NFL Free Agency: New York Giants Re-Sign Two Players


NFL Free Agency: New York Giants Retain Two Important Role Players

After being shutout during the legal tampering period, the New York Giants got busy Tuesday, signing five free agents from other teams and re-signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya. On Wednesday, the Giants continued some more housekeeping of their own free agents, retaining both fullback Henry Hynoski and linebacker Mark Herzlich.

Hynoski, who has been a fan favorite because of his touchdown celebration, played in all 16 games for the Giants last season, starting four of them. Hynoski only had seven rushes for 13 yards in 2014, as he is more known for his blocking. It was a mild surprise that he wasn’t more a part of the offense, as a lot of people envisioned him having a role similar to what John Kuhn has with the Green Bay Packers under Ben McAdoo. Hynoski’s role with the Giants in 2015 should be the same; the primary blocker with little else as a role in the offense.

Herzlich had a breakout year of sorts for the Giants in 2014, and was rewarded with a two-year contract for his efforts. Herzlich is best known for his work on special teams, but last season was forced into the defensive lineup more than the Giants were expecting because of injuries. He responded well, recording a career-high 52 tackles and his first career sack in 15 games, eight of which he started.

Herzlich showed that he is a capable performer on the weakside, playing well against the run. Combined with newly signed linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas, the Giants have some diversity in their linebacker group to fill in at weakside linebacker. Combined with the pass rushing skills of Devon Kennard, and the veteran leadership of Jon Beason and Jameel McClain, the Giants have a deep, versatile linebacking group that will enable Steve Spagnuolo to mix and match depending on matchups.

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Because he has proven to excel as a run stopper, Herzlich could start against ground-and-pound teams as a two-down run stopper. Spagnuolo could then bring in and use Thomas, a stronger pass defender, on third down and obvious passing downs, or against teams that predominantly play through the air.

Herzlich has made strides as a defender, but where he will earn his keep with his Giants will be on special teams. That is what has kept him on the roster all this time and will more than likely keep his career going. There will be plenty of competition at linebacker this season, which will only make everyone better as they will have to play well to earn playing time. Overcoming the odds is something Herzlich has been doing since beating cancer in 2008-2009 at Boston College, so he will not be afraid of the adversity that will face him this season for playing time.

Next: Are New York Giants Closer To A Title Than New York Jets?

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