New York Giants
Last season’s record: 9-7
Key players released: LB Michael Boley, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, DT Chris Canty, DT Martin Parker
Key free agents lost: TE Martellus Bennett, S Kenny Phillips, DE Osi Umenyiora, LB Chase Blackburn, WR Domenik Hixon
Key free agents re-signed: DT Shaun Rogers, T Will Beatty, LB Keith Rivers, QB David Carr, G Kevin Boothe, WR Ramses Barden, RB Ryan Torain
Key free agents added: K David Buehler, DT Cullen Jenkins, CB Aaron Ross, K Josh Brown, S Ryan Mundy, LB Dan Connor, WR Louis Murphy, TE Brandon Myers, DT Mike Patterson
Rd. 1 (No. 19 overall)… Justin Pugh, T, Syracuse
2 (49)… Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
3 (81)… Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
4 (110)… Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
5 (152)… Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond
7 (225)… Eric Herman, G, Ohio
7 (253)… Michael Cox, RB, Massachusetts
Analysis: The Giants allowed their pass-rushing triumvirate of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora to be broken up when Umenyiora exited as a free agent, signing a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
Umenyiora won a pair of Super Bowls with the Giants and once was among the sport’s most feared pass rushers. But he had only six sacks last season and has reached double figures in sacks only once in the past four years, and he turns 32 in November.
The Giants said their goodbyes to another mainstay when they released running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who ended up signing with the Indianapolis Colts. That should leave David Wilson and Andre Brown sharing the tailback duties. The Giants always have seemed more comfortable splitting carries between two or more runners, so it might not matter which one emerges as the starter.
Much was said all offseason about the restricted free agent status of wide receiver Victor Cruz. But Cruz stayed put and signed his one-year tender, and the two sides have continued to work on a long-term deal.
The Giants made some much-needed additions to their offensive and defensive lines in the NFL draft by using their first-round pick on Syracuse offensive tackle and guard Justin Pugh, their second-round selection on Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and their third-round choice on Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore. Pugh appears to have a chance to earn immediate playing time at right tackle.
The Washington Redskins overtook the Giants last season in the NFC East, and the Giants will have a bit of a new look without Umenyiora and Bradshaw. But the Giants always seem to be at their best when less is expected of them by outside observers, and the foundation of a potentially very good team remains in place around quarterback Eli Manning and top wide receivers Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The Giants remain a top threat to win the division and they’re always a dangerous postseason team if they get that far.
Why Redskins fans should care: The NFC East foes play Dec. 1 at FedEx Field and Dec. 29 at the Meadowlands.
Conversation starter: Will Eli Manning win another Super Bowl?
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
The Mailbag: Areas of improvement for RGIII, and more …
The Early Lead: Peterson says he thinks Griffin will be back Week 1
Morning Pixels: Bernard Hopkins tells RGIII to run from McNabb
D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins-Cowboys joint fandom makes no sense
D.C. Sports Bog: Garcon gives uniforms to high schools in Md., Va. and D.C.
Norman Chad: The NFL stretches 17 weeks into 52
The Early Lead: JaMarcus Russell is slim, trim and looking for an NFL job
D.C. Sports Bog: RGIII ranked 15th on list of NFL’s top 100; analysts object