Forward Thinking

The work of the front office and personnel people is ongoing. They don't have the luxury of sitting back and enjoying the season. Scouting is like the tide, it just keeps on rolling. It's funny how things change. At 5-0 things looked great. No major holes to fill. Three losses later and things look a little different.

This week we will look at the potential Giants' restricted free agents (RFAs) and unrestricted free agents (UFAs). We say potential because there is certainly a chance some of these players will be re-signed before they hit the open market. Next week we will marry the Giants positional outlook with college scouting. If you like to watch college football, you may enjoy doing a little scouting on your own. We will try to give you some college players to keep an eye on for how well they may fit in with the Giants.

The first step right now is to get an idea of what players could be leaving in free agency. The Giants have three potential RFAs: Domenik Hixon, Darcy Johnson and Dave Tollefson. Unless another team puts an outlandish offer out to any of these three then in all likelihood they will be back. For sure Hixon and Tollefson should be re-signed. Hixon is the best they have at kick and punt returns plus he is good enough to be a third or fourth receiver depending on the progress of the young WRs. Tollefson is a lunch pail guy who has value as a reserve DE. They can also move him inside like they do with Justin Tuck. Teams need guys like Tollefson.

There is a chance Darcy Johnson will not be back. This is his fourth year with the team, including 2006 when he spent the year on the Practice Squad. He's been a bit of a disappointment, especially as a pass catcher, which is supposed to be his strong suit. He's improved as a blocker, but he's still not great.

Now, let's look at the UFAs. This is the player grouping where the most turnover could occur. It's an opportunity to clear out some dead wood; another team might be willing to overpay to fill a hole or the bang for the buck is just not there.

Kevin Boothe – We like Boothe as a guard, not as a tackle. We think he is the type of guard who could carry the Giants through an injury period. He is good enough to start for another team and unfortunately that makes him a candidate to leave.

Action: Try to re-sign at the right price.

C.C. Brown – We can't remember who wrote it first, but C.C. stands for Can't Cover. Brown has quickly become a fan whipping boy and not without reason. There is a tendency to blame a lot of the defense's misfortune on him. Don't forget, this is not the role he was brought here to fill. Kenny Phillips was supposed to be on his way to the Pro Bowl and Brown was supposed to be a situational reserve. There is no question the Giants will look to add another safety even if they re-sign him, which at this point appears unlikely.

Action: Bye Bye C.C.

David Carr – Honestly it would be hard to find a better backup QB than Carr. The problem is there is no doubt he should be given a chance to start for another team. We were very surprised he returned this year.

Action: If another team is willing to give him a chance to compete as a starter he is gone. If not we would take him back in a heartbeat.

Danny Clark – This is a tough call. This year between his pro-rated signing bonus, his base salary and his "likely to be earned" bonus money, he cost the Giant $1.7 million. He will be 33 in May. They really need to get more athletic at LB.

Action: Try to replace him as a starter. We would like to have him back as a reserve, but only at a reduced price. Most likely he's gone.

Barry Cofield – This one is fairly easy. It will be important for them to re-sign Cofield. He is a good run stopper and a very nice fit in their DT rotation. He will only be 26 in March and his best football is still ahead of him.

Action: Re-sign.

Kevin Dockery – This has not been a good year so far for Dock, the diminutive (5-8, 188) corner. A corner that can cover the other team's slot receiver is important. That being said, we aren't sure he will be worth whatever pay raise he will be seeking.

Action: We would try to keep him at a modest increase, but he could have more value to another team.

Jeff Feagles – He is the master of punt placement, but for the first time since he has been here Feagles is starting to show some diminished production. We will watch how he performs the rest of the season to determine whether we would bring him back.

Action: If he picks it up and finishes the season strong we would try to squeeze another year out of him.

Derek Hagan – Hagan is a marginal special teams player. He is the type that can be easily replaced by a lower-cost college free agent or low-round draft pick. In the WR pecking order he will be behind Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hixon, Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden.

Action: Offer the veteran minimum with a promise that he can compete for a job in camp.

Sinorice Moss – With all the talented young receivers Jerry Reese has brought in there doesn't appear to be a spot for Moss next year. He is not a dynamic return man and his constant injuries throughout his career are maddening. There will be a spot for him somewhere in the league.

Action: It's time to move on.

Fred Robbins – Another tough decision. He will be 33 and that means it's nearing the witching hour for Freddy. We've always loved his ability to get a strong inside rush. Soon his days as a starter will be over. The challenge will be to bring him back in a reduced capacity. The question is can they get 15-20 plays a game out of him? This year he cost them $3.8 million against the cap. If they reduce his workload; will he accept a lesser salary?

Action: We would try to work it out that he comes back, but that will not be an easy task.

Guy Whimper – Like Gerris Wilkinson and Moss, Whimper has not developed as hoped. Did you notice when Kareem McKenzie was injured they turned to rookie Will Beatty rather than the more experienced Whimper?

Action: He can probably get a better deal elsewhere.

Gerris Wilkinson – Time may have run out for Wilkinson. So much promise, so little performance. He had a chance to be one of the athletic LBs they need, but he couldn't stay healthy; he didn't produce. His special teams work has not been all that impressive.

Action: Adios Gerris.

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