The visit of Seahawks safety Deon Grant was short and, apparently, financially sweet as he signed what is believed a one-year contract with the Giants this afternoon.
Grant, cut by the Seahawks because they would have owed him $13 million, provides some quality depth in a spot occupied by starters Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle. He's a great hedge against Phillips not returning from his microfracture surgery of last year, since Grant can both play the run and the pass.
At the same time, you can say farewell to C.C. Brown, whose tender offer the Giants rescinded as soon as the ink on Grant's contract dried.
The Giants had considered signing Grant when he went to Jacksonville to Seattle in the 2007 free agent signing period.
"I’m happy to be here," Grant said. "I wanted to be here when I went to Seattle, but they came into the picture late. This opportunity on the second go-round – it was destined. I’m happy about the coaching staff and my new teammates and I’m ready to help them win the Super Bowl again."
The Giants couldn't ask for a more durable guy, either. The 31-year-old holds the fifth-longest starting streak by an active player, 144 games, which is dwarfed only by Brett Favre's 285, Peyton Manning's 192, Ronde Barber's 162, and London Fletcher's 151. That alone should bring some comfort to a position that depleted by injuries last year.
"Hopefully, Kenny can come back one hundred percent and Rolle is going to do some big things," Grant said. "With those stud cornerbacks that we have, we can just line up and play ball."
It probably means the end of Michael Johnson's days as a starter, too. Johnson drew some critical words from GM Jerry Reese at the NFL Combine for his shoddy play last year, and it was apparent Reese was dead set on picking up another safety either through free agency or the draft.
"We signed Deon Grant because, number one, he’s durable," Reese said. "He really hasn’t missed time. He’s a durable veteran who will bring depth and leadership to our safety position."
Before Grant's signing, the Giants also reigned in one of their remaining two unrestricted free agents in punter Jeff Feagles. While his signing was no surprise, Feagles said he had to take a break to decide whether the knee he had surgically repaired in 2005 could take another year of punishment.
"I needed to do some things physically to figure out if I wanted to go and do this again," Feagles said. "So right after the season I took a little break and then jumped into working out on my own, and seeing if I could do some things to strengthen my legs. I thought I had lost a little bit of leg strength last year. I haven’t been able to train because of my knee the last couple of years. So I felt that I needed to get into the weight room and do some things and see if it was going to hold up. And I was going to make a decision after that.
"About three weeks ago I called Kevin (Abrams, the Giants’ assistant general manager) and told him that I was ready to come back and I think I can do it another year - and if you will have me back, great, let’s get something done. So it took three weeks to get it finished. I’m excited about it and I’m ready to get back in a Giant uniform again and play in the new stadium."
He reiterated his earlier statement that he wasn't bothered or insulted that the Giants signed Australian Rules player Jy Bond as camp competition.
"In my meeting with Tom it was very, very clear that I was going to compete for my job this year," Feagles said. "And my answer to that was, ‘That’s fine.’ I have been competing for a long time. That is what makes it all better anyway, competition. Plus, we will have another leg in camp which will be good for me, too. So I just have really said to myself, ‘Listen, get a contract done and just go compete.’ And I’m confident that I will be on the roster."
He won't be for long if the 44-year-old has a repeat of last season. And he knows it.
"I was disappointed in my consistency," Feagles said. "I just didn’t think that I kicked the ball very well. We had a couple of long returns last year that really didn’t sit well. I just had some punts that were backed up and didn’t flip the field for the team. And then I got into that little rut -- those three games kicking the ball out of bounds.
"So I think that overall I just wasn’t as consistent as I have been in the past. So I am correcting it. I have gone back and looked at things and decided that I have put this plan together. It all started back when I said that I had to figure out if I really wanted to come back and do this again – go through the routine of working out and getting back in good shape and figuring out if I can still do this, because it is tough at my age. You have to work harder than everybody else."
Right now, he's working on weights to strengthen his knee, quads, and other areas. He's also working out with his son, C.J., a sophomore kicker for North Carolina, and his other son Blake, a high school punter.
The last thing he wants is to leave the game on another performance like last season's.
"I have a lot of pride and I think that some things that happened last year on the field left a real bad taste in my mouth, personally and with the team," he said. "I just want to come back and show everybody that what happened last year -- they said I had a down year. But other than that I’m just moving on. I want to get back to the Super Bowl and this is the one last chance to do it. I’m going to have to compete and that is what I’m going to do."