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Keenan Robinson a lower-cost upside play for Giants at linebacker

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Will the Giants spending spree backfire? (2:00)

Will Cain, Kate Fagan and Freddie Coleman examine if the Giants were smart with their spending during the first day of free agency. (2:00)

You can't pay everyone on your roster $9 million, $12 million or $17 million a year, so the spending spree the New York Giants undertook Wednesday was always unlikely to bleed into Thursday. They still have other needs, though, and they've addressed one of them by agreeing to a contract with former Washington linebacker Keenan Robinson.

Robinson, 26, was an inside linebacker in Washington's 3-4 front. The Giants play a 4-3, and in that alignment he'd be a candidate to play either on the weak side or in the middle, where the Giants have a huge vacancy following the retirement of Jon Beason.

Folks who watched Robinson play in Washington say he's very strong in coverage, which is music to Giants' fans ears, but that he struggled a bit when asked to handle the responsibilities of making sure his fellow front-seven players were lined up correctly and all gaps were filled. If he's to play the middle in Steve Spagnuolo's defense, he's going to have to do better with those types of on-field responsibility. But with six months left before the first game, he's got time to figure it out.

So I see Robinson as a candidate to be the Giants' starting middle linebacker this year, but not a sure thing. He'll have to learn the defense and advance quickly in the offseason and training camp. But the Giants like his talent and his athleticism, and as was the case Wednesday when they signed Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon to monster deals, they think Robinson has the upside to eventually justify the signing if he plays to his potential.