Giants Roster Moves: Smith, Blake Added; Sensabaugh Departs, Herzlich Returns

Giants add 2, re-sign 1, and lose 1 in busy afternoon.

The New York Giants announced they have signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Geno Smith.

Smith was drafted it he second round by the New York Jets in 2013. He started 29 games for the Jets in his first two seasons, seasons in which he ran an offensive system similar to what the Giants current run, he completed 466 passes out of 810 attempts (57.5 percent) for 5,571 yards, 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

In his last five starts of the 2014 season, Smith completed 70.1 percent of his pass attempts for 1,096 yards, with seven touchdowns to two interceptions and, for good measure, 19 rushes for 83 yards.

Smith, whose rocky career with the Jets included in-house fight with a former teammate who broke his jaw with a sucker punch, and, last year, a torn ACL from which the 6’3”, 221-pound signal caller is still rehabbing, visited with the Giants last week. His signing didn’t become official until he passed a team physical.

“I think the opportunity to learn from (quarterbacks) coach (Frank) Cignetti, coach (Ben) McAdoo, and to be alongside Eli (Manning) and learn from him, a two-time Super Bowl champion and, in my opinion, a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Smith said via a team issued statement of joining the Giants.

“I think it will work out tremendously for me. And it’s also an opportunity to be on a real good team, a winning team, get healthy – it’s just a perfect scenario for me. I couldn’t have written it up any better myself.”

Smith also made it clear that he’s not expecting anything as far as playing time in place of iron man Eli Manning, who hasn’t missed a starting assignment since taking over at quarterback for the Giants midway through the 2004 season.

Rather, his expectation is to learn under Manning’s wing and improve himself so that after his Giants contract ends, he might be able to drum up some market interest for a starting job.

“This is definitely an opportunity for me to learn and to get better,” he said. “I want to carry my notepad around and whatever I see Eli doing, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or off the field, I want to write it down. Because he’s a guy you can model yourself after. If you learn from a guy like that, we can all do a lot better.”

Smith, who spent part of the 2016 season on injured reserve after tearing his ACL, said he is making progress in his rehab.

“Right now, it’s doing great,” he said. “We’re being cautious. But I’m at that stage where I’m feeling healthy enough that I can push it. But I have to be smart about it and not do anything that will cause me setbacks.”

Giants Add Cornerback Valentino Blake

The Giants also announced they signed veteran cornerback Valentino Blake.

Blake, who initially entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Jacksonville, with whom he spent one season in 2012 before moving to the Steelers the following year for three seasons, was initially known as Antwon Blake.

He switched his name to Valentino, his middle name after signing with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 because, as he explained to Jim Wyatt of last year, he not only liked the name Valentino better, he associated the name change with a fresh start to his football career.

Blake, 5’9”, 198, has appeared in 78 NFL games with 18 starts. He has 183 tackles (154 solo) and one sack, with 23 passes defensed, and three interceptions including one for a touchdown.


Giants Re-sign LB Mark Herzlich

The Giants re-signed linebacker Mark Herzlich to an undisclosed contract a core special teamer.

Herzlich is an undrafted free agent out of Boston College who signed with the Giants in 2011. A backup middle and strong-side linebacker with 17 starts over his career, he has 173 tackles (118 solo) with one sack, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Herzlich has primarily earned his keep on special teams. He has 53 tackles and two fumble recoveries on special teams.


Giants Lose CB Coty Sensabaugh

The Giants lost unrestricted free agent cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who announced they signed the fifth-year corner to a two-year deal.


Sensabaugh, who began the 2016 season with the Los Angeles Rams, joined the Giants midway through the 2016 season after his release.

Sensabaugh, who provided depth at cornerback when the Giants experienced injuries to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, appeared in 10 games for the Giants with no starts. He finished with 15 tackles (12 solo).