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New York Giants ink linebacker Mark Herzlich to a new contract

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The New York Giants announced this afternoon that the team has re-signed linebacker Mark Herzlich to a contract. The announcement was made by senior writer Michael Eisen on Giants.com, the official New York Giants' website. Terms of the contract were not immediately released.

"In 2013, Herzlich played in all 16 games for the second year in a row, with two starts (at Carolina and Kansas City). He had a career-high 32 tackles (26 solo) and a team-leading 14 special teams tackles (12 solo)," Eisen wrote when announcing the contract.

Herzlich came to the G-men as an undrafted free agent out of Boston College in 2011, and he has performed mostly on special teams throughout his three-year Giants' career. Also, he has started six games for Big Blue, but the signing appears more to have Herzlich continue his role on special teams, while also providing depth at the linebacking position.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Herzlich graded out - 6.8 overall, second worst among team linebackers to Jon Beason, despite playing less than 200 snaps. Herzlich took over as middle linebacker when Giants' free agent signee Dan Connor was injured in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. As Herzlich struggled through the next two games as the starter at middle linebacker, the Giants brought in the former All-Pro Beason from the Carolina Panthers, who seemed to solidify the defense, at least against the run. Beason will become a free agent on March 11th, and he has notified NFL teams that he is representing himself.

The website OverTheCap.com indicates that New York has 27 free agents, a total that includes recently retired players David Diehl and Brandon Jacobs. In earlier published reports, Giants' general manager Jerry Reese indicated that two other Giants' free agents, Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks, should see what their value is in NFL free agency, creating the impression that they would not be signed prior to March 11th.

Also, according to OverTheCap.com, the Giants are approximately $18.1 million under the NFL-mandated salary cap, as the team heads into free agency. Teams can talk to potential free agents starting tomorrow, but must wait until March 11th to officially sign them.

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