Cost-Effective Moves the New York Giants Can Make This Offseason
In a decade dominated by mammoth contracts and surreal price tags, Jerry Reese seems a bit out of place.
Reese's front office has yet to fall victim to the sweeping trend of overpaying for players in their contract seasons, and it shows, what with New York's two Super Bowl rings in the past five years.
Big Blue needs a lot of help on both sides of the ball, but Reese and Co. are nearly $5 million behind the salary cap for 2013. Let's take a look at some cost-efficient moves the team can make this winter.
Restructure Corey Webster's Contract
It's no secret that cornerback Corey Webster struggled in 2012.
The veteran took a decisive step backward this season, allowing eight touchdown grabs and struggling in vertical pass coverage. Once known for his physicality and recovery speed, it's clear that Webster is no longer the solution in New York's secondary.
Still, the Giants are young at the corner position. Jayron Hosley and Prince Amukamara, two assumed starters for next year, have a combined three years of pro experience.
Reducing Webster's current contract will allow him to return in a limited roll next season and provide a veteran safety net.
While Webster is owed $7 million, a restructured deal would make sense.
Cut David Diehl
Flex tackle David Diehl had a serpentine 2012, and with New York's progressing offensive line, cutting him and his $4.1 million salary makes sense here.
Diehl's versatility along the line has been huge for the Giants in recent years. Still, his struggles last year are concerning, especially when considering the surprise success of veteran replacement Sean Locklear.
Keeping Manning's right side clean will be imperative next season. It looks like Diehl is on his way out.
Don't Splurge on a Tight End
The Giants struck gold with tight end Martellus Bennett last season.
After a repressive career in Dallas, Bennett hit the end zone five times in 2012 and provided a reliable mid-level presence for New York's passing game.
A whimsical locker room personality and an above-average blocker, Bennett hits free agency again after cashing in on a $2.5 million deal last year. The Giants can't afford to spend much more at tight end though, despite Bennett's augmented production.
If Bennett's asking price is too high, the G-Men will have to let him walk. Eli Manning has a tendency for making tight ends a product of the system.
Still, there's hope that Bennett could be in Giants blue again next year.
Keep Kenny Phillips' Salary Modest
Safety Kenny Phillips had a rough season. Shelved by injuries, Phillips was forced to watch ball-hawk Stevie Brown step in and tally eight interceptions.
Now a free agent, Phillips' body of work demands a hefty contract, but the Giants' front office has to keep his expectations modest.
Phillips missed significant portions of 2012 and '09, and keeping his price tag down will be necessary. While a force in pass coverage when healthy, the Giants simply don't have the money to throw at him.
If Phillips asks for too much, New York will have to let him go. The Giants' defense has more pressing needs at linebacker and cornerback.
Cut and Re-Sign Terrell Thomas
This one's a no-brainer.
After garnering a $17.4 million contract last offseason, Thomas tore his ACL for a third time, missing a second consecutive year and hurling his pro career into uncertainty.
Now, Thomas expects to be cut and re-signed.
Reese has already suggested that Thomas would be moved to safety if he returns. Luckily for Big Blue, Thomas has no leverage here.
Explore All Options with Ahmad Bradshaw
What to do, what to do?
Bradshaw cracked 1,000 rushing yards for the second time in three years and has ran for at least six touchdowns every season since 2008.
Still, with the emergence of the shifty Andre Brown and the speedy David Wilson, Bradshaw is certainly expendable.
With an $18 million contract, Bradshaw could be asked to restructure, or he could be cut altogether.
Despite his popularity with both fans and the organization itself, all options have to be considered here.
Let Osi Umenyiora Walk
Osi Umenyiora knows its coming. We all do.
After ten standout seasons in New York, Umenyiora will be on his way out this winter.
A free agent with a Pro Bowl name, the Giants' dwindling funds and crowded D-line will prevent Osi from returning.
Only used on passing downs this season, Umenyiora has seen his production tail off in recent years.
With Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul still lined up at the ends, this loss won't be as big as perceived.