Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Personnel, Etc.

Safety Shaun Williams became the Giants' third first-round draft choice in a year to depart, all three having been either flat-out released or allowed to dangle in free agency without an offer.

Cornerback Will Allen (2001) became the fourth when he officially signed with Miami on Monday.

Previously, running back Ron Dayne (2000) was released, simply discarded when his contract expired. He was picked up for nothing by Denver, played reasonably well last season and just a few weeks ago was re-signed by the Broncos.

Williams, the team's first-round pick in 1998 (the 24th overall selection), was allowed to wander off into the sunset when his contract expired. He was signed by the Carolina Panthers, whose coach, John Fox, worked with him for four years until he left for Charlotte.

They are reunited now, though perhaps not for long. Williams has had a series of injuries - knee, hamstring - that kept him out of 28 games over the past three seasons (six in 2003, 14 in 2004 and eight last season).

The drafting of Williams always represented a sort of watershed moment for Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi. It was his first year "in charge," having replaced the late George Young, and the value board constructed by Young and his scouts was still in place.

"I knew we needed an offensive lineman in the first round," Accorsi recalled, "but I was still in awe of the work George had done, and Williams was slightly ahead of the next available offensive lineman on our rating scale."

That lineman turned out to be guard Alan Faneca of LSU, snapped up in the very next selection by the Steelers. He has been an almost annual Pro Bowl player while Williams never reached anything close to that level.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Among the Giants' signings of free-agent defensive backs were two who entered the league as second-round draft picks. They are Sam Madison (by Miami in 1997 from Louisville) and Will Demps (by Baltimore in 2002). Both are assumed to be instant starters.

--The Giants will now turn their attention to one more free-agent signing, that of Washington outside linebacker LaVar Arrington. He has interviewed with the team and his agents has begun negotiations, but one of his agents, Carl Poston, was recently suspended for two years for behavior unbecoming an agent by the NFL Players Association. That might cause Arrington to drop the Poston and his brother, Kevin, as agents.

The problem with the Arrington deal is the amount of money involved. He wants a $10 million signing bonus and the Giants are not prepared to do that. Arrington has threatened to use interest from Miami and Cleveland to get the Giants to move, but they have refused thus far.

--One of the interesting behind-the-scenes activities in the Arrington adventure is that he has been heavily recruited by Giants' MLB Antonio Pierce, who played with him in Washington until signing with the Giants last season. The two are said to be close friends.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Who can say they don't want to play football in New York? It's a prestigious organization and a great area that brings so much to the table for a football player." - New Giants safety Will Demps.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

-- CB Will Allen signed a four-year, $12 million deal with Miami after spending his first five seasons with the Giants.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Outside linebacker: This could change if the Giants sign LaVar Arrington, late of the Washington Redskins. They need someone who can start on the weak side, since it begins to look more and more like they'll lose Nick Greisen to free agency. He has an interest in the Green Bay Packers and a few other teams, and has told the Giants he'd like to return, but he must be paid as a starter (acceptable, since he became one) and he wants to play inside (which is not acceptable, since in their 4-3 alignment Antonio Pierce is the MLB).

2. Running back: What happens if an injury grounds superstar Tiki Barber? The Giants don't seem to be considering that nightmare, but behind the doors, they are trying to decide whether a first-round pick should be spent on a running back. Chances are they won't since they draft 25th and it isn't a particularly deep year for the position.

3. Tackle: There are still persistent rumors that the Giants plan to terminate the contract of LT Luke Petitgout, who is scheduled to earn almost $6 million in base salary this season. If they do that, a young tackle is a mandatory addition, perhaps in the draft's first round and if not, definitely in the second.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CB Terrell Buckley; WR Tim Carter; RB Michael Cloud; LB Jay Foreman; LB Nick Greisen; LB Roman Phifer.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): WR Lamont Brightful.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DT Kenderick Allen; WR/KR Willie Ponder; TE Visanthe Shiancoe; WR David Tyree; CB Frank Walker.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: QB Tim Hasselbeck; OG Lewis Kelly; RB/KR Chad Morton; OT Bob Whitfield.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Jason Bell; S Will Demps; S Quentin Harris; CB Sam Madison; CB R.W. McQuarters.

PLAYERS LOST: S Brent Alexander; CB Will Allen; DT Kendrick Clancy; LB Barrett Green; OG Jason Whittle; S Shaun Williams.

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