Since free agency opened March 11, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and prepping for next season. Here at CSNWashington.com, we’ve been keeping a watching eye on the moves made by teams who appear on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule.
Some teams have gotten better. Others? Not so much. Let’s take a closer look:
Up today …
2013 record: 7-9
Arriving: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Broncos), CB Walter Thurmond (Seahawks), OL Geoff Schwartz (Chiefs), G John Jerry (Dolphins), DE Robert Ayers (Broncos), KR/PR Trindon Holliday (Broncos), CB Zack Bowman (Bears), OT Charles Brown (Saints), TE Kellen Davis (Seahawks), S/KR Quintin Demps (Chiefs), RB Rashad Jennings (Raiders), WR Mario Manningham (49ers), LB Jameel McClain (Ravens), C J.D.Walton (Redskins).
Departing: DL Joseph Linval (Vikings), WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts), DE Justin Tuck (Raiders), TE Brandon Myers (Buccaneers), G Kevin Boothe (Raiders), RB Andre Brown (Texans), S Ryan Mundy (Bears), WR Louis Murphy (Buccaneers), LB Keith Rivers (Bills), TE Bear Pascoe (unsigned), CB Terrell Thomas (unsigned), G David Diehl (retired), DT Shaun Rogers (unsigned), CB Aaron Ross (unsigned).
Cap space remaining: $4,060,088, according to the NFLPA.
Best move thus far: Signing 27-year-old Geoff Schwartz to shore up a unit that needed an upgrade. The 6 foot 6, 340-pounder can line up at both guard positions and tackle.
The bottom line: Although none of Jerry Reese’s signings have been particularly splashy, the Giants’ GM appears to have delivered what his club so badly needed: upgrades along the offensive line, in the secondary and more depth all over.
In all, the Giants have signed 14 new free agents while retaining eight of their own.
The most notable improvement seems to have come on the O-line. Geoff Schwartz ranked among the top linemen available after a strong season in Kansas City, while John Jerry and Charles Brown were starters for their teams in 2013 and, at the very least, give Tom Coughlin insurance if, for example, Will Beatty struggles to return to form after suffering a broken leg in late December. Signing J.D. Walton to be the starting center is a bit risky considering he hasn’t played since 2012 because of a nasty ankle injury.
On the other side of the ball, it’s possible the Giants’ secondary represents the team’s best unit after the additions of Walter Thurmond and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, two of the game’s best corners. Indeed, Prince Amukamara, DRC and Thurmond (likely as the nickel) has the look of an awfully nice trio. And it's possible they'll need to be with DeSean Jackson joining up with Pierre Garçon in Washington.
One of the more underrated moves could be the signing of running back Rashad Jennings. Although he's 29, he's got low mileage and should bolster a running game that averaged a third-worst 3.5 yards per game last season.
Given the salary cap constraints and number of holes they needed filled, the Giants appear to have done well for themselves. Of course, none of it will make a bit of difference if Eli Manning doesn’t return to form after he finished a forgettable 2013 with 18 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.