The New York Giants came out swinging on the first day of free agency, signing six players. Two of those signings were safety Stevie Brown and linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who will combine to make $8 million this season. Those two were the 88th and 106th rated free agents, respectively, according to CBS. For a team with several holes and limited cap space, it seems general manager Jerry Reese overspent.
Coming into the day, the Giants were projected to have around $25 million available to spend. So, those two signings account for close to a third of the Giants’ cap room, and there are still tons of holes for them to fill.
Brown was a starter for the Giants two seasons ago, and impressed the team with eight interceptions. However, he missed the entire season this year with a torn ACL. In his place, Will Hill and Ryan Mundy performed well, and Hill even looked like a future star. On the other side, Antrel Rolle had a Pro Bowl season, and has his own hefty cap hit. While Mundy was able to leave in free agency, it’s fair to say the Giants were set at safety with Hill and Rolle.
A depth signing doesn’t hurt, but $4 million is way too much; keep in mind Rolle is making $6 million this season. While eight interceptions certainly gets people excited, there is more to the position than getting picks. Whether coincidence or not, the Giants jumped from the 28th ranked pass defense with Brown, to the 10th one this past season without him.
It is widely accepted that free agent prices are highest the first day of free agency. It then stands to reason that if the Giants waited, they could’ve found a depth safety for a more reasonable sum. In fact, it wouldn’t have been surprising if Brown was still available.
For Schofield, the Seattle Seahawks signed him for one-year and $900,000 last offseason — that was after recording 8.5 sacks over two seasons in a reserve role with the Arizona Cardinals. This past season, he recorded one sack, while seeing an average of 13 snaps a game. Like Brown, it stands to reason that Schofield would’ve been available later on in free agency, and certainly for less than the $4 million he signed for. Or, if not him, certainly a comparable player.
The Giants had limited funds to fill numerous holes on a team that was lucky to get to seven wins last season. Spending such a large percentage of their cap on unproven players is a poor way to address those holes.