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Will Giants use free agency to fill needs on offensive line?

Once this protracted lockout is over, will Giants GM Jerry Reese use free agency to bolster an aging offensive line?  For starters, Giants starting right guard Chris Snee was surprised the Giants did not select an offensive lineman in the first or second round in April’s NFL Draft.  “I think everyone, especially in our offensive line room, were expecting an offensive lineman taken in the first or second”.  Snee’s thoughts only fuels speculation the Giants will use free agency to upgrade this unit.  Recall, back in 2000, the Giants signed not one but three free agent offensive linemen.  Dusty Ziegler, Glenn Parker, and Lomas Brown were added and they catapulted the Giants to a Super Bowl berth. 

So who is availabe?   On ProFootball Weekly,  two veteran offensive linemen may be available.  First, the Saints may part ways with center Jonathan Goodwin.  And the Chiefs may let go of Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters.  Goodwin, a nine year veteran, could be a possibility for the Giants.  As of now, the Saints have 26 players on their roster who are free agents.  Once the lockout is lifted,  according to reports,  the Saints are not going to get into a bidding war for Goodwin’s services.  As for Waters,  he could be a guy who can come in and improve the Giants offensive line.  According to this New York Times’ Fifth Down blog article,  Waters is considered a top 10 guard in the NFL.  Andy Benoit, author of this article, ranked Waters at number nine.  Furthermore,  New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano has implied: It seems likely they’d sign an offensive lineman in free agency, maybe even two.  Ostensibly,  the Giants will pursue offensive linemen in free agency.  But will they go after top tier guys?  Or will Reese be prudent?  Thus far, Reese’s splash signings over the last several years have not panned out as anticipated.  Canty, Bernard, Boley, and Rolle(Antrel Rolle did not have a good 2010 campaign. Let us hope he rebounds in 2011.) have not lived up to expectations.  Since these high priced free agent signings have backfired, Reese may be reticent to pull the trigger on expensive free agents.  On the other hand, once the owners and players agree upon a new CBA, there is going to be a feeding frenzy free agent signing period.  According to an article written by SI’s Don Banks, some teams may be seduced by the amount of players available.   

“What’s going to happen is you’re going to have some inexperienced GMs and owners go crazy early on,” the longtime general manager said. “They’re going to think, ‘I’ve got to go out and do something crazy. This is my window of opportunity.’ But I think that’s absolutely the wrong move. There are so many free agents and so many guys out there that if you’re just patient, you can wind up with some good players at really good value and not put yourself out there [at risk] with a couple mega-deals. 

 Entering his fifth year as Giants GM, Jerry Reese has a proven track record of finding good players in free agency to fill holes on his team. (Kawika Mitchell, Deon Grant, Shawn Andrews, Renaldo Wynn)  I believe Reese will go the route of obtaining players especially offensive linemen at reasonable prices which will improve this Giants team.