EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants have taken steps to improve their defensive backfield, agreeing to deals with safety Ryan Mundy and cornerback Aaron Ross in free agency.
Ross, a former New York No. 1 draft choice, played for the Giants from 2007-2011 and started in two Super Bowl victories. He played last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mundy arrives by way of Pittsburgh, where he played four seasons for the Steelers. He played in all 16 regular-season games in each of those seasons, with five starts, and also played in four Pittsburgh postseason games.
The moves came on the same day that one of the Giants' rivals in the NFC East - the Philadelphia Eagles - also upgraded their secondary. Philadelphia, some two hours before New York announced its moves, added former Giants safety Kenny Phillips and former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams.
The Giants went 9-7 last season, failing to make the playoffs a year after winning the Super Bowl. The defense, though, allowed just 344 points, which was the lowest number in the division.
Mundy's career totals include 79 tackles, one interception, and eight passes defensed. In the playoffs, he has eight tackles and two forced fumbles.
Ross was taken 20th overall out of Texas in 2007. In each of his first two seasons, he played in 15 games and intercepted three passes. As a rookie, he returned one of those interceptions 43 yards for a touchdown against the Jets, and the following year, he brought one back 50 yards for a score vs. the Ravens.
``It's great to be back,'' Ross said. ``Words can't explain. I'm very excited to be back here. It's home. I was here for five years, this is where my career started, two Super Bowl rings. All my brothers are here, all the coaches are here. It just felt like I was ready to come back home.''
Phillips heads to Philadelphia after five seasons with the Giants. A first-round selection in 2008, Phillips had four interceptions and 72 tackles in 2011, as New York won the Super Bowl. A former Miami Hurricane, Phillips has battled knee injuries throughout his career.
Phillips will probably compete with Nate Allen for a starting spot in Philadelphia.