My New York Giants Offseason Wish List Begins with One Specific UFA

Kevin StewartContributor IFebruary 25, 2009

You've probably guessed who heads my list of players I'd love to see in a New York Giants uniform in 2009 based on the above picture. And yes, it's wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Everyone knows what happened with Plaxico Burress in 2008 so I'll skip the details as to why the Giants need a top receiver.  As it currently stands (should Burress not return in 2009), Steve Smith is atop the Giants depth chart at the position. 

Remember, the leading receiver in Giants franchise history, Amani Toomer, said he probably won't return to the team after he felt he was not used properly as the season came to a close.

Houshmandzadeh is here for the taking. I've heard a few rumors floating around the Eagles are interested in signing him to a contract and the Giants cannot let this happen. We all saw what McNabb was able to do with a No. 1 receiver during Terrell Owens' time with the team, bringing the team to Super Bowl XXXIX.

Houshmandzadeh is probably foaming at the mouth for a chance to be on a winning football team and not have to worry about which teammate is going to get arrested next.

I'm not saying the Giants are going to win the whole thing if Houshmandzadeh is on the team, but you can't argue it doesn't bolster their chances.

With that said, should the Giants let him out of their grasp, they have to strongly consider drafting a wide receiver with their first-round pick. The guy that really just jumps off the page at me (who shouldbe available with the 29th pick), is Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey. 

At 6'2", 206, Heyward-Bey ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all wideouts at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in 4.3 seconds.

I take Heyward-Bey into strong consideration because I don't think North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks will be available with at the 29th pick (and we know for certain Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree won't be there).

Many mock drafts have the Giants drafting Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis.  I really can't blame anyone for having this pencilled in, but the Giants won a Super Bowl two years ago without a big name linebacker.

Yes, Antonio Pierce and Kawika Mitchell were very solid, but Eli Manning is obviously better with a top receiver, as is any quarterback.

The Giants also have two picks in the second round. They acquired the Saints second round pick via the Jeremy Shockey trade. There is a strong chance USC's Clay Matthews is available as well as South Florida's Tyrone McKenzie, with a lesser chance USC's Brian Cushing or Virginia's Clint Sintim.

Also, the Giants will need some help in the secondary. Safety Gibril Wilson, a former Giant, left the team in 2008 to sign a mega-deal with the Oakland Raiders. Just a few days ago, Wilson was given his outright release from the team. Wilson was a very solid safety for the Giants in their run to winning Super Bowl XLII.

It can't hurt to offer him a contract, so long as it doesn't sniff the amount thrown at him by the Raiders.

Also, cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Bryant McFadden are available, who the Giants can sign and wouldn't cost a lot of money. I don't want any part of Chris McAlister or Dre Bly, since they've already been in the league for a decade.

All in all, the Giants mainly need a primary target for Eli Manning, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh is exactly that.