The 6-10 Giants struggled at several spots in 2014. One of those was the safety position, where the back of New York’s defense gave up 75 pass plays (almost five per game) of more than 20 yards. The good news about that statistic is that three of the Giants’ safeties are becoming free agents, which means the front office can clean house and forge a new identity at the position.
Let’s look at some of the players that Big Blue can bring in if it chooses to fill its need via free agency.
In all likelihood, Rolle just finished his last season with the Giants. Although the 32-year-old veteran was a tremendous leader and playmaker during his five seasons in blue, 2014 represented a step back for him. Although he played in all 16 games and intercepted three passes, Rolle was ranked amongst the worst safeties in the game by experts because of his terrible pass coverage. Now is the perfect time for the Giants to let Rolle go.
Considered the top safety free agent this offseason, McCourty grew up in Nyack and played his college ball at Rutgers. In short, he’s the dream guy for many Giants fans this offseason. The problem is that McCourty is a good bet to stick with the Patriots, who drafted him in 2010 and have made him a second team All-Pro player at both cornerback and safety. At 28 years of age, he’s plenty young and talented enough to be an impact player for the Giants in 2015, but convincing him to leave his professional home is not going to be easy.
The 11-year veteran will be 34 years old by the time September rolls around, but Adams is a Patterson native and coming off of one of his finest NFL seasons. Because of his age, Adams might be easier to sign than McCourty, but he’s only a short-term fix at best.
A knee injury limited Gipson to only 11 games in his third NFL season, but the Wyoming alum still managed to intercept six passes and qualify for the Pro Bowl as starter for Cleveland. Gipson is a restricted free agent, but his youth and recent performance should make him a hot commodity for teams like the Giants who are looking for long-term help in the secondary.
Searcy has been a solid playmaker during his two most recent seasons in Buffalo, and like Gipson, his combination of youth and talent makes him a talent who should not be overlooked. Last year, Searcy intercepted three passes, forced two fumbles, and served as one of the most underrated players at his position. Hopefully he’ll stay that way and the Giants can swoop in, but we know how new Bills coach Rex Ryan loves aggressive defensive backs.
After being dumped by the Giants, Hill went on to have a great season with the Ravens. He’s only a restricted free agent, and New York probably wouldn’t want to give him a second chance, but Hill is still just 25 years old and obviously as talented as ever.
Like Rolle, Landry is a 32-year-old veteran who doesn’t make a habit out of missing games. Unlike Rolle, he played quite well for a New York team in 2014. Landry was a great stabilizing presence for a young Jets secondary last year, and he could serve the same role for the Giants this year if they’re not worried too much by his age.