For the second time in three years, the New York Giants emerged as a big spender in free agency, doling out a lucrative contract for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in 2014 and a historically lucrative contract for Olivier Vernon in 2016. The team already has more than $200 million worth of money committed to the 2016 class thanks to Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison.
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- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
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- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
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According to co-owner and team president John Mara, they might not be finished yet either.
"There are still some players we're looking at, obviously at a lower level in terms of compensation," Mara told The New York Post at the Annual League Meeting over the weekend. "But I still think we have some holes to fill.
"I think we would like to add another offensive lineman somewhere down the line, (as well as) another corner (and) another receiver. There are still players we're looking at. We may have to wait until the draft if (those players) aren't there in free agency."
Some of this is cleaning up past mistakes. The Giants obviously thought that Victor Cruz would be in their long-term plans and also thought that Geoff Schwartz, another centerpiece of their 2014 class, would still be in New York as well.
But a lot of this is burying the perception that the Giants are a team on the decline. Before the 2014 spending spree, the roster had a bare bones feel thanks to a bevy of retirements, departing free agents and injuries. That year, the team started 0-6 and missed the playoffs again. The Giants have only made the playoffs once since 2009 -- the year they won the Super Bowl.
Unlike other perennial third-place finishers, they have a talented franchise quarterback, a once-in-a-decade talent at wide receiver and an offensive line that could include four first- or second-round picks on opening day 2016 depending on where the team looks in the draft. As much as this free agency period was about plugging holes, it was just as much about jump-starting a roster with a good core to life.