Over the past two decades, the Giants have made many great personnel moves on their way to winning two Super Bowls.
However, they haven’t struck gold with all of their signings, especially in recent years. Below are the seven worst personnel choices the Giants have made since 2000:
7. CB Walter Thurmond (2014)
In 2013, the Giants had one of the better defensive secondaries in the league, a lineup that included Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback and Antrel Rolle at safety.
In need of a slot cornerback, they added Walter Thurmond from the Seahawks on a one-year deal during the 2014 off-season, hoping that he would bring some “Legion of Boom” magic with him.
Instead, he suffered a torn pec in week two against Arizona and never played another game for the Giants.
6. OL Geoff Schwartz (2014)
In 2014, the Giants signed offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, formerly of Carolina and Kansas City, to a four-year deal worth $16.8 million after Schwartz had his best season with the Chiefs. Yet, at the time, the Giants seemed to be bidding against themselves for Schwartz's services.
He suffered a broken toe in the preseason, which sidelined him for over two months. In just his second game back off IR, he broke his ankle. The injury bug bit him again next season when he broke his leg in week 12.
Having had enough, the Giants released him in the 2016 offseason with two years remaining on his contract.
5. LB Carlos Emmons (2004)
In the early 2000s, linebacker Carlos Emmons was a big part of the Philadelphia Eagles’ dominating defense. The Giants were well aware of this and signed him in 2004 in the hopes of weakening the Eagles and shoring up their own defensive unit.
Emmons played well in his first year in New York but limped through the next two seasons before being forced into retirement in 2007 after having back surgery.
4. WR Brandon Marshall (2017)
Two seasons after catching a career-high 14 touchdowns, wide receiver Brandon Marshall switched locker rooms at the Meadowlands, going from the Jets to the Giants.
Marshall, 6-foot-5, 233 pounds, was supposed to finally give quarterback Eli Manning that big-bodied receiving target he had been missing since Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer became ex-Giants.
Instead, Marshall's short five-game presence symbolized one of the most forgettable years in recent memory. In those five games, he only caught 18 passes, none of which were touchdowns.
He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week five against the Chargers, the same game in which Odell Beckham, Jr. broke his ankle.
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3. DE Jason Pierre-Paul trade (2018)
This one may not have looked bad at first given the cap savings and that Pierre-Paul had yet to live up to his monster 2011 campaign in the six subsequent seasons.
Little did the Giants realize, however, that Pierre-Paul still had a lot left in the tank. He recorded 12.5 sacks in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and just earned his second Super Bowl ring.
The Giants, meanwhile, haven't had a solid pass rush since shipping Pierre-Paul to Florida, and just think for a moment what a defensive front with Pierre-Paul and Leonard Williams would have been able to accomplish for the Giants (and try not to gag while picturing it).
2. OT Nate Solder (2018)
“It seemed like a good idea at the time…”
Naturally, when you have the opportunity to acquire a member of the New England Patriots’ impenetrable offensive line, you pounce on it.
That’s what the Giants did in 2018, signing Nate Solder to a four-year, $62 million deal after first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers turned into a bust at left tackle.
But with Solder on board, instead of the offensive line becoming better, it became worse. Eli Manning was sacked a career-high 47 times in 2018, Solder allowing seven of those.
After a similarly unproductive 2019 campaign in which he struggled with undisclosed injuries, there were questions about Solder's future with the team. However, he opted out of playing in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns and is believed to be contemplating retirement.
1. LB LaVar Arrington (2006)
Had the Giants not won the Super Bowl in 2007, the Arrington signing probably would be remembered as even more of a disaster than it originally was.
The three-time All-Pro linebacker had already been plagued by injuries in 2004 and 2005, playing in only ten combined games in those two seasons.
Despite this, the Giants snatched him from division rival Washington for a whopping seven years and $49 million.
After an underwhelming performance through five games, Arrington ruptured his Achilles in Week 7. This ended what turned out to be his only season with the Giants, as they ate the rest of his contract and released him in the 2007 offseason, after which Arrington retired.
Since the Giants came within one game of winning the NFC East this year, there’s no excuse for them not to make a power play in free agency. All they have to do is choose wisely. No one wants another addition to this list.
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