Monday, March 20, 2017

Giants Signing Ex-Jets Highlight Big Off-Season Moves

The New York Giants have been busy since free agency began just two weeks ago, taking risky gambles on ex-Jets and re-signing Jason Pierre Paul to a long term deal.

Big Blue started their off-season pursuits when they signed ex-Jets wide out Brandon Marshall on a two-year, $12 million contract. The signing was slightly surprising, considering the Giants didn't exactly have a major need a wide receiver, with Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepherd already on the roster.

On the plus side, the Giants are not spending a ton of money to get a top flight talent of Marshall's caliber into town. The $12 million over two years is a bargain by all considerations. And Marshall gets to stay in New York to pursue his broadcasting career with Showtime's Inside the NFL. Everyone wins on the surface.

With Marshall on the squad the Giants, potentially have one of the most explosive pass-catching units in the NFL. Two years ago, when Marshall first came to New York with the Jets, he had one of the best seasons of his career, hauling in 14 touchdowns and putting up 1,502 yards receiving. However last season was a total nightmare for him. Not only did he have to deal with the Jets horrible quarterback situation, he found himself in the midst of a locker room spat with Sheldon Richardson.

What makes Marshall an even more attractive option is that he appeared to put his checkered locker room past behind him the last two years.  With the exception of Richardson, the Jets' players looked at Marshall as one of the leaders of the team.

That could be a good thing for someone like Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham has become a piranha of sorts after his bad behavior both on and off the field came back to bite him last season. Beckham could use the steady leadership of Marshall to calm him down, and steer him in the right direction. The Giants needed Victor Cruz to do that last year, but he failed miserably when he was caught partying with Beckham down in Miami before the playoffs.

On the field, Marshall gives quarterback Eli Manning a huge down field target, and an excellent red zone presence that he hasn't had since Plaxico Burress left. In 2015 alone, Marshall had 13 touchdowns from inside the opponents 20 yard line. His 6-foot-4, 230 pound frame is a lot for opposing, smaller cornerbacks to deal with. So fully expect Marshall's number to be called when the Giants are in a go-to-goal situation.

Meanwhile, the Giants weren't done signing former Jets. They inked ex-Jets bust Geno Smith to become the teams' back-up quarterback. This is a very odd signing for many reasons. Yes, the Giants needed a better back-up quarterback than Ryan Nassib, but there are other guys on the market that are 100 times better than Geno Smith.

Smith is a total bust. The guy was clueless when he was with the Jets, and his immaturity not withstanding was a black-eye. This is not the kind of player you want one snap away from becoming the starting quarterback. The Giants could have signed someone like Josh McCown or even Ryan Fitzpatrick (if they wanted to stick it to the Jets that badly) and they would have been better off.

While the contract is only for one year at $2 million, it feels like the Giants could have spent that $2 million elsewhere and still improved their back-up quarterback situation. Jerry Reese and company better hope the Giants leaky offensive line keeps Manning upright, or they're in big, big trouble.

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