Those of you hoping to hear about a big-name signing by the New York Giants aren't going to be too fired up about this one, but the Giants signed a pretty good player in former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker J.T. Thomas. Thomas is 26 years old (turns 27 in August) and racked up 84 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in 16 games (10 starts) for the Jaguars in 2014. The Giants gave him a three-year, $12 million contract with $4.5 million fully guaranteed.
Why? Well, the Giants had three of their own linebackers -- Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams -- eligible for free agency, and of the three it looks as though either none or one will be back (I still say Herzlich is most likely). So they have to replace them, and signing Thomas and Jonathan Casillas (with whom they also agreed to terms Tuesday) helps do that. Williams was a starter last year on the weak side before concussion problems ended his season, and Thomas and Casillas both can play over there. Thomas is good in coverage and can play any of the three spots and actually started nine games at middle linebacker last season after Paul Posluszny got hurt.
Will he start on the weak side? I don't know. Maybe he does, maybe Casillas does, maybe they arrange it some other way. It's possible that the only people the Giants have signed so far are backups, and if that's the case, that's all right, because you need them too. The Giants have struggled with depth issues for the past couple of years due to the lingering effects of several bad drafts in a row, and each year they try to patch together a bench in the hopes of finding the right mix. Thomas and the crew whose names have come out so far Tuesday represent that latest attempt.
The Giants still need at least one starting safety and will look for at least one starting defensive lineman and a starting offensive lineman in free agency, which is only about four hours old.