Giants Strike Quickly

Getty Image - Doug Benc

Michael Boley was high on New York's free agent priority list. The Giants and their fans can now check him off that list. And soon they'll be able to check out the athletic outside linebacker on Sundays.

Boley, who spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with Atlanta, visited the Giants on Friday during the first day of free agency. Not long after, Boley agreed to terms with Big Blue, inking a five-year contract believed to be worth $25 million.

While Boley played mostly on the strong side for the Falcons, he's a lock to start on the weak side for new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. The Giants had a gaping hole at Will backer last season after Kawika Mitchell left following the club's Super Bowl championship.

"We see him as a Will," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "With Michael Boley, we've addressed a position of need. We feel we have brought to the New York Giants an athletic, versatile linebacker. He's a guy that has not been used a lot in blitzing or pressure, because they've used him in coverage. He can cover, but we think we can take advantage of his speed. He is fast and athletic. I think we can call upon him to be involved in coverage and to be a pressure linebacker. He's also a special teams player; he played on the punt team and the punt return team, so we know we can get good value out of that."

Boley played in all 64 games with 53 starts for the Falcons the previous four years. He had 365 tackles (260 solo), 6.0 sacks, five interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 28 passes defensed.

"Michael is a three-down player who is durable and athletic," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He is a fast playmaker who can play both Sam and Will. Michael will immediately upgrade our speed on defense."

Boley said he is energized by joining a team that has made the playoffs each of the last four seasons, the NFL's second-longest active streak.

"I'm excited," Boley said. "It's a new beginning. This is a great team and a great organization. I'm looking forward to getting started here."

"It's a different feel. I did a lot of blitzing in college. In Atlanta, I played the Will in our sub package. I think it's going to be great for me. If the coaches want me to blitz, I'll blitz. If they want me to cover, I'll cover. Doing all those different things is going to be great."

Boley joined the Falcons as a fifth-round draft choice in 2005, the 160th overall selection. As a rookie he played in all 16 games with 11 starts and finished with 60 tackles. The following season he started 14 games and had 90 tackles (including 13 in a game at New Orleans), 3.0 sacks and two interceptions.

Boley's finest season was in 2007, when he started all 16 games and finished second on the team with a career-high 125 tackles (88 solo), 3.0 sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He led Atlanta with five double-digit tackle performances. Boley had all three of his sacks in the first half of a Thanksgiving night game vs. Indianapolis.

Last season, Boley started 12 regular season games and the Falcons' NFC Wild Card Game at Arizona. He posted 90 tackles (65 solo) and added an interception.

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