Updating the New York Giants' Team Needs
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Yesterday marked the first significant stride the New York Giants have made towards filling their team needs. They signed Will Beatty to a five-year, $38.75 million deal. The decision to retain the starting left tackle was an easy one.
With several glaring holes remaining on the roster, New York will not be afforded this luxury moving forward.
The Giants have a strong core of veteran players still under contract for next season, but the release of three starters earlier this month has augmented the necessity to revamp the roster.
Free agency and the NFL draft comprise the best avenue for teams to improve their weaknesses. The next two months will be pivotal for a Giants team with a handful of big-name free agents.
As Jerry Reese readies the front office for an immense undertaking, here is an updated look at the biggest team needs for the New York Giants this offseason.
The Giants have neglected the linebacker position far too long. As a result, the team boasted one of the NFL's worst linebacking units in 2012.
Michael Boley's release combined with Chase Blackburn's status as a free agent gives New York an opportunity to start from scratch.
The degree of incompetence makes the position a prohibitive favorite to be addressed in the first round of the NFL draft in April.
If Georgia's Alec Ogletree slips to the No. 19 spot, he should expect a phone call from Jerry Reese. Ogletree has the ability to play from sideline-to-sideline, a quality the Giants have lacked recently.
Which area of need is currently the Giants' biggest concern?
Another player to keep an eye on is Oakland's Philip Wheeler. The 109 tackles Wheeler recorded in 2012 were 11 more than any Giant posted. Coming off a league-minimum salary with the Raiders, Wheeler could be an affordable commodity this spring.
David Diehl appears to be nearing the end of his days as a turnstile at right tackle for New York. Diehl is no longer worth his salt as a starting offensive lineman. A lack of speed and narrowing range confirm this reality will not change.
There are two distinct paths the Giants can take in order to address their starting right tackle position.
The cap-friendly choice would be to re-sign Sean Locklear to a league-minimum salary. Locklear was noticeably better than David Diehl in 2012 but was lost for the season due to injury in Week 13.
A bevy of talented offensive lineman are preparing to hear their names called in April's rookie draft. If the Giants are not sold on Locklear's health, then they could use a second-round pick to fill this void.
New York should go with the cost effective move here, staying patient while Locklear rehabilitates his knee.
The amount of questions at this position make it a candidate to be the top position of need.
New York's decision to not part ways with any of its cornerbacks under contract is as disconcerting as it is puzzling.
There are few certainties regarding the future of the Giants' secondary.
Terrell Thomas could either find himself competing with Jayron Hosley as a nickelback or attempting a positional change to safety.
It remains doubtful that Corey Webster will receive the lofty salary due to him in 2013. Will the Giants attempt to cut Webster and bring him back at a reduced rate?
Ultimately, Prince Amukamara is the only player with a role (starting) nailed down for 2013, and plenty of tough decisions need to be made at the cornerback position.
Success for the Giants' defense has always been predicated on fostering a dominant pass rush.
The Giants should tread carefully when attempting to fill this need. They could end up neutralizing their greatest defensive weapon if they fail to do so.
Jason Pierre-Paul demands the attention multiple offensive linemen. With Osi Umenyiora likely on his way out of town, the Giants must find a player who can exploit the mismatches created by Pierre-Paul.
The diminished pass-rushing skills of Justin Tuck will likely land him on the interior of the defensive line on a fairly consistent basis.
Without the presence of Tuck or Umenyiora opposite Jason Pierre-Paul, an opportunity has presented itself to bring more youth into the fold.
Despite being unheralded and untested, Adewale Ojomo could be New York's answer opposite Jason-Pierre Paul. Ojomo's emergence presents the optimal outcome to the defensive end dilemma.
With salary cap issues handcuffing the team, the cheap alternative is also the preferred alternative.
If the Giants desire to spend the majority of their money on glamour positions, such as quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end, they may need to replace Martellus Bennett this offseason.
Several below-average athletes have performed well at the tight end position for New York in recent years.
The Giants will not lament losing an imposing figure the size of Martellus Bennett. Not when they need to re-sign Victor Cruz, Kenny Phillips, Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul in the coming years.
Will Beatty's contract extension likely means the Giants will turn their attention to Kevin Boothe at left guard next.
It is inconceivable the Giants would separate these two offensive linemen.
Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe made Tom Coughlin's face turn 50 shades of red during their turbulent early years in the NFL. It would be head scratching, to say the least, if the Giants disbanded this unit after they finally have morphed into solid football players.
There are a variety of ways Victor Cruz and Big Blue can come to terms for the 2013 season. The Giants giving Cruz a first-round tender remains the most likely scenario.
Once this maneuver is executed, Victor Cruz will receive a $2.8 million salary and become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
The only way this plan backfires is if a team decides to forfeit a first-round pick to New York in exchange for Cruz.
Spoiler alert: No team will be giving up a first-round pick for Victor Cruz.
While the Giants appear to be secure at wide receiver, they still need to add reinforcements. Ramses Barden and Domenik Hixon are free agents this offseason. There should be a play made to bring back one of these players as a fourth wide receiver.
Are the Giants tempting fate by having a quarterback named "Manning" backed up by Curtis Painter? Not unlike his brother Peyton, Eli Manning has developed a sterling streak of consecutive starts.
Eli's streak of 135 games is the longest active in the NFL for quarterbacks and third longest of all-time.
David Carr has been the backup for New York. The best option would be to re-sign him for one more season.
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