The New York Giants were aggressive in the beginning of free agency, signing five veterans, most notably RB Shane Vereen, while also re-signing a handful of their own players.
SHANE VEREEN, RB (3 Years, $12.35 million)
Fresh off of winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, Vereen was acquired by the Giants to form a three-headed backfield along with Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams.
- Over his four-year career, Vereen has played in 42 games (eight starts) for the Patriots.
- He has career totals of 907 rushing yards (4.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns, plus 107 receptions for 1023 yards (9.6 yards per catch) and seven scores.
- In 2014, he played in all 16 games for the first time in his career and set career-highs in rushing attempts (96), rushing yards (391), receptions (52), and receiving yards (447).
- He set a Super Bowl record for receptions by a running back with 11 catches in New England’s triumph over Seattle in February.
- He was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft (56th overall) out of California University where he followed in the footsteps of former first round picks Marshawn Lynch (2007) and Jahvid Best (2010).
DWAYNE HARRIS, WR/KR (5 Years, $17.5 million)
The Giants snagged special teams ace Dwayne Harris from the rival Dallas Cowboys with a five-year pact.
- Across four seasons with the Cowboys, Harris averaged 26.5 yards on kickoff returns, 11.1 yards on punt returns (two touchdowns) and made 33 tackles on special teams.
- Harris has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week three times in his career, one coming for his performance against Big Blue in the 2013 season opener.
- Often believed to be underutilized on offense by Dallas, Harris has 33 catches for 418 yards (12.7 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in 52 career games.
- Harris was selected by the Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft (176th overall) after attending East Carolina University, where he set both school and conference records as a receiver and a returner.
J.T. THOMAS, LB (3 Years, $12 million)
With Steve Spagnuolo back in charge of the defense, the Giants needed to add some speed and aggressiveness and that’s exactly what they got in J.T. Thomas.
- Thomas started 10 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 and finished with 81 tackles, two interceptions, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
- The Giants got a first-hand look at Thomas when they played the Jaguars last season, as he recorded a season-high 12 tackles and recovered an Eli Manning fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
- He has experience at both inside and outside linebacker positions, and is expected to compete for the starting job at weakside linebacker.
- After being selected by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft (195th overall), Thomas spent his first two seasons in Chicago (he was on injured reserve for all of his rookie season) before latching on with the Jaguars for the past two years.
JONATHAN CASILLAS, LB (3 Years, $8 million)
Continuing to add to their linebacker corps, Big Blue also added Jonathan Casillas, who was a teammate of Vereen with the Patriots last season.
- He has won two Super Bowls in his five-year career, first as a rookie in 2009 with the New Orleans Saints and of course, this past season with the Patriots.
- Casillas has made 18 starts over his five-year career, and has emerged as a core special teams player and led New England with 24 special team snaps in Super Bowl XLIX.
- Signing with the Giants is a homecoming for Casillas, who was born in Jersey City and attended New Brunswick High School.
- Casillas attended Wisconsin University and went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, but was signed by the Saints shortly after.
MARSHALL NEWHOUSE, OT (2 Years, $3 million)
The Giants added to their depth on the offensive line by bringing in the versatile Marshall Newhouse from the Cincinnati Bengals.
- He appeared in 15 games last season for Cincinnati, starting three at right tackle.
- Before spending last season with the Bengals, Newhouse spent the first four years of his career (2010-2013) in Green Bay where he overlapped with Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAddo.
- He started 29 games for the Packers between 2011 and 2012, and won the Super Bowl with Green Bay in 2010.
- He was originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft (169th overall) out of TCU.
In addition to the re-signings the Giants made prior to the start of free agency, the team has also re-signed LB Mark Herzlich (2 years, $2.6 million), FB Henry Hynoski (2 years $2.1 million), CB Chykie Brown (2 years, $2 million), OG John Jerry (contract undisclosed) and RB Chris Ogbonnaya (1 year, $770,000).