The 12th Dimension
The Giant Insider|April 2020
Top 12 FA acquisitions in Giants history
Jerry Foley

This time of year is tough to for us to get through without losing our minds. Yes, there’s the XFL to help us. Meh. Personally, a young New York Ranger goalie by the name of Igor Shesterkin is helping me get through this NFL down time more than anything or anyone else. Well, Shesterkin’s play and the thought that the NFL free agency season is almost upon us helps as well.

It will be fascinating to see which direction the Giants’ front office decides to go this year. Will they spend like drunken sailors and sign three to four stars or will they make perhaps one big splash and wind up lying patiently in the weeds and watch as the bigger stars sign on with other NFL franchises? Whichever direction they choose, the Giants can greatly improve their roster talent with what will likely be around $80 million after they cut some of their own players.

Regardless, it got me thinking about the free agent signings of years past. I’m going to refrain from naming the disaster signings and I’m not counting college free agents like Victor Cruz or Rich Seubert. This list represents the best 12 free agents signed during the NFL free agency period.

I am not ranking these players in any particular order as each brought something unique and somewhat special to the franchise.

(This list is modern day free agents)

Antrel Rolle — Rolle was brought in on the heels of the C.C. Brown experiment and a year after Kenny Phillips’ career-threatening knee issue was discovered. The Giants were in serious need of a roaming, aggressive and hard hitting safety as well as a leader on the back-end of the defense. In came Rolle who was a locker room leader and excellent defender. During the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl season, Rolle tallied 96 tackles, 2 INTs, and a forced fumble. Oddly enough, his best season with the Giants, 2013, was a losing one. He finished that year with 98 tackles, six INTs, a forced fumble and he was voted to his third and final Pro Bowl.

Antonio Pierce — The last of the solid Giant linebackers. Pierce was not great, but he was very good in his short tenure with Mara Tech. He came to the organization in 2005 and manned the middle with leadership and pride.

He was not the best linebacker in coverage but he was a very good tackler. His play in the 2007 NFC Championship game where he shed three blockers to stop Packers running back Brandon Jackson on 3rd and 8 will forever live in Giant lore. The Packers were ahead 7-6 at the time and if Pierce doesn’t make the stop, Jackson would have easily gone for a touchdown on the screen pass. He also gave us the famous quote, “18-1, write THAT down!”

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