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NFL Free Agency: Kevin Boss Signs With Oakland Raiders

Boss will be missed, but his departure opens the door for the signing of Steve Smith, a more important part of the Giants' offense
Boss will be missed, but his departure opens the door for the signing of Steve Smith, a more important part of the Giants' offenseJim McIsaac/Getty Images
Mike OsterbergCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2011

The NFL Free Agency carousel continues to turn. After TE Zach Miller left the Oakland Raiders to sign with the Seattle Seahawks for $34 million over five years, the Raiders turned around and signed Kevin Boss to a four-year, $16 million deal. 

In Boss, the Giants had a tall target for the middle of the field. As far as pass catching tight ends go, Boss was as tough as they come. He took more big hits than any other receiver on the Giants, and it seemed like he always got up with the ball in his hands. 

Unfortunately, it appears that the Giants were unwilling or unable to meet Boss's salary demands, so they were forced to watch him sign with the Raiders. With Steve Smith still to be signed, the Giants simply did not have the funds to give Boss that kind of money. 

Barring an unforeseen signing, this means the Giants will go into 2011 with a big question mark at the tight end position. They're likely starter will be Travis Beckum, a good pass catcher that brings little else to the table. 

At 6'3", he doesn't possess the size that Boss does (6'6"), and he's underachieved for much of his Giants career. A third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, Beckum has the potential to be a major weapon in the Giants passing game if he can play up to his ability. 

The loss of Boss represents a blow to the Giants offense, though I expect them to overcome his departure. The Giants made the prudent move in not re-signing Boss at that price. He's a good tight end but not worth $16 million over four years. 

Beckum is making less than $1 million this year, so his production comes at a serious discount. Eli Manning is a quarterback who utilizes his tight ends a great deal, so look for Beckum to put up adequate numbers this season as the primary pass-catching tight end.


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