David Baas underwent numerous surgeries during his three years with the Giants, so many that he refused to count them. The final cut came not from a doctor's scalpel or a scope, though, but from the front office. The Giants will release the center, a source confirmed, plunging the team into the market for an upper-tier free-agent center.
The most likely candidates to replace Baas include the Packers' Evan Dietrich-Smith and the Saints' Brian de la Puente, the two highest-profile centers that the Giants reached out to during the preliminary contact period of free agency. Dietrich-Smith would appear to be the Giants' first choice, given his history in Green Bay with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
The Giants also re-signed Dallas Reynolds, a former starting center for the Eagles who was an exclusive-rights free agent, and could bring unrestricted free agent Kevin Boothe back to fill the position. Given the goal of rebuilding the offensive line this offseason, however, it seems more likely that a new player will be brought in to snap the ball to Eli Manning.
Meanwhile, the Giants are close to signing the first two of their own unrestricted free agents, with two-year deals for kicker Josh Brown and cornerback Trumaine McBride nearly finalized. Jon Beason, considered the Giants' main target among their own players, remains unsigned, and a source familiar with the negotiations said it is "doubtful'' the middle linebacker will be inked before hitting free agency at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
As for Baas, his departure has more to do with his physical state than the $8.225 million he would have cost against the salary cap in 2014 (the Giants will save only $1.775 million of that by cutting him). He played only three games in 2013 and managed to play only 30 regular-season games during his three seasons with the Giants. He was signed from the 49ers as a free agent in 2011 and started in the Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Patriots.