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I think this may be the authors wish list not the "Giants, and we are just T minus 17 hours away from Free Agency

 

 

Giants hope to get help at linebacker, running back

 

Thursday, March 1, 2007

 

 

 

 

By VINNY DiTRANI

STAFF WRITER

 

 

"Rebuilding"

is not the term the Giants would like to use for 2007, especially with

a head coach who needs to produce to see 2008. "Restructuring" is their

idea of a more appropriate description of the off-season, which

officially begins Friday at 12:01 a.m. when free agents are permitted

to sign with other teams.

 

General manager Jerry Reese says the team has a plan

entering free agency, a plan that along with the draft addresses team

needs.

 

 

"There are always good players in free agency, just like there are

always good players in the draft," said Reese, who will retain his

duties as director of personnel through the late-April draft. "You just

have to pick the right ones for your organization who fit you the

best.''

 

 

Part of fitting in means filling a need, and one obvious Giants need

is at linebacker. Antonio Pierce is the only experienced starter, with

backups Gerris Wilkinson and Chase Blackburn under contract and Reggie

Torbor a restricted free agent.

 

 

However, one member of the organization said the Giants like the

linebackers in this year's college crop, and have designated a number

of them as first-day selections. That could mean a lower priority on

signing free agent linebackers, although the addition of at least one

is inevitable.

 

 

The emphasis could switch, however, to other areas, such as running

back, where a companion for Brandon Jacobs is being sought; or the

offensive line, where talks regarding the retaining of free agent

center Shaun O'Hara apparently have stalemated after appearing close to

fruition just one week ago.

 

 

Reese mentioned the idea of trading for a running back at the NFL

combine, noting the Bills' Willis McGahee as a possibility. Since then,

Buffalo has admitted it is trying to unload McGahee, who is entering

the final year of his contract and who recently suggested the whole

franchise pack up and head north to Toronto.

 

 

The Bills are peddling him even though they have no obvious

replacement at running back. Since Buffalo is not dealing from

strength, McGahee may be had at a bargain price, such as a second-day

draft selection. That would keep the Giants in the bidding, since Reese

said he does not want to trade away any first-day picks.

 

 

If O'Hara flees via free agency, the Giants will need to add another

experienced offensive lineman capable of starting right away. With

O'Hara on board, Rich Seubert could play left guard, allowing David

Diehl to move to the departed Luke Petitgout's left tackle spot.

Without O'Hara, Seubert may be needed to play center, leaving the guard

spot open.

 

 

Veteran center/guard Grey Ruegamer probably will be re-signed and

the Giants did keep several young interior offensive linemen such as

Matt Lentz and Todd Londot last season. But none of them may be the

long-term answer. There's always the chance Petitgout may be brought

back at a lower price if he can't find a better offer elsewhere.

 

 

The Giants also will be looking to strengthen their cornerback

situation with perhaps a big run at Buffalo's Nate Clements. "There may

be a possibility we can go for a couple of 'big' free agents," Reese

said. "There's some mid-level guys we'll look at and there may be some

guys at the bottom level we'll look at as well."

 

 

O'Hara and restricted free agent safety Gibril Wilson are the

players the Giants need most to retain from their own free agents.

Talks with placekicker Jay Feely have been on hold while Visanthe

Shiancoe may attract offers higher than the Giants want to pay their

backup tight end.

 

 

E-mail: ditrani@northjersey.com

 

 

* * *

Giants' wish list

 

 

Five free agents who could help:

 

 

CB Nate Clements, Buffalo

 

 

As one of the top players available, he will demand the big bucks, but he certainly will solidify whatever secondary he joins.

 

 

LB Cato June, Indianapolis

 

 

There is a huge need for linebackers and he's probably the best

available -- although the Giants passed up another Colts FA, David

Thornton, last off-season.

 

 

CB Roderick Hood, Philadelphia

 

 

If Clements prices himself out of the Giants' range, new defensive

coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows about the Eagles' backup corner.

 

 

OL Sean Mahan, Tampa Bay

 

 

If Shaun O'Hara walks, the Giants could use an interior offensive lineman. Mahan has played both guard spots and center.

 

 

DT Aubrayo Franklin, Baltimore

 

 

The Ravens' backup nose might be the run-stopper the Giants still need in the middle of their line.

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