After a disappointing season in 2012, the New York Giants have a lot of work to do this offseason.
From re-signing crucial members of this season's squad to having an effective draft and being active in the free-agent market, the G-Men must do some heavy lifting this offseason to return to the postseason in 2013.
Jerry Reese has a history of making smart decisions regarding his team.
Here's to hoping he continues that trend this offseason.
Let's get into the offseason priorities for your New York Giants.
Victor Cruz is absolutely essential to the Giants' success and must be signed to a long-term deal this offseason.
The last thing New York needs is a contract issue looming, and according to the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano, the second-year WR isn't ruling out a holdout.
In all honesty, Giants fans, can you blame him?
Cruz has put together back-to-back seasons of 1,000 receiving yards and has totaled 19 TDs in two seasons.
The Giants are already favoring Hakeem Nicks over Cruz—according to ESPN's Adam Schefter—which certainly doesn't help matters.
Here's an idea: take care of both receivers.
The NFL saw one of the best receiving duos in 2011 with Cruz and Nicks, so we know they work well together and can be the key to a deadly offense.
In my mind, this is the biggest priority for the Giants this offseason.
Cruz is Eli Manning's clear-cut favorite target, and not re-signing him long-term would be an enormous mistake.
To be more specific, New York needs to address the right tackle spot with David Diehl.
According to Football Outsiders, the Giants rank No. 20 at right tackle, the worst-ranked position on their offensive line.
Fans have slowly seen the decline of Diehl, who is slated to earn $4.1 million this season in base salary (h/t ESPN).
The ideal move for New York would be for Diehl to restructure his contract to free up some cap space for the team to go after a free agent or rookie in the NFL draft.
The 2013 NFL draft hosts plenty of talent on the offensive line while guys like Jake Long, Branden Albert and Ryan Clady are projected to hit the open market this offseason.
I'd be shocked to see the Giants enter training camp without having bolstered the offensive line via the draft of through free agency.
With Prince Amukamara missing a lot of games and Corey Webster getting burnt during the latter part of the season, the G-Men need to add depth at the cornerback spot.
There are a slew of corners available via free agency that New York can look to, such as Sean Smith, Derek Cox, Cary Williams and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The Giants could also look toward the draft to take a corner. If they choose to spend a first-round pick on a corner—which isn't likely—Xavier Rhodes certainly fits the mold.
New York owned the 28th-worst pass defense in the NFL this season and could use a dominant corner to take some of the pressure off of the defensive line.
The safety positions are set with Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown, but the corners need to be upgraded to move forward in 2013.
By now, we all know Jerry Reese's drafting style.
Reese is going to draft the best athletes possible who he feels give the Giants the best chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy, but he must also think about what New York needs for the upcoming season.
Among the Giants' immediate needs would be CB, DE, LB and OL, so New York needs to make sure it addresses at least half of these in the draft and the rest through free agency, or vice versa.
Senior Bowl MVP Ezekiel Ansah would be a great first-round pick for the G-Men, as New York will need to beef up its defensive line rotation with Osi Umenyiora likely leaving.
If Big Blue does go DE in the first round, it needs to address the secondary, linebacking corps or offensive line within the first three rounds to make 2013 a successful draft year.
Reese has proven to be a mastermind in the draft room, so not to worry Giants fans.
I think it'll be another effective draft for the Giants.
Martellus Bennett had a career season in his first year with the Giants and must be re-signed.
From the beginning of the season, it was clear to see that Bennett was one of Eli Manning's favorite targets, completing the 2012 campaign with 55 receptions, 626 yards and five touchdowns.
Not only was Bennett a big part of what the Giants did in the passing game, but he proved to be solid in the run-blocking game as well.
Bennett's routes looked a lot cleaner in New York than they ever did in Dallas and he certainly proved his worth to Manning and the Giants this season.
NFL.com's Kareem Copeland reports that Bennett is willing to take a pay cut to stay with the G-Men, which has to be music to John Mara's ears.
As long as Bennett isn't asking for a ton of money, there's no reason not to bring back the "Black Unicorn."
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