

With the addition of O’Hara and others, Accorsi turned that weakness into an area of strength. By the 2005 season, the New York Giants won the NFC East division with an 11-5 record. As a key member of the Super Bowl XLII winning squad, O’Hara will be remembered as slaying the undefeated New England Patriot on the turf at the University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008.

Fans may not remember, but O’Hara and company took the opening kickoff and drove up the field against the Patriots, eating almost 10 minutes off of the game clock. While Big Blue settled for a field goal on the drive, it set the groundwork for victory by keeping Tom Brady and the explosive Patriots’ offense on the sidelines for most of the first quarter in what became a 17-14 Giants victory.

Fans can still get insight from O’Hara as he works as an analyst for the NFL Network.