Giants Finally Sign a Free Agent

The Giants finally joined the free-agent game when they inked former Chiefs LB Kawika Mitchell to a one-year deal for $1 million. Mitchell immediately becomes an odds-on favorite to start at one of the outside LB spots, most likely on the strong side.

The previous four seasons, Kawika (pronounced kuh-VEE-ka) Mitchell played inside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, leading the team in tackles each of the last two seasons.

"Over the past two years I haven't come off the field, I have played 100 percent of all the plays at Kansas City," Mitchell said. "I feel like I can do whatever is asked of me, and then some. I plan on making an impact and trying to make a lot of big plays and the plays that should be made.

"I'll be playing outside. I'm not even thinking about playing the middle right now. I'm not quite sure how things are going to work out right now, but when I meet with the coaches I'm sure they'll explain it. But Antonio (Pierce) is a good leader and a great player."

Mitchell is a productive player at a position where the Giants have openings after the recent release of outside linebackers LaVar Arrington and Carlos Emmons. A 6-1, 253-pounder, Mitchell started all 17 regular season and postseason games for the Chiefs last season and had a team-high 118 tackles (88 solo), which was 31 more than runner-up Sammy Knight. Mitchell also had a team-high 13 tackles in the Chiefs' AFC Wild Card loss at Indianapolis.

"Kawika is a good young veteran who has started for the last three years," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He's a young guy who has played a lot of snaps in this league, and we feel like he can really play any of the linebacker positions. He is a guy who has something to prove, and this will be a great opportunity for him to do that. We're excited to have him and we feel like he will stabilize our linebacker situation."

Mitchell, who will wear jersey number 55, could have shopped himself around, but thought the Giants offered him the best opportunity for both team success and playing time.

"They've got a good team – that's the most important thing," he said. "I think we can win games. This is a team that can win a lot of games and I can help do something right away."

He also said he wasn't fazed by having to settle for only a one-year deal. "Hopefully I can build on it and make it a long-term thing," he said.

In four years in Kansas City, Mitchell started 50 of 59 regular season games, including his last 42 in a row. He recorded 363 tackles (262 solo), 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Mitchell joined the Chiefs as a second-round draft choice (the 47th overall selection) in 2003.

TGI's take: While we obviously would have loved to have seen the Al Wilson trade come to fruition, the Giants were understandably scared off due to injury concerns. Signing Mitchell is a solid, if not spectacular move. He's obviously an upgrade over Chase Blackburn and/or Gerris Wilkinson.

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