Could We See Familiar Faces Back With the New York Giants?


Will ex-New York Giants players return to the team for the 2015 season?

With roster cuts going on over the past several weeks in preparation for NFL free agency, many ex-Giants have hit the market. The free agent signing period officially begins on March 10, so teams have until then to gauge interest in potential targets. Last week, defensive tackle Barry Cofield was cut by the Washington Redskins, Chris Canty was let go by the Baltimore Ravens. Osi Umenyiora is also on the free agent market, and it will be interesting to see if the Giants actively pursue signing any of these familiar faces.

The Giants have plenty of needs to address during this offseason, and must improve many areas of the team. The defensive line is a big hole they need to fill, and signing one or more of these players would be a good start. Jason Pierre-Paul is almost guaranteed to return next year (either by a new contract or franchise tag), but this still leaves defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the challenge of improving the rest of the line.

Bringing back fan-favorite Umenyiora would be a good way to start the offseason. Osi has familiarity with Steve Spagnuolo, having played under him during the 2007 Superbowl season. I predict Osi would be willing to leave some money on the table in order to return to the Giants, and eventually retire with them. Based on last season’s performance, he is no longer the dominant force he once was, so he would not demand a ridiculous contract. If the price makes sense, the Giants should pounce on the opportunity of signing Osi and bring him back to the locker room. His leadership and knack for forcing fumbles would be very helpful in mentoring the younger players on the team.

Aside from defensive end, the Giants could also use an upgrade at defensive tackle. Johnathan Hankins has solidified a spot on the D-Line from his play last year, but the rest of the depth chart could use an upgrade. Bringing back Barry Cofield and/or Chris Canty would be nice additions to the line. Cofield played well enough to earn a monster contract with the Redskins, but was let go due to monetary reasons, not poor performance. Canty was similarly a cap casualty with the Ravens, and has recently said that he is “looking forward to the next opportunity to continue [his] playing career.” Cofield and Canty are still solid players and would bring a talent upgrade to the team if they return. In addition, they also possess leadership experience as well as championship experience, which could have a positive effect. They too may be willing to accept reasonable contracts, so Jerry Reese should be calling their agents to inquire about a possible reunion (if he has not already done so).

September 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders guard Mike Brisiel (65) blocks Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (96) during the first quarter at Coliseum. The Redskins defeated the Raiders 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

All in all, the Giants have many holes to fill on the team for next season in order to be competitive. Bringing back these familiar faces would enhance competition and add more experience to the organization. If coupled with a good draft class, the defense could be significantly better than it was in the recent past. If Spagnuolo is able to return to his 2007-self, fans could be seeing another possible Superbowl run. Adding former players who liked playing for the Giants could also serve as a chip on the shoulder for them. They may be past their prime, but would still play with Giant pride and may be thinking of retiring from the NFL as a member of the Giants when the time comes.

Next: Giants should target G Mike Iupati this Offseason?

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