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