Domenik Hixon, who once gave the Giants a big spark as a receiver and a return man, officially signed with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. And at the same time, his possible replacement - free-agent Julian Edelman - arrived in New York for a visit with the Giants.

The 26-year-old Edelman had dinner with team officials in New York on Wednesday night and will spend time visiting with the Giants on Thursday, according to two sources familiar with his plans. A dynamic punt returner and talented slot receiver, he played the last four seasons with the New England Patriots, though his season ended early when he broke his right foot in December last year.

Edelman, a slot receiver who backed up Wes Welker in New England, is an interesting target for the Giants, considering the somewhat uncertain status of restricted free agent receiver Victor Cruz. However, the Giants have been looking to add receiver depth and bolster their return game in free agency, including a brief flirtation with Josh Cribbs when the market opened in March.

Edelman caught 21 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games last season. He also averaged 15.5 yards per punt return and returned one for a 68-yard touchdown. That was his third punt return for a touchdown in the last three seasons, tying the Pats' franchise record.