Why Giants should re-sign Robert Ayers, let Prince Amukamara walk

Thomas Maney identifies the players the Giants should re-sign, let walk, and target in free agency.

| 10 months ago
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Why Giants should re-sign Robert Ayers, let Prince Amukamara walk


This offseason will be an important one for the Giants after they finished below .500 for the third straight year and installed a new head coach in Ben McAdoo. The team has a hefty amount of cap space to work with, and there are plenty of holes to fill after both the team’s offense and defense collectively graded among the worst units in the NFL.

Here are the players the Giants should re-sign, let walk, and consider signing during free agency.

Re-sign

DE Robert Ayers

Pass rush is always at a premium, and Ayers has been one of the most productive rushers on a per-snap basis over the last several years. He finished 2015 with one of the top-10 pass-rush grades among edge defenders, and has been above average against the run in five of his seven career seasons.

Jason Pierre-Paul is also an option; he’s still just 27 years old, and in 511 snaps managed 41 combined pressures and six batted passes (the most among edge defenders). The hand injury should also lower his price tag, but it’s still a concern given his sizable drop-off in run defense from what we’ve seen in previous seasons.

WR Rueben Randle

Despite a somewhat poor contract year during which he ranked 61st in yards per route run, Randle has graded well in three of his four seasons, particularly in 2014, where he forced 14 missed tackles (10th-most among receivers). Given the relatively weak group of free agent WRs, Randle would be a decent signing if he can return to his 2014 form.

LB Jasper Brinkley

Brinkley is a solid two-down run defender, and was the team’s highest-graded linebacker last season. He doesn’t offer much in coverage, but the rest of the unit is also lacking there, and Brinkley at least provides above average play against the run. Another plus is the fact that he’ll likely come much cheaper than other free agent options at the position.

Let walk

DT Cullen Jenkins

At 35, Jenkins still provides above-average pass-rush ability (34 combined pressures in 2015), but it’s not enough to make up for his play against the run, where his grade ranked 66th of 70 qualifying DTs last season.

FS Brandon Meriweather

Meriweather graded below average in coverage for the third straight year while missing 16 tackles—tied for the fifth-most among safeties. His overall grade ranked 72nd at the position, and the team can likely find better production elsewhere at a similar cost.

CB Prince Amukamara

This free agent decision is dependent on price—when healthy, Amukamara has been above average in coverage, but he’s logged fewer than 800 snaps in four of five seasons.

Target

TE Dwayne Allen

Tight end should be one of the multiple positions they look to address after seeing little production from the incumbents last season. That was particularly true in the run game, where both Will Tye and Larry Donnell graded poorly. While Allen saw a drop-off in that facet of play during 2015 and ended the season on IR, he’s shown capability in all facets, and will be just 26 when the season starts.

DE Olivier Vernon

There will likely be a lot of interest in Vernon given his 2015 season; he finished second to Khalil Mack in both overall grade and defensive stops, while racking up 81 combined pressures. The massive leap in production during a contract year might cause hesitation, but if Vernon can maintain that level of play, he’d be an upgrade over both Ayers and JPP on the edge.

LB Derrick Johnson

The Giants had just one linebacker finish with a positive coverage grade in each of the last two seasons, while Johnson has consistently been one of the highest-graded linebackers there. His run defense isn’t bad, either, and last season his 60 stops ranked fifth at the position. If Johnson’s age (33) is a deterrent, Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan could be potential younger options.

  • Midel Cashflow

    Stopped reading after: Re-sign: Rueben Randle, you have got to be kidding.

    • Ty

      So did I that guys a Fucking BUMMMM!!

    • BITW44

      He has been my least favorite Giants for at least 3 years

    • McGeorge

      I’d take Ruben Randle at the veterans minimum, around 500K/year plus incentives.
      He’d be a great #4 and provide depth.

      And if he played well, he’d earn a bit more.

      • Tim Edell

        Some team will overpay for Randle. They have absolutely 0% chance with how bad this WR FA class to get him that cheap!

  • SEYMOUR SEPLOWE

    SIGN WEDDLE NOW WITH

    ALSHON JEFFREY

    BROWNER

    WEDDLE

    Janoris Jenkins, CB

    Olivier Vernon, DE MIAMI CANNOT PAY HIM

    Russell Okung, OT

    Muhammad Wilkerson, DE

    DRAFT IS A S FOLLOWS

    REGGIE RAGLAND LB

    LEONARD FLOYD

    DERRICK HENRY RB

    JOE HAEG OL

    CYRUS JONES

    VONN BELL

    • Stunt Man Mike

      Browner is just awful……more holding penalties then passes defensed/ints….he’s a penalty waiting to happen

      • shaunhan murray

        Prolly one of the worst starting PLAYERS in the league

    • BITW44

      That is absurd haha.

    • dlund6cutler

      Jeffery isn’t going to hit free agency

    • Tim Edell

      Yeah that should be easy just go sign Wilkerson, Jenkins , Jeffrey and Weddle. Haha how about last year when you overpaid Dwayne Harris, JT Thomas and Casillas. Reece is about at the end of the line.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Just about any defensive acquisition is likely to be an improvement for the G-men.

  • Salvatore L Trentacoste

    do you really think with the track record of Reese they will improve

    • BITW44

      Jerry Reese is going to make his usual “responsible offers” and we will end up with guys like Joique Bell and J.R. Sweezy. The guy is infuriating

  • BITW44

    Question on the Prince decision: Alot of mock drafts have the Giants letting Prince walk and taking a CB with the 10th overall pick. My question to that is “How does that make the team better?”

    We spent a top 15 pick on Amukamara, developed him for 4-5 years, to then let him walk away in his prime and use our best offseason resource on the same position? To me that seems like creating a need and then filling it up with a 1st round pick.

    With a roster that has SO many other holes, i think resigning Prince is the way to go and using the top pick to bolster some other area.

    • shaunhan murray

      Value is very important and signing a guy that has a fairly high chance of giving u negativevalue is generally a bad decision. If he continues to rarely see the feild then thats millios down the drain and ur secondary is is still bad

      • McGeorge

        I don’t think Amukamara is negative value. He does get hurt, missing around 30% of his total games. Thats not “rarely sees the field” bad though.
        A mid-level contract with a nice bonus for playing 85% of the snaps could be worthwhile for the club.

        • shaunhan murray

          Yeah, im not sure though if the giants r a team with that kind of time line but who knows

    • Jon

      The problem with Prince is that he hasn’t been healthy

      • Justin Siderbox

        This. Im willing to sign Prince however to be a solid addition to a morbid Jaguars D. You can have Dwayne Craptz

    • peter

      Prince is decent against the run but cannot cover the intermediate or long pass! There are reasons why he dropped to 15 his draft year and I believe that teams in dire need of db’s let him slide due to his cement feet!

      There are reasons why the Giants have ranked at the very bottom in pass defense for years and Prince is one of them! He Can’t cover deep ! Add in his injury riddled career and the Giants need to upgrade here which they have tried and failed to do in the draft and free agency with Reese in charge!

      Collins would be best suited as a L.B. who can tackle,has enough size and can cover short but NOT a corner or safety! I believe the Giants should NEVER have traded up for Collins at the cost they paid! Again,there are reasons he fell to the second round when d.b’s were so scarce as other teams had to pay egregious salaries to mediocre(poor) players born out by the FACTS!

  • McGeorge

    Amukamara is a decent CB, but he misses a lot of time with injuries, around 30% of all games he’s played.
    I’d take him with an incentive clause based on playing time.

  • John Herling

    If Prince walks, whom do the Giants have, or will get, to replace him?

  • Jueceman

    The Giants problem is that their top talent is always inured leaving inexperienced depth exposed so here’s my list of Talented, Cost Effective and non-injury prone targets for Giants.

    WR – Rishard Matthews/Jermaine Kearse/Corey Coleman First round Rd – Eli & OBJ proved they can take over games. Other reliable options are needed to take he heat off OBJ.

    TE-Ladarious Green – Young and big
    OL – Who knows what JJ will do…smh….Donald Penn/Mitchel Schwartz at tackle or Brooks/Incognito at guard …I like Bobby Hart too

    DE- GREG HARDY!!!(Giants need to put some fear in defenses)/ Quinten Coples(4-3 upside?) / Roberts Ayers(proved he can get to the QB with help)

    DT-Wilkerson or Malik Jackson (Guys are active and may want a role in 4-3 defense)

    LB-Brinkley(Solid Pro)

    S -Iloka & David Burton(young big safeties very effective in spot duty on good teams)

    CB-Trumaine Johnson(go get the talented young man with Size!!!)

    All this can be accomplished with 55-60 mil in cap and should take some pressure off the draft. Maybe trade some picks for Josh Gordon !!!!!!!

    • Nik Hildebrand

      I’d be very surprised if the Jets let Wilkerson go in free agency.