Giants free-agent contracts, one year later

The New York Giants signed 26 free agents last offseason, more than any other team in the NFL. As we have discussed many times, they did this out of necessity rather than in some misguided, George Steinbrenner-style win-now effort to beef up the team for the short term. Their roster was hollowed out and full of holes that needed to be patched just so they could field a team in 2014.

Obviously, the results were mixed, as you'd expect. Some of these guys never played for the team. Some of these contracts continue into 2015 and beyond. Here's a look back at the deals the Giants signed last year and how they look after Year 1:

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (5 years, $35 million): Played hurt most of the year, but within that framework more or less gave them what they hoped for. He's not going anywhere, as he has a $1.25 million guarantee for this year on top of prorated signing bonus and roster bonus money. Their hope is that he gets and stays healthy and performs like the elite player they're paying him to be.

LB Jon Beason (3 years, $17 million): This looked like way too much at the time, though the Giants believed Beason was critical to their defense after they acquired him via trade in 2013. A springtime foot injury never healed, and Beason played in only parts of four games before going on injured reserve. Even though he has $900,000 in guaranteed salary coming in 2015, he's a candidate for release or restructure as his next two years' cap numbers ($7.37 million and $6.57 million) are out of line with his production.

G Geoff Schwartz (4 years, $16.8 million): Signed to play left guard, Schwartz injured his toe in camp and played in only two games all year. The one positive is that he played right tackle in those games, demonstrating versatility that could help the Giants structure their offensive line going forward. With $1 million in guaranteed salary plus a $475,000 roster bonus for 2015, he gets a mulligan and a chance to show he can hold up over a full season at some position on the line.

RB Rashad Jennings (4 years, $10 million): Considering how good Jennings looked when he was healthy and the Giants' offense was rolling during its early-season three-game win streak, this is a totally reasonable deal. Jennings' cap number is about $2.8 million each of the next two years and a tick over $3 million in 2017, and there's no guaranteed salary left. The issue is health, as multiple leg injuries limited Jennings to 639 rush yards in 11 games in his first season as a Giant. He's still a part of the backfield plan along with Andre Williams, but they could add a piece here, and if Jennings continues to struggle with his health, he may not be a long-timer in New York.

C J.D. Walton (2 years, $6 million): The Giants were happy with the way he picked up the new offense and helped others learn it. But with 2014 second-rounder Weston Richburg slated for center long-term, Walton is a potential cap casualty. They'll save $2.5 million if they cut him.

LB Jameel McClain (2 years, $4.5 million): Something of an afterthought signing in the way of the Rodgers-Cromartie one, McClain ended up playing middle linebacker in Beason's place and leading the team in tackles (as a 4-3 middle linebacker should). If they keep Beason, they could decide McClain is extraneous and save $3.1 million against the cap by cutting him. But he seems like a useful enough piece to keep around for one more year even as a starter on the outside.

DE Robert Ayers (2 years, $3.75 million): Most of this deal's money is in this second year, with a $1.23 million salary, $500,000 in prorated signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus due on March 12. Assuming they move on from Mathias Kiwanuka, the Giants have a place for Ayers as a starting defensive end. But he's coming off his own serious injury, so it's no sure thing. And even if he's back, they could seek to reduce the cost, though it's reasonable enough that they don't have to.

CB Walter Thurmond (1 year, $3 million): He said he turned down multiyear deals in the hope of having a big year and cashing in this spring. But he played in only two games before his season-ending injury. The Giants would like him back, assuming low cost in free agency.

CB Trumaine McBride (2 years, $2.875 million): A broken thumb ended his season early, but at $1 million in salary for 2015 he's a valuable piece for the Giants in their secondary.

S Stevie Brown (1 year, $2.75 million): Benched early in the year, rebounded a bit, now a free agent. Could bring him back as long as the cost is minimal. The Giants don't have a starting safety on the roster right now.

K Josh Brown (2 years, $2.5 million): Gave them no reason to regret or alter this deal.

RB Peyton Hillis (2 years, $1.8 million): Concussion issues could force him to retire. Minimal cap cost to the Giants ($945,000) if he is back.

LB Spencer Paysinger (1 year, $1.431 million): Pushed into a part-time role due to the development of Jacquian Williams and Devon Kennard. No real reason to bring him back.

S Quintin Demps (1 year, $1 million): Signed to return kicks, played a bunch of safety when Brown got benched. He and the team wish he'd played better. Free agent. They'll likely look elsewhere.

FB Henry Hynoski (1 year, $1 million): To the (somewhat minimal) extent that the Ben McAdoo offense uses a fullback, Hynoski is a fine one.

DT Mike Patterson (1 year, $920,000): Decent rotational player. Played in all 16 games. Giants like him, cost is low, but he'll turn 32 in September and is no lock to return.

G John Jerry (1 year, $795,000): Signed as a backup, Jerry surprisingly started all 16 games at right guard following the retirement of Chris Snee. But like everyone else on the line, he struggled greatly in the run game. They'll likely seek to upgrade.

CB Zack Bowman (1 year, $795,000): Played in all 16 games, had two interceptions. Didn't hold up when asked to step in as a starter, but that wasn't what they signed him for. As part of the overall cornerback plan, he makes sense to bring back on a minimal deal.

OT Charles Brown (1 year, $795,000): Injured early, and when he finally got into a game it was as a sub for Justin Pugh against the 49ers. He was awful in that game and was cut the following week.

WR Mario Manningham (1 year, $795,000): Never looked healthy in camp, got hurt again at the end of it, placed on IR before season started.

QB Curtis Painter (1 year, $795,000): Lost the backup QB job to Ryan Nassib in camp, was released.

TE Kellen Davis (1 year, $795,000): Released at the end of camp. Ended up on the Lions.

KR Trindon Holliday (1 year, $700,000): Training camp hamstring injury landed him on IR before the season ever started.

WR Travis Harvey (1 year, $420,000): Didn't make the team out of camp.

QBs Josh Freeman and Rusty Smith: Remember? The whole thing about Eli Manning was going to have to miss spring practices following ankle surgery and they needed quarterbacks to take reps. Remember how people actually thought Freeman had a shot to stick? Good times. Good times.