Giants free agency notebook: Rashad Jennings, Geoff Schwartz signed
The Giants ventured into the free-agent frenzy with thoughts of adding key players all over their roster. And while they didn’t make a huge splash, they added as many as three new starters — which is a coup for a team that had many needs and money to spend — not to mention some key re-signings and contract restructuring.
Here’s the list of new signees — with more certain to come in the following days:
Linebacker O’Brien Schofield — The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder played for the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks last season. Previously, he was a three-year starter for the Cardinals. At the very least, he’ll be in the Giants’ linebacker rotation and with a reported two-year, $8 million deal. He’ll get every chance to earn that salary and be a regular starter for Big Blue.
Running back Rashad Jennings — The former Raider saw the writing on the wall as early as midday Tuesday when Oakland re-signed Darren McFadden to a one-year deal to remain as the starter. Oakland’s loss is New York’s gain, as Jennings is a capable starter who had great success when he filled in for the oft-injured McFadden for several weeks last season, garnering 733 yards on 4.5 yards per carry and six rushing touchdowns on just 163 carries. Jennings steps right into an unstable running back situation for the Giants and should compete immediately for a starting spot — especially as last season’s starter, David Wilson, is still recovering from offseason neck surgery.
Offensive guard Geoff Schwartz — The former Chief is an immediate upgrade over the sieve that was supposed to keep Eli Manning upright last season. The predecessors failed, which is why Schwartz was brought in. Schwartz should be able to slide right into the left guard spot and solidify an offensive line ravaged by injuries and inconsistent play last season.
Among the re-signings and in-house moves, the re-signing of former Pro Bowl safety Stevie Brown was perhaps the most important move. Brown, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, caught lightning in a bottle during his Pro Bowl season in 2012 when he snared a team-high eight interceptions.
New York also brought back running back Peyton Hillis and cornerback Trumaine McBride on two-year deals. Hillis had moderate success (247 rushing yards and two scores on 73 carries), while McBride was a rare bright spot for a Giants secondary that suffered some outside the play of Prince Amukamara. McBride filled in for Corey Webster for most of the season and was thought of as a key re-signing by the Giants, as he tallied 40 tackles and two interceptions.
Big Blue notes …
» Punter Steve Weatherford agreed to a restructured deal that reduced his 2014-15 salary from $2.025 million to $900,000. The remaining $1.125 million will be converted to bonuses. Weatherford’s re-worked deal cleared about an extra $750,000 in salary-cap space.
» Guard Chris Snee agreed to restructure his deal, reducing his $6.75 million salary to $2 million.
» Center David Baas wasn’t as lucky, as he was released outright.
» Former Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph signed with the Vikings, tight end Brandon Myers signed with the Bucs and safety Ryan Mundy agreed to terms with the Bears.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.