Giants Free Agency 2012: Chase Blackburn Returns On One-Year Contract

-- Follow this StoryStream for New York Giants updates regarding NFL free agency news and rumors

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43 Total Updates since March 29, 2012
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Giants Free Agency 2012: New York Signs Shaun Rogers Before 2012 NFL Draft

The 2012 NFL Draft is just hours away from its start, and the New York Giants are making moves. Well, the Giants are not making any trades for draft picks, but they did sign defensive lineman Shaun Rogers on Thursday. The move adds depth to the New York's defensive line which is needed.

Rogers, 33, is a three-time Pro Bowler who spent last season with the New Orleans Saints, but played just five game over the last two seasons. Rogers most productive years come when he was with the Detroit Lions ('01-07), where he made two Pro Bowl teams.

Rogers' best days maybe behind him, however, his experience and extra body is a nice addition. Rogers probably will not be asked to be a play-maker, which might be a good role for him.

This move may affect the Giants pick in the NFL Draft, No. 32 overall, but many NFL Mock drafts have them taking a tight end.

For more on Giants free agency, check out this SB Nation New York StoryStream. Meanwhile, everything on the Giants NFL Draft can be found here.

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New York Giants 2012 Offseason: Chase Blackburn Reportedly Agrees To One-Year Deal

The New York Giants have reportedly locked up the services of linebacker Chase Blackburn for another season (via NJ.com). While full details about his contract aren't known, Blackburn could be signing for the veteran's minimum salary for the 2012 season.

Blackburn was picked up by New York at the midpoint of the 2011 season and didn't disappoint for the eventual Super Bowl champions. Blackburn played in five games (four starts) during the regular season for the Giants. He made 26 tackles (20 solo) and intercepted one pass.

In the playoffs, Blackburn was also a key contributor. He started all four games and made 26 tackles (17 solo) and had a crucial interception in the Super Bowl. With New England clinging to a 17-15 lead in the fourth quarter, Blackburn intercepted a deep Tom Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski at the Giants' 8-yard line.

For more coverage of the Giants, see Big Blue View

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New York Giants 2012 Free Agency: Giants Reportedly Sign Antwaun Molden

The New York Giants have reportedly come to terms with free agent cornerback Antwaun Molden, who spent the 2011 season as a member of the team that the Giants defeated in Super Bowl XLVI, the New England Patriots.

Financial details remain uncertain at this point, but Molden should provide depth and experience to a Giants secondary that is dealing with the loss of cornerback Aaron Ross to the Jacksonville Jaguars via free agency.

Originally a third-round pick out of Eastern Kentucky in 2008, Molden spent each of his first three seasons with the Houston Texans before being claimed off waivers by the Patriots in late August of 2011.

He started two games last season and played in each of the Patriots 19 games (including the playoffs), totaling 44 tackles and two interceptions.

Molden had five tackles for the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

For more on Giants free agency, be sure to check out our blog Big Blue View and SB Nation New York for all the latest news and updates.

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Devin Thomas Signing: Thomas Joins Chicago Bears

The free-agent defections from the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants continued late Wednesday night when Devin Thomas, hero of the NFC Championship Game victory over the San Francisco 49ers, signed with the Chicago Bears.

Thomas recovered two fumbled punts in the championship game, including one in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal.

A wide receiver, Thomas did not seem likely to get much of an opportunity to play significant snaps on offense with the Giants even following the departure of Mario Manningham. New York has Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, as well as Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and Ramses Barden. There might be more of an opportunity for Thomas on offense in Chicago.

"I feel like there's a good opportunity for me to come in and battle for a position and contribute on special teams," Thomas said in a statement released by the Bears. "I love the tradition that Chicago has and I felt like it would be a good fit for me."

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Brandon Jacobs Signs With The 49ers

Brandon Jacobs has officially left the New York Giants to join the San Francisco 49ers.

According to Adam Schefter via Twitter, the power back has taken his ability across the country and into the Bay Area.

Details haven't been made available yet for the contract.


Related: Complete Giants' Free Agency News

This leaves the Giants unprotected now if Ahmad Bradshaw gets hurt. Bradshaw has had more than 175 carries just once in his career, and has suffered several foot and ankle injuries.

Jacobs also brought a toughness down near the goal line that will be sorely missed. His attitude sometimes outweighed his production, but Jacobs was definitely an asset at times.

With the name running backs mostly signed at this point, New York may be looking at the draft to replenish the position. The Giants also have D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott as potential replacements for Jacobs.

-- For more on the Giants, be sure to check out Big Blue View.

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New York Giants 2012 Free Agency: Dave Tollefson, Jonathan Goff Rumors

A pair of New York Giants unrestricted free agents could be on the verge of finding new homes. Defensive end Dave Tollefson and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff visited with prospective new employers Wednesday, according to a published report.

Tollefson reportedly visited with the Seattle Seahawks. The five-year veteran was not expected to return to the Giants, rather has been expected to look for a place where there was more playing time available. Tollefson, of course, was stuck behind Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora with the Giants.

The Goff situation is a little trickier for New York. Goff was the team's starting middle linebacker in 2010, but missed all of 2011 with a torn ACL. He is an excellent run defender and there has been some thought that the Giants would like to bring him back in 2012. Without him the Giants would be leaning on Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones in 2012.

Goff, though, has a suitor in the Cleveland Browns.

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New York Giants 2012 Free Agency Scorecard: Who Is In, Out And In-Between

Here is a summary of where the New York Giants stand as NFL free agency rolls along.

Welcome To New York
TE Martellus Bennett
S Chris Horton
T Joel Reinders
TE Larry Donnell

Exclusive rights free agents:
TE Jake Ballard — Re-signed.
TE Bear Pascoe — Will return.

Restricted free agents:
CB Bruce Johnson — Re-signed.

Unrestricted free agents:
CB Will Blackmon
CB Michael Coe — Re-signed.
CB Aaron Ross — Signed with Jacksonville
CB Terrell Thomas — Re-signed.
CB Justin Tryon — Re-signed.
DE Dave Tollefson
DT Rocky Bernard
DT Jimmy Kennedy
LB Chase Blackburn
LB Jonathan Goff
OT Stacy Andrews
OT Kareem McKenzie
OT Tony Ugoh
P Steve Weatherford — Re-signed
S Deon Grant
S Derrick Martin
QB David Carr — Re-signed.
WR Michael Clayton
WR Domenik Hixon — Re-signed.
WR Mario Manningham — Signed with San Francisco 49ers.
WR Devin Thomas

Best guess is that the Giants won’t make any more big signings, with Bennett having been the only real ‘name’ signing thus far. They may bring back a handful of the remaining unsigned unrestrict free agents, but most of those players will likely be moving on.

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Aaron Ross Signing: Cornerback Moves On To Jacksonville Jaguars

Once the New York Giants re-signed Terrell Thomas, it was expected that fellow cornerback Aaron Ross, an unrestricted free agent would find a new team. That happened late Monday when Ross signed a three-year, $15.3-million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ross, the Giants No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, had an injury-filled five seasons with the Giants. He was, however, a starting cornerback on two Super Bowl-winning teams. Ross took over in 2011 when Thomas tore his ACL in preseason and had his best season. He set career highs in tackles (60), interceptions (4) and passes defensed (12).

With Ross in Jacksonville, the Giants are obviously expecting that Thomas will return to form following his second ACL surgery. That also means they are planning an increased role for Prince Amakumara, the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft who missed much of last season with a broken foot. Amukamara was recently spotted on crutches after receiving an injection to aid the healing in the injured foot.

The Giants also re-signed veteran cornerbacks Justin Tryon and Michael Coe, each of whom spent part of last season on injured reserve.

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Mario Manningham Signs With San Francisco 49ers

Once again, a Super Bowl hero is departing the New York Giants.

Like fellow wide receiver David Tyree in 2008, Mario Manningham won't be back in New York next season after signing a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, ProFootballTalk.com reported Saturday night. Manningham joins Randy Moss as the 49ers' top free agent acquisitions thus far, bolstering a receiver corps that already includes Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis.

PFT also reported Manningham had been in contract negotiations with the St. Louis Rams before signing with San Francisco.

In his four seasons with the Giants, Manningham caught 160 passes for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns. His finest year was 2010, when he appeared in all 16 games, started eight and caught 60 passes for 944 yards and nine touchdowns.

But between a knee injury (Manningham was limited to 10 starts in 12 games this season) and the emergence of Victor Cruz as the Giants' leading receiver, Manningham slid into a diminished role. That changed, of course, in Super Bowl XLVI, when Manningham hauled in a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch for a 38-yard gain on the Giants' final drive of the game.

See Big Blue View for more discussion and analysis of the New York Giants, or return to this StoryStream for updates on New York Giants Free Agency 2012 rumors.

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Martellus Bennett Free-Agent Signing: Conference Call Transcript

Martellus Bennett, signed Wednesday as a free agent by the New York Giants, held a conference call with Giants beat reporters Wednesday afternoon. The transcript is below.

Q: We understand it’s a one year deal. Is that correct?

A: Yes m ‘am.

Q: How do you feel about that?

A: I feel awesome.

Q: Why is one year a good idea?

A: I think it gives them a chance to see who I really am as a player and as a person. For me it’s a performance thing so they get to see who I am as a player and I get to come in and show them what I can do. I think it’s a great situation for me coming in here with the quarterbacks and the guys they have around and the way the put in the organization. I’m just happy to be part of the situation. I’m truly best to be here.


See Big Blue View For Complete Discussion Of The Giants

Q: Do you think we got to see who you are as a player the last few years?

A: No. I think at times you got a glimpse, but I was in a limited role. I only played like 30 per cent of the snaps while I was in Dallas. I think in a larger role I could do so much more. I think the sky’s the limit. I don’t think anyone has really seen who I am as a player and what I have to offer. So I think this is the best situation for me and my family and for me as an athlete because, I don’t want to say I have a lot to prove, but I long to-do list. So I have a lot of things I need to do as a football player. I think this is place where it gives me the opportunity to do everything that I want to do.

Q: Can you tell us about the courting from the Giants? Did you identify them right away and decide that you really like them?

A: Yeah, when I got here I met with coach Pope. Once we started talking we hit it off. It was kind of like love at first sight. Once we started talking I almost asked him to marry me. So I’m excited about this situation with the coaches and everybody in this organization has been great, just sitting down and conversing with everyone that I could. I pretty much have met everyone here. I think both sides are excited about the opportunity that we have.

Q: You said in a recent interview that you were a 60-plus catch guy. Have you always seen yourself that way and was it just a limited role in Dallas that prevented you from getting there?

A: Like I said, I had a great time in Dallas. I learned a lot as a player and the organization was great to me. I was in a situation where I may not have gotten to play as many snaps as I wanted and do some of the things that I wanted to do, as far as receiving and playing a whole lot, but I got to play with one of the greatest of all time, that’s going to go down in history as one of the greatest, Jason Witten. I may not have caught a lot of balls while I was there, but I learned a lot about football just watching him, how he did things, how to get open, how to play ball. In the long run it was a successful trip for me in Dallas. I just think that it’s time for me to move on and be my own guy.

Q: We’re you comfortable knowing that the tight end is not used as much in the passing game here?

A: I thought Jake Ballard, I thought him and Beckum did a great job. Ballard, before he got hurt for the first time, he was the leading receiver on the team. So I think he did a great job and I think I’m coming in with a group of guys that’s very talented. It’s not about me. We’re going to be a strong core when those guys get healthy. I’m looking forward to playing next to them. I was fortunate to play with a guy, Jake’s a young guy to me, being this is my fifth year in the league – to get in there and teach him some of the things that I learned from Witten and learn some of the things that he knows here in the offense already. I think we could be a really good tandem. I thought the tight ends here were doing a great job. I’m not trying to push anybody to the side. I just feel like I have something different to offer to the table than they do. And I think we’ll be a good combination.

Q: What’s that different thing that you feel you have to offer?

A: One is I’m a totally different type of blocker than he is. Being a blocking tight end in the NFL, it takes time to learn to do that and something that I’ll progress at. I’m a stretch the field type guy. I like to get vertical and things like that. I believe I can create a lot of mismatches all over the field.

Q: Do you feel like you could be at the level of Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham?

A: Yeah. No doubt.

Q: What makes you think that?

A: I just continue to work hard. You look at those guys, they get a lot of opportunities to make a lot of plays. I think I’m going to get a lot of those opportunities. I’m going to seize the moment. So right now I’m just living in the moment and I look forward to getting out there on the field and having more opportunities to really play. I always looked at myself as a good player, but I always want to be great. I think this is a place where I can be great.

Q: You said it was love at first sight with coach Pope. Why is that?

A: Coach Pope just seems like a guy you want to have a beer with. He’s lived 70 years of life. Anyone who’s been around that long, there’s a lot of knowledge there. There’s a lot of wisdom. Just from our conversations, just talking about football and life, we just clicked right away. I think he understood me more than I thought he would when I came in. It was just one of those things. Sometimes you just click with people and sometimes you don’t. I clicked with him.

Q: After four years of being a Cowboy is it weird to be a Giant?

A: It’s kind of weird. I’ve been playing against these guys for four years, but at the end of the day it’s business. People leave Dell all the time to go work for Mac. It’s a business at the end of the day and, like I said, I loved everything about the Cowboys organization and I had a good time there and I enjoyed every moment of it. But for me, it’s not really just going to a rival team. It’s about being in the better situation.

Q: Did you reach out to Chris Canty at all?

A: Yeah, I saw him earlier. I talked to him earlier – Justin Tuck. I saw most of those guys up here in the facility earlier. I’m pretty cool with most of the guys because we play against each other a lot. They all were telling me to sign the dotted line already and kept asking me if I did it yet. I’m glad they came up here. I look forward to meeting the rest of the team.

Q: Did they talk to you about your role? Do you expect to be an every down guy?

A: That’s what I want to be and that’s why I chose this place and I think I have a chance to do that. I think that’s what I’m built for. So yeah, I do see myself as an every down guy. I don’t feel like anything is given to me here and that was expressed in all of the meetings. They expect me to come in here and work hard and earn every opportunity that I get. And that’s something that I want to do. I don’t want anything given to me. I just want to show them that, ‘Hey, this is what you got.’ And earn what I deserve and get what I deserve to get.

Q: Do you see yourself being here a long time with the Giants?

A: Yeah, I think so. I’m already pretty comfortable. I’m already looking for places to live. I might be out here in a couple of weeks already. I’m ready to get started. I’m going to try to give Eli a call as soon as possible and see where he’s at and try to get with him as soon as I can and just get to work.


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Mario Manningham Free Agency Rumors: What's The Deal With No Deal?

Free-agent wide receivers have been flying off the board quickly on the first day of 2012 NFL Free Agency. Vincent Jackson signed a rich contract in Tampa Bay. The Washington Redskins reeled in Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal. Before that all began, Randy Moss even found a home with the San Francisco 49ers.

Yet, New York Giants Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham has yet to find a home. There are whispers that perhaps the Minnesota Vikings might make a play for Manningham. The St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals could also be possibilities. Ralph Vacchiano still thinks Tampa Bay is in play.


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What is keeping teams from knocking on Manningham's door? Maybe the fact that he reportedly wants to be paid like a No. 1 receiver when he, obviously, has never shown that's what he is. Oh, and maybe someone should tell Mario to stop ripping potential employers before they have a chance to make an offer.

It will be interesting to see how much longer Manningham stays on the market.

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New York Giants 2012 NFL Free Agency News, Rumors: Brandon Jacobs, Terrell Thomas, Martellus Bennett

Could a return to the New York Giants by running back Brandon Jacobs be in the works? The Giants recently released the veteran running back, who was due to make $4.9 million this season, is a salary cap move. Wall Street Journal Giants' beat report Aditi Kinkhabwala reported, however, that Jacobs was at the Timex Performance Center Tuesday to meet with Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

Kinkhabwala also reported that the contract signed by Terrell Thomas could net him as much as $5 million in 2012, and would guarantee him $13 million in 2013 if the Giants pick up the option.

That seems like a lot of money for a guy who has had two ACL surgeries on his right knee.

Jeff Roberts of The Record reported that free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett will visit with the Giants on Wednesday.

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2012 NFL Free Agency, New York Giants: Martellus Bennett To Visit: Justin Tryon, Michael Coe Sign

The 2012 NFL Free Agency period began at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, and the New York Giants got busy quickly. They re-signed cornerbacks Michael Coe and Justin Tryon and added two new players, tight end Larry Donnell and offensive lineman Joel Reinders.

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that tight end Martellus Bennett, who spent the first four years of his career with the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys, has scheduled a visit with the tight end-needy Giants.

Bennett caught 85 passes in four season with Dallas, playing mostly as a backup to Jason Witten.

Coe and Tryon were each with the Giants last season. Both cornerbacks ended the season on Injured Reseve, Coe with a shoulder injury and Tryon with a broken arm.

Reinders, 6-8 and 317 pounds, was in training camp with the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent and played in one preseason game before he was waived on Sept. 3. He did not play football last season.

Donnell, 6-6 and 269 pounds, played at Grambling State from 2007-10. In 26 games, he caught 38 passes for 432 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger reports that Bennett is the Giants "top target" and speculates a deal "could get done quickly."

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Terrell Thomas: 'I Definitely Wanted To Come Back' To Giants

Terrell Thomas, who agreed to a new contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday morning, said returning to the Giants rather than hitting the free-agent market was always his wish.

"I definitely wanted to come back here – this is home for me," Thomas said after signing his contract. "Coming off an injury, it’s better to come back to the same team – you know the personnel and the staff and they know you. You know the defense. My first choice was here, but I did open my eyes a little bit to free agency in case the Giants didn’t re-sign me. So I’m happy to be back."


Report: Thomas' Contract is Four Years, $28 Million

Thomas missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the second time he has suffered that injury. He expects to be ready for training camp.

"There’s no rush for me," he said. "I’m proven here. They know who I am and what I can do on the field. There’s no rush for me to get out on the field. My biggest thing is to let my knee heal 100 percent and come training camp and the season I have no setbacks or missed practices because of swelling. But I’ll definitely get out there and maybe do some individual drills"

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Terrell Thomas Staying With Giants

NFL Free Agency does not start until 4 p.m. ET Tuesday afternoon. The New York Giants, however, have already made their first major free-agent signing. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted that the Giants will retain cornerback Terrell Thomas.

Thomas missed all of the 2011 season after suffering a torn ACL during the preseason. Thomas had an outstanding 2010 season for the Giants with five interceptions, four forced fumbles, 21 passes defensed and 101 tackles for the Giants.

Thomas quickly took to Twitter himself this morning to share the news:

The Thomas signing is probably bad news for cornerback Aaron Ross, who started in place of Thomas during the 2011 season. The Giants do not have much flexibility under the NFL salary cap and it has been widely assumed that the team would not keep both players.

-- See Big Blue View for more discussion and analysis of the Giants.

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Salary Cap Primer

If Jerry Reese hadn't been here before, the New York Giants' offseason would appear significantly more daunting.

Fresh off a Super Bowl XLII victory in 2008, the Giants entered the following offseason with key contributors such as Kawika Mitchell, Gibril Wilson and Derrick Ward entering free agency. Only Ward returned to the team the following season, and that was his final season in New York.

This offseason, Reese faces questions regarding 24 players headed for free agency. Chief among those names are wide receiver Mario Manningham, tight end Jake Ballard, right tackle Kareem McKenzie and cornerbacks Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross. Reese has preached patience and balance as principals for his offseason approach, and Giants fans would be hard pressed to argue with his results. Of course, that didn't prevent any of the uproar that ensued once Reese let the likes of Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss walk prior to this season.

Fortunately for the Giants and their fans, it all seemed to work out.

Free agency period: March 13, 4 p.m. ET - July 22 (the first scheduled day of NFL training camps)

Salary cap: $120,600,000 per team

Giants cap situation: According to ProFootballTalk.com, $3.8 million over at 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, March 9. After cutting running back Brandon Jacobs (reportedly saving the team $5 million) and collecting the $1.6 million the NFL is distributing to most teams after the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were penalized a combined $46 million in cap space after piling money into last season's uncapped year, that number could be lowered.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (2):

TE Jake Ballard - Signed one-year contract
TE Bear Pascoe

Restricted Free Agents (1):

CB Bruce Johnson - Signed one-year contract

Unrestricted Free Agents (21)

QB David Carr

WR Michael Clayton

WR Domenik Hixon

WR Mario Manningham

WR Devin Thomas

OT Stacy Andrews

OT Kareem McKenzie

OT Tony Ugoh

DE Dave Tollefson

DT Rocky Bernard

DT Jimmy Kennedy

LB Chase Blackburn

LB Jonathan Goff

CB Will Blackmon

CB Michael Coe

CB Aaron Ross

CB Terrell Thomas

CB Justin Tryon

S Deon Grant

S Derrick Martin - reportedly unlikely to be re-signed

P Steve Weatherford - franchise tagged for approximately $2.5 million

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Mario Manningham Wants To Stay, But Probably Won't

Mario Manningham, who can be a free agent on March 13, continues to say he would like to remain with the New York Giants. The possibility of that happening for the exciting young wide receiver, however, seem to remain remote.

"I want to be here," Manningham said. "Because I feel like we can do a lot of damage in these next four to five years. That is just how I feel. We are all young. It is not up to me. I want to stay."

Manningham may want to stay, and truth is the Giants probably want to keep him. Reality is, however, that Manningham would seem as good as gone once NFL free agency begins on March 13.

Manningham, 26 next season, has 160 receptions and 18 touchdowns in four seasons, and has averaged 14.5 yards per catch. He is, however, third on the Giants' depth chart behind starts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. He would love to get the ball more often, and several teams are likely to offer him more money than the Giants, who are over the salary cap.

The Giants re-signed veteran Domenik Hixon, and also have Ramses Barden and second-year man Jerrel Jernigan as players who could take Manningham's place in 2012.

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Steve Weatherford Receives Franchise Tag From New York Giants

New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford received the franchise tag from the team today (via ESPN New York).

Weatherford is in a rare company. Only Michael Koenen (2009) and Todd Sauerbrun (2003) have received the franchise tag as punters. Weatherford is one of 20 Giants unrestricted free agents.

Weatherford and the Giants waited until after the Super Bowl to resume contract negotiations and the franchise tag move gives both sides more time to negotiate. Weatherford became indispensable to the Giants down the stretch last season. During the regular season, 30.5 percent of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line. In the Super Bowl, three of Weatherford's four punts landed inside the Patriots' 10-yard line.

If Weatherford re-signs with New York, he will get a contract worth the average of the highest five punter salaries. If Weatherford goes to another team, the Giants will receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

-- For more coverage of the Giants, visit our team page or our blog Big Blue View. If you're looking for updates on the Giants offseason, continue visiting this StoryStream.

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Mario Manningham Free Agency Update: Manningham Says He Wants To Stay With Giants

New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham, who will be a free agent this offseason, Tuesday denied reports that he is "75 percent" sure he will be leaving the Giants.

Manningham was speaking on WFAN radio Tuesday morning.

Various reports have had Manningham saying he was likely to leave the Giants. He has been connected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where former Giants quarterbacks and wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan is now the offensive coordinator.

The Giants are over the salary cap and it seems unlikely that they would either enter or be able to win any sort of bidding war for Manninghman, who is their No. 3 receiver behind Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Manningham said on WFAN that he was "not sure" he would be willing to take less money to stay in New York.

NFL free agency opens March 13.

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Mario Manningham Could Leave Giants For Buccaneers, Says Report

Wide receiver prospects are working out at the NFL Draft Combine Sunday, and the New York Giants are probably taking a strong look at all the candidates, especially now considering that reports out of Indianapolis are saying that soon-to-be free agent Mario Manningham will not return to New York for the 2012 season.

"75 percent chance" Super Bowl hero and soon-to-be-free-agent Mario Manningham won't return to the Giants, sources at this weekend's NFL scouting combine said there is virtually no chance he is back with the club.

The speculation is being reported by CBSSports.com, and is saying that Manningham is leaving New York for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Instead, they said, Manningham is expected to follow former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan to Tampa Bay. Sullivan, who was the Giants quarterbacks coach, recently took a job as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator.

The reasons for Manningham's departure? Well, here are what sources are telling CBSSports.com:

First, they said, he would know Sullivan's offense, so there is no learning curve. Second, people close to Manningham indicate that he wants to go to a warm-weather club, and last time I checked Tampa Bay qualified on that score. Third, sources said the Giants probably wouldn't make him a contract offer, not only because they believe his price may be too high but because they're more interested in a wide receiver who can line up at more than one or two spots at the position, which, they said, Manningham cannot.

Of course, none of this is official but is interesting and will be something that Giants fan will need to keep their eyes on as the offseason and free-agent period progresses.

For more coverage of the Giants, visit our team page or our blog Big Blue View. If you're looking for updates on the Giants offseason, continue visiting this StoryStream.

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Defensive Preview

Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross are both headed for free agency this offseason. How will the New York Giants' secondary look in 2012?

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Offensive Preview

Mario Manningham and Kareem McKenzie lead a list of 10 New York Giants offensive players who will be entering free agency this offseason.

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Giants Free Agency 2012: Mario Manningham Update

Wide receiver Mario Manningham will become an unrestricted free agent next month, and it seems unlikely that the four-year veteran will return to the New York Giants for the 2012 season.

The Giants have work to do to get under the NFL salary cap, they won't use the franchise tag on Manningham as that would put their No. 3 receiver's salary at $9.4 million next season, and it is apparent that one of the Giants 2012 Super Bowl heroes will have plenty of options this offseason.

In his 'Monday Morning Quarterback' column this week, SI.com's Peter King wrote that their are six teams that are at least $40 million under the salary cap, and that five of those teams have needs at wide receiver.

Those teams are Tampa Bay ($67 million), Kansas City ($62M), Cincinnati ($60M), Washington ($49M), Denver ($49), Jacksonville ($45M).

Per King, all but Cincinnati have needs at receiver. Also, the Buccaneers recently hired former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan as offensive coordinator.

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