Why Jerry Reese never went after big-name free agents

The Philadelphia Eagles have been on quite a shopping spree during this lockout-shortened offseason while the New York Giants haven’t done much of anything except lose players.

But is this really all that bad? The Eagles are being hyped up with Miami Heat-esque expectations after acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, among others. I didn’t realize the Eagles’ really needed these guys until the other day when I played with them in Madden and got torched defensively. Seriously though, coming off a division title last season the expectations should be high for the Eagles.

The Giants, on the other hand, are coming off a decent 10-6 season, narrowly missing the playoffs. While their division rival has bought everyone on the free-agent market, the Giants haven’t made many moves to improve. While the New York media are quick to point out what the Giants haven’t done, I think its important to realize what kind of organization the Giants are. General manager Jerry Reese isn’t known for his big-name free agent acquisitions. Besides Antrel Rolle, Reese hasn’t exactly made a splash in free-agency and he is rather known for his ability to build a team from the roots via the NFL draft. In his first season as GM for Big Blue in 2007, every single player he drafted played in the postseason for the Giants and many of them played an important role in the improbable 17-14 victory in the Super Bowl that handed the New England Patriots their first loss of the season.

Reese has dug deep to create the necessary depth on his team to prepare for players that decide to leave via free agency. When Tiki Barber retired, Reese drafted Ahmad Bradshaw and the Bradshaw-Jacobs tandem wore down defenses just like Barber and Ron Dayne’s “thunder and lightning” combination did in the 2000 Super Bowl run. Reese also turned heads when he drafted Kevin Boss, who would eventually replace Jeremy Shockey at tight end when most people doubted that Shockey could be replaced anytime soon.

At this point, Giants fans should be trusting Reese’s ability to fill holes when they least expect it. Time after time, Reese has proved to fans that older, expensive players can be replaced by younger and cheaper talent. This system’s success has been reflected in the team’s record. After all, the Giants haven’t had a losing season since 2004.

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