As is often the case, Jerry Reese didn't make any huge, sexy splashes in free agency.
But the Giants general manager still managed to address the areas of need for his roster all while managing a tight salary cap.
ESPN's Bill Polian recently wrote about his top six NFL talent evaluators and it should be no surprise that Reese is among them. He based his top six in part on "the ability to first assess what you have on the roster -- that helps guide the continued building of rosters through the draft."
Polian on Reese: He goes out and finds players who fit what head coach Tom Coughlin wants, which points to one of his greatest strengths as a GM: Not only is Jerry a terrific judge of talent, he's also an excellent manager in the way he includes his staff and the coaches in the process. Throughout the organization, every scout is working from the same script and knows that their voice will be heard in the player-evaluation process.
Another defining characteristic for Jerry is that he's not afraid to take a chance on a player who he believes will fit their system. Mark Herzlich is a good example. Many teams were scared of his battle with cancer, but he's helped the Giants. And identifying Victor Cruz as a player to develop can't be overlooked -- remember, they kept him through an entire season where Cruz sat on IR. Reese and Coughlin will now unearth last year's first-rounder, RB David Wilson. While the former Virginia Tech back had a rough start following a Week 1 fumble, he should be a strong asset for the Giants going forward after the team had to make financial decisions at the position this offseason.
Reese results: Just to recap this offseason, Reese re-signed the left side of his offensive line (Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe), got Corey Webster and David Diehl to accept pay cuts, got safety Stevie Brown back on a second-round RFA tender, added defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, signed linebacker Dan Connor and tight end Brandon Myers and brought back Aaron Ross. He plugged some starting positions and added depth, some experience, muscle and guys who could shine with more opportunities. And Reese made the majority of his signings for one-year veteran minimums.
He did lose Martellus Bennett to Chicago, who signed the tight end to a four-year, $20 million deal -- more than the Giants were willing to spend. Reese had to release Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley to free up cap space and Osi Umenyiora and Kenny Phillips were allowed to walk in free agency.
But, Giants who have left in recent years haven't always fared well elsewhere. Reese has had a good offseason considering his cap constraints. His offseason isn't complete yet with the draft coming up -- an area he and his staff usually excel at. And his moves in free agency allow him to take the best player available and not necessarily have to draft for need like he might have had to do if he had lost a guy like Beatty or Boothe.
His offseason can get even better if he is able to lock down Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, who is entering his final year, to long-term extensions.
Tell us what you think of Reese and if you agree with Polian's assessment.