Earlier in the week, the New York Giants continued to dip into the free agency pool and add new players. This time it was at a surprising position, as the Giants added a quarterback. They agreed to a one-year deal with Josh Freeman, former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and most recently of the Minnesota Vikings. The signing raises some eye brows because Freeman still has some name recognition, but it is a pretty irrelevant, if not a negative move, for the Giants.
The Giants were supposedly in on Matt Flynn, but he decided to re-sign with the Green Bay Packers, so the Giants tabbed Freeman. Freeman, who the Giants destroyed last season in his only start with the Vikings with 13 quarterback hits, one sack and eight pass deflections, has seen his efficiency drop in recent seasons. After completing 62.8 percent of his passes in 2011, Freeman has seen his completion percentage drop to 54.8 in 2012 then an unsightly 42.9 percent between three starts with the Buccaneers and Vikings in 2013.
Freeman did have solid seasons with the Buccaneers previously, making this a signing that isn’t without upside. Freeman was arguably the best quarterback left on the market, as he has two 25+ touchdown seasons already under his belt. A change of scenery where he can ease into a role seems like it could be a fit for him, but it goes against what the Giants have set up.
Last season, the Giants traded up in the fourth round of the draft to pick Ryan Nassib, quarterback out of Syracuse. The Giants viewed Nassib as an understudy to Eli Manning and a player who could watch, learn and grow practicing as the backup with no pressure to lead the team in meaningful games.
With Freeman around, that could put all of the Nassib growth in question. If Freeman shows anything, he will pass Curtis Painter for the backup quarterback spot. That would then push Nassib down to third, putting the Giants in a difficult spot. The Giants have said throughout the offseason that they plan on giving Nassib every chance to be the backup quarterback, but Freeman being on the roster would go against that thinking.
Notoriously, the Giants only carry two quarterbacks on their roster. Manning has shown outstanding durability and toughness, not missing a start in his NFL career. His ankle surgery may change the Giants’ thinking this season, but changes in philosophy is something the Giants rarely do so it is hard to imagine them carrying three quarterbacks all season.
But in all reality, this is an irrelevant move that leans closer to a negative. Freeman was most likely brought in as an extra arm for offseason workouts, as Manning will continue to rehab his ankle surgery. But if the Giants are serious about Nassib, this only complicates that process. It is also irrelevant because if any of these guys are seeing significant playing time during the regular season, it is a wash. If anyone other than Manning is under center this upcoming season, it is over.