NFL Free Agency 2013: Should the Giants Pursue Jake Long If Will Beatty Bolts?
Heading into the offseason, the Giants have a lot of holes to fill for 2013.
One of the biggest needs for the team is their offensive line, which has really aged over the last few years.
Most of the Giants O-line is in their 30's or older, and the one who isn't is a free agent this offseason.
Starting left tackle Will Beatty is one of several Giants who will likely be due for a raise this offseason after proving he could stay healthy and play consistently as a starter.
The Giants will likely look at restricted free-agent Victor Cruz and next year's free-agent Hakeem Nicks as priorities during the offseason.
This could potentially lead to the 27-year-old Beatty bolting from the team and looking for top money elsewhere.
If in fact Beatty decides to leave the Giants, then general manager Jerry Reese needs a backup plan in case his starting left tackle pursues other options.
One name that comes to mind is former No. 1 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Jake Long.
Long has been a five-year starter with the Miami Dolphins ever since getting drafted, but it looks like the Dolphins and Long are parting ways, especially now that they have Jonathan Martin to handle the left tackle duties.
Back in January, it had been reported that Long was looking for an average of $10 million per season in a new contract, which is a major reason why the Dolphins are likely to let him walk as a free agent this spring.
Should the Giants look into Jake Long for the offensive line?
Now, $10 million per season is a lot of money, especially for the Giants who are trying to get under the salary cap for 2013.
If however, Long drops his asking price, then I really think the Giants need to strongly consider him for their starting left tackle spot.
Putting Long at the blind side would be an immediate upgrade to the offensive line that needs some youth and toughness injected into it.
There were some indications during 2012 that Long was starting to break down physically, but I honestly think he just needs a chance of scenery and a winning environment.
When Long was drafted by Miami, he was looked upon as their franchise and cornerstone player, which really might not be the case or role for him.
If you put Long on a different team like the Giants where he wouldn't have to be "the guy," he could thrive as an important role player.
Plus, if there is anyone who can take an already good offensive lineman and make them even better, it's Pat Flaherty, Big Blue's longtime offensive line coach.
Under Flaherty, the Giants have always been known for having a strong front five and Long could benefit from his coaching.
Now, the Giants aren't always known as the team who spends big in free agency.
However, they are known for being a team who will make deals to bring in good offensive lineman.
They brought in Shaun O'Hara in 2004, Kareem McKenzie in 2005 and David Baas in 2011 as significant free-agent acquisitions.
And if you even go further back, they also brought in veterans Lomas Brown, Glenn Parker and Dusty Zeigler all in 2000, which instantly made the offensive line better that season.
Long would definitely be a pricey acquisition as a free agent, but I really feel that he would be worth it for the Giants, especially if Beatty leaves and if the Giants cut David Diehl.
Will Jerry Reese actually be willing to add a prominent free agent like Long and bolster the struggling offensive line?
I think many Giant fans like myself are hoping so.
Stay tuned, Giants fans.
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