Jets Will Be Bigger Players Than Giants in Free Agency

When you wake up Friday morning, there's a good chance that you'll find talk of the Jets signing a free agent. It could be Ravens safety Jim Leonhard or it could be Ravens linebacker Bart Scott or even Ray Lewis, but the Jets are likely to make a big, early move to shore up their defense.

Don't expect the same news from the Giants. Even before they re-signed Brandon Jacobs on Wednesday, Big Blue wasn't going to be a major player in free agency. G.M. Jerry Reese has only signed three free agents in his two years on the job, and none of them made a big splash on the newswires. If there were a bona fide number one wide receiver available, the Giants might pounce but there isn't so they'll probably sit back and make more measured moves.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the two franchises. The Jets have been furiously cutting players to clear cap space for a second straight offseason spending spree as they move the franchise in its upteenth new direction. The Giants haven't even cut ties to the toxic Plaxico Burress, even though they'd benefit from the cap space, and are more concerned with keeping their current roster together before considering any additions. 

That doesn't mean Leonhard and/or Scott wouldn't be wise additions to the Jets, because each would be an upgrade. Constantly bringing in veteran free agents leads to offseason roster purges, though, and eliminates the continuity that marks most of the teams that win Super Bowls. There's no doubt that it's far better to use free agency to patch small holes, a Kawika Mitchell here or Danny Clark there, then always looking for a quick fix that creates more problems down the line.

You can fill in the blanks from there for what the divergent styles have meant for the team's fortunes through the years.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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