The New York Giants made a big splash in free agency by signing Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison to contracts. The Giants have not made the playoffs in the last four seasons, and general manager Jerry Reese is hoping these moves can snap that streak.
The Giants had major needs on the defensive line and in the secondary coming into the offseason, and Reese took care of that with these moves. The team also added back Jason Pierre-Paul on a one-year deal, making the defensive line a potential strength area for next season. Robert Ayers and Prince Amukamara are now gone, and the Giants hope the new players can replace and upgrade production at those positions.
The team gave out over $100 million in guaranteed money on the contracts for Vernon, Harrison and Jenkins, but the Giants felt that it was worth it to upgrade on defense. Some may think that the Giants "overspent" on players, but the team came into the offseason with a ton of cap space and had to make moves to use it. The defense has been the biggest weak spot for the team over the past few years, which is why Reese made a focus to go after players on that side of the ball.
Vernon signed the biggest deal of the bunch at five years and $85 million, but he potentially could be a superstar for the team. Vernon is just 25 and that gives him the chance to continue developing as a player. There's no doubt that Vernon is overpaid (I mean he is making more than JJ Watt per year), but the potential for production is there and the Giants desperately needed some help on the defensive line.
Harrison also got a five-year deal with $24 million guaranteed, and he is expected to help improve the run defense for the Giants. Harrison has been rated as one of the best defensive tackles in football over the past three seasons, and that is why the Giants felt comfortable giving him a large amount of money. Harrison will team with Johnathan Hankins to give the Giants a strong run defense for next season.
Jenkins got a major contract from the Giants at five years, $62 million, but he can give the team some playmaking ability at the cornerback spot. Jenkins will make over $12 million per season, and while that is a ton of money, the Giants cornerback situation has been a black hole over the past few years and they needed an upgrade. Jenkins will pair with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to give the team a strong one-two punch at the cornerback position.
So yes, the Giants did spend way too much money and overpaid some players in free agency. But those moves could help snap a four-year playoff drought, and if that happens, fans and the front office will not mind those big checks being cashed.