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Giants sign Schwartz, Jennings, Schofield as FAs

AP - Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants started rebuilding their offensive line and found a little security at running back on the opening day of free agency in the NFL.

The Giants reached agreements with former Kansas City guard Geoff Schwartz and Oakland running back Rashad Jennings on Tuesday, the players announced in tweets. Seattle Seahawks linebacker O'Brien Schofield also agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal.

All three players were on their way to New Jersey to sign the deals.

A person close to the negotiations also said the Giants re-signed four players from last year's team. The person, who requested anonymity because the team had not announced the re-signings, said placekicker Josh Brown, cornerback Trumaine McBride, safety Stevie Brown and running back Peyton Hillis will be back next season.

The deals with Schwartz and Jennings address the Giants' two biggest needs.

The agreement with Schwartz, who has played with Carolina, Minnesota and the Chiefs, comes less than 24 hours after the Giants waived-injured center David Baas, who missed most of last season with neck and knee injuries.

With Chris Snee returning for an 11th season, Schwartz will fill the hole at left guard and that would allow Kevin Boothe to play center if he can be resigned. Justin Pugh will be the right tackle and Will Beatty will return at left tackle, if he can get over the broken leg he sustained in the final game of the regular season.

''Otw to the Big Apple tonight!'' tweeted Schwartz, who will be entering his seventh season. ''Can't wait to officially sign w/the (at)Giants tomorrow! So pumped.''

Pugh was excited to have a new linemate.

''(at)JustinPugh: Congrats (at)geoffschwartz and welcome to Big Blue.''

The running back situation was iffy because of the uncertainty involving former first-round pick David Wilson. He had surgery for a neck injury and his future is a question mark. Jennings rushed for 733 yards in 15 games and played well against the Giants, gaining 88 yards on 20 carries.

''Flying to the Big Apple tonight!'' the 28-year-old Jennings tweeted. ''Looking forward to signing the dotted lines.''

Schofield earned a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks last season. The 26-year-old played one season in Seattle and the previous three with the Arizona Cardinals. He has 11 1/2 career sacks and probably can be used as a strong side linebacker and as a pass rusher in other situations.

Schofield thanked Giants fans for welcoming him to the area in a tweet.

Josh Brown made 23 of 26 field goal attempts and all 31 extra points in his first season with the Giants. He said after last season that he wanted a multiyear contract and he got one.

"So excited to be back in a Giants jersey and working with such a phenomenal organization, and also (at)Weatherford5 and (at)zdeossie..(hash)SUPERPUMPED,'' Brown tweeted.

McBride played well at the end of last season and earned a two-year $3.1 million contract.

Hillis was signed in the middle of the season and played well in a limited role, carrying 73 times for 247 yards. He also had 13 receptions for 96 yards.

Stevie Brown missed all of last season after sustaining a major knee injury in a preseason game against the Jets.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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