One year removed from winning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history, the New York Giants disappointed last season, finishing with a ho-hum 9-7 record and missing the playoffs. Their late season struggles were cause for concern. While they had the eighth-best point differential in the NFL last season, they limped to the finish with a 3-5 record.
This offseason, the Giants haven't really made a splash in free agency, and their major moves and storylines have revolved around the players already on their roster and the roles they will be expected to play.
Let's take a look at the major storylines for the Giants this offseason, and how Twitter has reacted to each of them.
Wide Receiver Victor Cruz contract extension
After a long and drawn out contract saga, Victor Cruz, last year's leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, finally signed a multi-year contract extension worth roughly $46 million over six years.
I think "SportsNation" was able to accurately portray how Cruz must've been feeling.
After completing the contract, Cruz simply had this to say.
6 more years. http://t.co/5SxqIctIGo— Victor Cruz (@TeamVic) July 12, 2013
All in all, most NFL experts and insiders seemed to be in favor of the deal, for both Cruz and the Giants.
Cruz has obviously picked up some fans around the league, as other NFL stars had this to say.
Congrats to @TeamVic on your new deal! Well deserved!!!!— TWHITNER (@DonteWhitner) July 8, 2013
Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) July 9, 2013
Let's not forget this remarkable stat provided by ESPN's stats team.
CRUUUUZ! @TeamVic has the most receiving yards in the first three seasons of a career for any undrafted free agent since the NFL-AFL merger.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 9, 2013
It seems to be a good deal for the Giants. While they have to pay Cruz like a top WR in the league, there's a very strong case that Cruz belongs in that category.
What Cruz's New Deal Means for Fellow WR Hakeem Nicks
After watching his teammate collect a huge payday, Hakeem Nicks has to be wondering if he will be in for a rather large check in the future himself. Nicks had put up back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 before being limited by injuries in 2012, and he will have to heavily contribute in 2013 if he also expects a top contract.
Victor Cruz’s new contract puts pressure on Hakeem Nicks to prove his worth: http://t.co/DxGvESKIEE— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 2, 2013
Connor seems to agree with SI...
Hakeem Nicks need to put up some good numbers if he wants good money— Connor (@Buyea_7) July 12, 2013
But Izz J. W. is somewhat skeptical of Nicks' talent.
I'm sorry I LOVE Hakeem Nicks's game but he doesn't deserve no where near Mike Wallace money.....— Izz. J. W. (@IzzievsIzzy) July 12, 2013
Hole at Middle Linebacker
Last year's starting MLB and leading tackler Chase Blackburn opted not to re-sign with the Giants this season, instead entering free agency and joining the Carolina Panthers. As of right now, it appears that Boston College grad and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich is expected to win the position.
This is according to the New York Post.
Ralph Vacchiano, who covers the Giants for the New York Daily News, has a report from Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell which corroborates this story.
Leftover from mini-camp: Perry Fewell on the "very commanding" presence of LB Mark Herzlich. "He's taken a ... http://t.co/unQMBX0zks— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) June 17, 2013
Herzlich, who has never lacked for confidence, appears ready to take the starting spot.
Mark Herzlich confident he can start for the Giants at middle linebacker http://t.co/f0ppNK6Zzz— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 22, 2013
Reactions have been mixed.
Some are for it...
Some are not.
How stupid is Dan Connor. Man between him and that stiff Herzlich the Giants are real weak at MLB— Shaun Morash (@ShaunMorashCBS) July 7, 2013
The Running Game
The last two major storylines of this offseason have to do with the Giants running attack. After saying goodbye to Brandon Jacobs before the 2012 season, the running game was still able to excel. Ahmad Bradshaw led the Giants with 1,015 yards and backups Andre Brown and David Wilson were both able to collect over 300 yards apiece while both averaging over five yards per carry.
In February, Bradshaw was cut, leaving the starting running back position open for competition between Wilson and Brown. Wilson, only in his second year as a pro, appears to have the inside track for the job, but security in the spot is shaky at best.
Former Giants great Tiki Barber has heavily endorsed Wilson.
Tiki on Giants RB Wilson: 'He can be fantastic' http://t.co/LGkl6Yra94— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) June 26, 2013
However, Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride is not so gung-ho on the idea, and Yahoo!'s Brad Evans believes that Andre Brown will end up being the answer.
Gilbride's shaky endorsement of David Wilson as a pass protector should have you worried. Get down with Andre Brown. http://t.co/0GpJBQ2uuQ— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) July 11, 2013
Sirius XM's Adam Caplan is also of the opinion that Wilson should not be handed the No. 1 position.
Some Giants fans are a little more optimistic.
David Wilson will emerge as a stud RB as well for the giants...coughlin will get Back to heavy running game and his winning recipe— Jake Kunaszuk (@Jakekunaszuk) July 13, 2013
The Giants have also been reportedly interested in free-agent fullback Vonta Leach. Leach has made three consecutive Pro Bowls and helped stabilize the backfield for last year's Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens.
Giants fans all seem to be optimistic about the signing.
Man I'm gonna say this 1 more time! The New York Giants are gonna have a serious running game this year! Hopefully they pick up Vonta Leach!— Daggerz Von Doom (@DAdoubleGz) July 10, 2013
However, Neal Driscoll does make a very good point.
So, what do you guys think? What are your thoughts on the Giants' offseason thus far? Are you for or against the Cruz signing, and do you think the Giants should pursue any free agents still out there? Chime in and leave your comments below!