New York Giants: How Can They Replace Antrel Rolle?


With Antrel Rolle moving onto the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants are left with a gaping void at the safety position. How might they go about replacing a player such as Rolle, that was a leader on and off the field and a strong performer on it? It will not be easy, but the Giants will have to try and do something.

Currently, there is very little on the roster to replace him with. In addition to Rolle, Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps were free agents as well. That left 2013 fifth round pick Cooper Taylor and 2014 fifth round pick Nat Behre as the only safeties on the roster. Combined,Taylor and Behre have zero NFL starts and 18 combined tackles. No matter how much potential or good the Giants think they are now, there is no way the Giants go into the season with them being the only safeties on the roster.

Who are some people that the Giants could bring in to add some veterans into the group that have more playing experience than what they currently have? This was the wrong year to find that in free agency, as it was an extremely thin class. After Devin McCourty there was not much available in the way of safeties. The Giants made a push for McCourty, but he eventually re-signed with the Patriots who upped their offer to be competitive with what McCourty was receiving from the Giants and other potential suitors.

The next option the Giants were looking at in free agency was Rahim Moore of the Denver Broncos. The Giants had not yet got a chance to meet with him, and don’t look like they will get the chance, as Moore has supposedly agreed to a contract with the Houston Texans.

With Moore now off the market, the Giants can try to turn their attention to Ron Parker, a safety from the Kansas City Chiefs. Once again though, they may not get the chance as Parker is meeting with the Bears today, and could land a contract there. If Parker is to get out of Chicago without a deal, the Giants need to pounce. Parker offers versatility at the safety position, appearing in all 32 games the last two regular seasons for the Chiefs, starting 16 of them. In 2014 Parker made 15 of those 16 starts, putting up career-high 94 tackles.

He would bring some much needed playing experience to a Giants safety group that has basically none. Parker would probably need a contract bigger than the one that Moore received, with $4 million dollars per season being the number tossed around. That is a number the Giants can easily handle, and should be willing to as he represents one of the lone safeties on the market that would be useful for the Giants. The Giants also have a secret weapon in the form of wide receiver Corey Washington, who works out with Parker in the offseason and is recruiting him to join Big Blue.

Another player to keep an eye on is Darian Stewart. Stewart has a connection to the Giants, as he played under Steve Spagnuolo last season with the Baltimore Ravens. It currently looks like a long shot that the Giants will get Stewart though. They have expressed interest in him, but he already is visiting the Broncos, and has a visit scheduled with the Atlanta Falcons after that.

Is there a chance the Giants could convince Stewart to visit them prior to the Falcons? There is a good chance Stewart will not leave the Falcons visit without a contract if he doesn’t agree to one with the Broncos as the Falcons need as much help as anyone on the defensive side of the ball.

None of the players mentioned above have extensive history as a starting safety, which makes this last player an intriguing option. Dashon Goldson is expected to be released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and could be someone that peaks the Giants interest as he would undoubtedly bring the most experience, something the Giants are sorely lacking with Rolle moving on.

Goldson, and eight-year veteran, has appeared in 91 out of a possible 96 regular season games the past six seasons, starting every game he has appeared in. He graded out as the second worst safety according to Pro Football Focus in 2014, but some of that could have been affected by where he was playing, as the Buccaneers have been one of the worst teams in the NFL his two seasons with the team. Could a change of scenery return Goldson to the playmaking ways he showed he was capable of with the San Francisco 49ers in addition to some highlight reel hits?

If the Giants miss out, or choose not to pursue any of these players, the could bring back Stevie Brown. Brown is familiar with the team, and wouldn’t cost too much to sign. Brown started 2014 slowly making his return from ACL surgery, and was benched midseason. He was reinserted into the lineup later in the season, but didn’t come near having the impact that he did in 2012 when he had eight interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 76 tackles. What is arguably most important though, is that Brown made it through the season without any injuries or setbacks. Now with a full season played under his belt since his injury, could he return to form in 2015?

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The Giants may end up being the team that sees if Brown still has it, as the market for safeties this season was underwhelming. Safety looks like it could be a patchwork job for the Giants this season, as no options jump out as must sign players. The NFL Draft also doesn’t have much value for where the Giants are selecting, so it could be tough sailings for the Giants at the position in 2015.

Maybe one of the younger players on the roster can turn in a season like Brown did in 2012; that might be the best chance the Giants have at the safety position not being a dumpster fire for the upcoming season. But no matter who the Giants sign, they will not be able to replace the leadership and intangibles that Rolle brought on and off the field the past five seasons.

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

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