The New York Giants knew this day would eventually come. It's now time to see if they were truly prepared. Just days into the start of the offseason, the Giants have made significant changes to their roster, which will impact the team for years to come.
An unsavory cap number ($4.7 million over) caused by pricey veteran contracts has forced New York to part company with a number of its mainstays. A statement has been made by general manager Jerry Reese and the Giants; this team will look very different in 2013-14.
The release of Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty is a tangible indicator of where this team is headed.
New York has several free agents approaching the prime of their careers, along with a young nucleus of players eager to expand their role with the team in 2013-14.
If the Giants successfully replace the veterans they cut this week, and retain the likes of Victor Cruz and Kenny Phillips, consider this offseason a significant achievement for Reese.
The Giants have a plethora of reasons why three of their veterans were outright released this week: Health concerns and having talented backups being the most prominent.
The $3.75 million salary due to Bradshaw in 2013-14 proved to be an overwhelming risk for Reese. On the strength of two hobbled feet, Bradshaw led Big Blue to two Super Bowl titles during his six-year tenure with the team.
The fresh legs of David Wilson will help fans forget about the loss of a tremendous leader. Wilson proved he can be an explosive threat out of New York's backfield and should expect plenty of touches next season.
Canty began 2012-13 on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP), and never was able to hit his stride at defensive tackle. New York will be looking to Marvin Austin to finally make an impact on the field after two inconspicuous seasons for Big Blue.
Austin himself has dealt with several injuries during his career, making this a move that could potentially backfire on New York.
Michael Boley had been a luminary of the Giants' linebacking corps since signing with the team in 2009. His diminished role in 2012-13 was due to nagging injuries will make way for Jacquian Williams next season.
As much as the Giants showed confidence in their younger players by releasing several veterans this week, their inactivity at other positions shows a very different sentiment.
Corey Webster was consistently victimized by opposing wide receivers in 2012-13, making it difficult to imagine the team wants to pay him $7 million next year. What could possibly be the hold up for the Giants to release this struggling cornerback?
Which player will the Giants regret releasing?
Despite Webster's undesirable salary, New York glaringly lacks sufficient reinforcements in its secondary.
Webster may have looked lost at times this season, but his presence with a reduced salary could be a godsend for New York.
The inexperience of Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley combined with the overall lack of depth in the secondary makes Webster surprisingly indispensable.
David Diehl could suffer a similar fate this offseason. His $4.475 million contract will likely not be honored by New York next season. There's no place to hide when struggles begin to mount at offensive tackle, making Diehl the perpetual scapegoat for fans throughout 2012-13.
The best hope for Diehl would be to sign a veteran's minimum contract with New York, providing depth to a thin group up front.
Plenty of New York Giants are wondering if they will be next in the firing line. Expect Diehl to be shown the door, while Webster should anticipate a call to the re-negotiation table.