DB shopping spree

With the salary cap rising to $102 million, the Giants spent all of their free agent dollars thus far on a quintet of defensive backs and a reserve offensive lineman, while also re-signing a couple of their own free agents.

TGI now breaks down each and every move they Giants made so far – and the ones they didn't as well.

Newcomers

Sam Madison – The Giants didn't waste any time at all inking the 31-year-old Madison basically the second that free agency opened. Whether or not he's on the downside of his career, he's been to four Pro Bowls, which is a far cry from anyone the Giants boasted back there in the previous few seasons. He brings veteran experience and leadership and a strong desire to win. There's no doubt that he's a better all-around player than Will Allen, with whom he basically just swapped places. With Will Peterson's future seriously in doubt, Madison becomes the club's top cover corner in a division that boasts Terrell Owens and Santana Moss.

TGI's take: Great signing. The price (four years, $7.4 million) was right and the need was great.

Will Demps – With no real concerns over the condition of his surgically repaired knee – Demps said he's already 90 percent – the Giants didn't hesitate to add a young veteran to insert alongside Gibril Wilson. Like Madison over Allen, there's no doubt that Demps will be a huge upgrade over Brent Alexander. He's young, tough and comes from no less a talented defense than the Ravens, where they ran a lot of the same stuff Tim Lewis ran in Pittsburgh and still runs here.

TGI's take: Another smart move by Ernie Accorsi. Demps was headed to other visits and the Giants wouldn't let him leave till he put pen to paper.

R.W. McQuarters – While McQuarters boasts that he can play anywhere, it's hardly far-fetched to see him in the opening day starting lineup. With Madison penciled in at one corner, the other spot is basically between second-year man Corey Webster and McQuarters, an eight-year vet the Giants tried to sign last offseason. The fact that he has return ability as well makes the three-year, $6 million pact the Giants gave the confident McQuarters seem like a bargain.

TGI's take: There were definitely better corners out there besides McQuarters, but having him and Madison makes this move look very strong as well. It's definitely out with the old and in with the new at DB, as well it should be.

Grey Ruegamer – The Giants improved the depth on their offensive line when they signed Grey Ruegamer, an eight-year pro who has previously been with Miami, New England and Green Bay.

Ruegamer, a 6-4, 305-pounder, has played in 76 regular season games with 16 starts (14 at center, two at right guard). He has also played in six postseason games with one start.

Ruegamer, a product of Arizona State, just completed a three-year stint in Green Bay. In 2005, he played in 13 games with two starts – the Dec. 5 and Dec. 25 games vs. Chicago, his first career starts at right guard. Ruegamer had his best season in 2004, when he started at center in 11 games. His first Packers start was on Oct. 3 against the Giants.

TGI's take: Will provide solid depth along an O-line that's coming off a solid season. He's basically a better version of Jason Whittle, who was released and signed with Minnesota.

Jason Bell – A six-year veteran, the 28-year-old Bell has played in 67 games but has yet to start a contest. He makes his mark on special teams, where he posted 39 tackles in his four seasons with the Texans. He's expected to battle for one of the reserve corner spots in what has become a pretty crowded defensive backfield.

TGI's take: You can never have too many solid special teams players, whether they can play on defense or not.

Quentin Harris – He's expected to earn his check on special teams, where he posted 24 tackles last year for the Cardinals, including four in the season opener against the Giants. He signed a two-year deal and should provide depth in the secondary as well. Harris is a good insurance policy in case James Butler fails to continue to progress as the Giants are expecting him to.

TGI's take: Not a move to get all excited about, but also nothing to sneeze at. A guy that's lasted six years in the league without being a permanent starter must bring some intangibles to the table.

Staying put

Tim Carter – In a very surprising move, the Giants gave Tim Carter a two-year deal worth a million a year after clubs such as Cleveland and Tampa Bay wouldn't offer him more than a one-year contract. Accorsi has always been enamored with Carter and to be fair, he's coming off the best year of his injury-plagued Giants career when he played in 15 games and caught 10 passes for 186 yards. His first three seasons were cut short by a variety of injuries. The former second-round pick has 50 career catches for Big Blue.

TGI's take: Should have used this money elsewhere.

Bob Whitfield – A guy with this much experience, smarts and ability was a no-brainer to re-sign. Whitfield can play either tackle spot and play it well. And there's no way to put a measurement on how much his presence means to the other linemen. This had to be one of Accorsi's easier decisions this offseason.

TGI's take: A no-brainer. Whitfield's great to have on board.

Chad Morton – The Giants best return man in years is back, as they inked Morton to a four-year deal worth just shy of $4 million. He proved his worth last season, and the Giants didn't hesitate to bring him back even though they had eyes on – and eventually signed – another return specialist in McQuarters.

TGI's take: Great move. Morton's already made everyone forget how bad the return units had been for as long as they were.

Tim Hasselbeck – He didn't even throw a pass last year, but the Giants wanted him back anyway. He served as a good sounding board for Eli Manning and also is a great student of the game. Whether the Giants really think he can step in and play at a high level is still open for debate – they've recently publicly flirted with Jay Fiedler.

TGI's take: Why not? With a starter like Manning, no one cares about the backup, right?

Lewis Kelly – He graduated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster for the final three weeks last year and definitely has some ability. Kelly has a chance to be the final lineman on this team.

TGI's take: They invested all last year in him. Give him another year to see what happens.

Goners

Will Allen – The Dolphins gave a guy who didn't pick off one pass last year four million a year? They obviously see something the Giants didn't. But the feeling was mutual – Allen wasn't going to come back to New York unless it was his only option.

TGI's take: Both sides believe they've won the Madison/Allen swap. Our money's on New York being right.

Kendrick Clancy – Clancy angered the Giants by signing without giving them a chance to match; the Giants angered Clancy by allowing him to hit the open market, where he signed immediately to start in Arizona.

TGI's take: The Giants might really regret dropping the ball on this one. Solid DTs are tough to find.

Shaun Williams – Ended up signing a one-year deal with John Fox in Carolina, the location for countless Giant defensive castoffs. Williams had some great times in New York but never reached his first-round potential.

TGI's take: He'll be missed more in the locker room than on the field.

Brent Alexander – Did all they asked of him, but had already lost a step before they signed him in 2004. They tried to make it seem like he was retiring when they were planning to release him all along.

TGI's take: With Demps on board, no one will miss him

Barrett Green – Admit it, you had forgotten he was even on the roster.

TGI's take: No big deal here.

Jason Whittle – His second go-round in New York didn't last nearly as long – or produce nearly as much fruit.

TGI's take: Big upgrade in Ruegamer over Whittle.

CHART

Best offseason move – Signing Will Demps

Worst offseason move – Letting Kendrick Clancy walk

Best non-move – Not overpaying for LaVar Arrington

Worst non-move – Allowing a starting-caliber Nick Greisen to walk away

Most surprising move – Re-signing Tim Carter

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