The New York Giants have been somewhat active in free agency despite a limited budget. They have brought Aaron Ross back and signed Cullen Jenkins to bolster their defensive line and have signed Josh Brown to compete for a kicking job with David Buehler. Now, they are bringing 27-year-old middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley in for a visit.
Brinkley has spent his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings after they selected him in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, netting 97 tackles and forcing three fumbles. He is strong against the run and can range to the outside to get to the football. His weakness is in pass coverage where he can be exposed by faster tight ends.
The Giants run defense was terrible last season, ranking 25th in the NFL and allowing 129.1 yards per game. Brinkley would be a nice, slightly younger, replacement for Chase Blackburn who is also a free agent.
Brinkley did deal some injury issues as he missed the 2011 season with a hip injury but he was healthy last season and performed extremely well for the Vikings.
The Giants need help at linebacker. They like their younger players such as Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams but there are questions as to whether Paysinger and Herzlich can step up into a full-time starting role. Adding Brinkley would give the Giants a younger option than Blackburn but the Giants have not totally moved on from Blackburn. As with every free agent signing this off-season, it will all come down to money. The Giants don’t have a lot of it to spread around so they have to spread it around as carefully as possible while still keeping some space available to sign their draft picks.
Brinkley would be a good fit with the Giants, would help bolster their run defense, and would allow the Giants to get younger. It’s just a matter of whether or not Brinkley would be willing to sign for what the Giants are offering, assuming, of course, the Giants offer him a contract during his visit.