Giants beef up defense with Jenkins

March, 10, 2013
3/10/13
8:15
PM ET


The New York Giants might not be a big player in free agency due to their salary cap situation, but on Sunday night they made what could be a pretty big addition.

The Giants plugged a hole in the front line of their defense by reaching an agreement with defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, a source confirmed. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports the Giants' deal with Jenkins is for three years and $8 million, with a $2 million signing bonus and $3 million guaranteed.

The Giants struggled to stop the run this past season. Jenkins' 6-foot-2, 305-pound frame should give Perry Fewell some beef and muscle inside to help a run defense that finished 25th in the league, allowing an average of 129.1 yards per game.

Jenkins, 32, is expected to take over for Chris Canty (who was released in February in a cost-cutting move) in the starting lineup alongside Linval Joseph. From a salary perspective, the Giants replaced Canty, who was going to make $6.25 million this season in base salary and had two years left before his release, with Jenkins' three-year, $8 million deal.

[+] EnlargeCullen Jenkins
Rob Tringali/Getty ImagesCullen Jenkins stays in the NFC East, moving from the Eagles to the Giants.
The Giants reportedly had about $10 million in cap space prior to the Jenkins move. According to a source, Jenkins' cap charge for 2013 is $1.816 million. Still, the Giants might have to release a veteran or restructure more contracts this week to create cap space to keep some of their own free agents and tender their restricted free agents.

The Eagles released Jenkins in late February. Hehad 26 tackles and four sacks last season. The nine-year veteran has a total of 38.5 sacks since coming into the league with Green Bay in 2004, with 21 sacks over the past four seasons.

But stopping the run will be where Jenkins will be needed most. The interior of the Giants' defensive line now has Jenkins, Joseph, Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin, Markus Kuhn and Bobby Skinner.

Make no mistake, this is a potentially big move for the Giants, since stopping the run was problematic. They didn't have to spend a ton to improve an area that needed an upgrade, and now they can focus on other areas of need in free agency and the draft.

The Giants need to re-sign left guard Kevin Boothe and tight end Martellus Bennett in free agency. They need to bring back/tender restricted free agents like Victor Cruz, Stevie Brown and Andre Brown. And they have to add depth and talent at cornerback, linebacker, offensive line and pass-rusher.

The Jenkins move also means they might not have to draft a defensive tackle in April.

Cribbs interest: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported over the weekend that the Giants are one of four teams interested in free-agent wide receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs.

Cribbs is an explosive kick returner and he could fill the Domenik Hixon role. Hixon is an unrestricted free agent. Cribbs also could allow David Wilson to focus on his running back duties.

It remains to be seen, though, how strong the interest is and how much Cribbs will command in free agency. The Giants aren't expected to have a ton of money to play with in free agency.

Tell us what you think of the Jenkins' addition.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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