The New York Football Giants said good-bye this off season to several players who helped them win two NFL championships, including Osi Umenyiora, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kenny Phillips, Lawrence Tynes and Chase Blackburn.
In the “new” NFL, rosters are fluid, and players are drafted to compete immediately. Even championship squads can see twenty-five percent of their roster turned over, as salary cap concerns affect “who stays” and “who goes” on cut day.
While Big Blue will only have one rookie starter on the field against the Dallas Cowboys on September 8th, the team has also added several free agents, who will be in the starting line-up as well.
This list contains all the “new” New York Giants starters.
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Giant fans are familiar with Cullen Jenkins, who played defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two seasons. Prior to that the undrafted free agent from Central Michigan made his mark with the Green Bay Packers. New York is hoping that Jenkins will clog up the middle and stifle opponents rushing attack. He will wear number 99 for Big Blue.
Also signed off the roster of an NFC east rival, the Dallas Cowboys, Dan Connor will start at middle linebacker for the G-men. The former Penn State star beat out Mark Herzlich to gain the nod in the middle for New York. Connor returns to a 4-3 defensive alignment this year after struggling with Dallas’ 3-4 last year.
The only 2013 draft pick to make the list, Justin Pugh was a surprise selection for the New York Giants. While many analysts had New York grabbing an offensive lineman, due to age and injury at the position, few had Pugh with a first-round grade. But the rookie from Syracuse has held his own during training camp and the preseason, with his athleticism and football IQ.
Saying good-bye to playoff hero, Lawrence Tynes, was not easy, but clearly the Giants wanted, and needed a stronger leg to compete in the NFC. Josh Brown is known for his strong leg, and he once kicked two 50-yard field goals in the same game while with the Seattle Seahawks.
Giant fans were excited when the team picked up Brandon Myers during free agency. The tight end position in New York has been a revolving door for the past several years because Big Blue has focused on blocking ends, rather than receivers. Myers caught 79 passes for the offensively challenged Oakland Raiders, but he did not show much in the early part of preseason with New York. Myers did catch three passes in the preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
Ryan Mundy is last on the list because he was signed by the Giants to be an insurance policy against injury. Unfortunately, the G-men had to collect on the policy earlier than even they anticipated, when Stevie Brown went down in the New York Jets preseason game with a season-ending knee injury. Mundy played four years in a backup role with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but New York likes what it sees so far from the defensive back from West Virginia University.