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Giants Bring Aboard Sheppard, Rainey, and Stingily

While the dust has settled after the Giants’ monumental early-offseason spending spree, Big Blue has been looking for cheaper ways to continue addressing the team’s needs.

That’s just what they did on Monday when the Giants announced they have signed free agents LB Kelvin Sheppard, RB Bobby Rainey, and OT Byron Stingily.

Sheppard is likely the biggest name of the bunch, as he’s coming off a 2015 season with the Dolphins that saw him start 14 of the team’s 16 games. He recorded 102 tackles, good for second on the team.

While it was a career high for the former LSU standout, that’s about where the highlights of his 2015 season ended. He didn’t show well against both the pass and the run for Miami, explaining the scant interest he received on the free agent market.

Middle linebacker continues to be a huge position for need for the Giants following Jon Beason’s retirement. At the very least, Sheppard should get a chance to compete for snaps along with returning players Uani ‘Unga and Jasper Brinkley, as well as fellow free agent addition Keenan Robinson.

It remains a very strong possibility the Giants add a middle linebacker in the early rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Rainey comes to the Giants after spending the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in all 16 games for the Bucs last season, but received just five carries for 18 yards.

Rainey’s best year came in his first with Tampa Bay in 2013, where he started six of the nine games he appeared in. He recorded 137 carries for 532 yards and five touchdowns.

Since then, Rainey has been mostly been limited to backup duties, a role he should fill again should he make the Giants 53-man roster.

The Giants’ three-headed (four, if you count Orleans Darkwa’s brief uptick in carries) “monster” underwhelmed for most of last season. Rashad Jennings should hang on to the starting job in 2016, especially after finishing last season with 432 yards in his last four games, but everything else is a bit in the air.

Shane Vereen is set to make roughly $3.5 million next season, and will likely resume his role as the Giants’ passing down back. Andre Williams averaged just 2.9 YPC last season, and could very well be competing with Rainey for a roster spot this summer, especially if the Giants draft a running back later this month.

Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz were released earlier this offseason, and Marshall Newhouse remains a free agent, so the Giants are certainly hurting for depth along the offensive line. Perhaps Stingily could help in that department.

Stingily has appeared in just 20 games (nine starts) since the Titans drafted him out of Louisville in 2011. At 6-5, 313, Stingily certainly has the size of an NFL lineman, but has failed to make much of an impact in the pros.

Last season, Stingily spent time with the Titans and Steelers last season, but never played a snap, which should tell you all you need to know about his 2016 prospects. While he should get a chance to earn a spot on the roster as a reserve lineman, this is mostly a depth signing.

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