New York Giants Mailbag: An Early Jump on the Offseason

Patricia Traina@Patricia_TrainaFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2013

Eli Manning has had a bad year, but he's not the root of the problem on offense.
Eli Manning has had a bad year, but he's not the root of the problem on offense.Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

I normally don't like to look beyond the next game.

However, I’ll admit that I’ve been cheating a bit ever since the New York Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12the game that, in my opinion, was the fatal blow to any chance the Giants had in remaining in the NFC playoff race despite their 0-6 start.

So I really can't blame the participants in this week's mailbag for wanting to talk about next year and the looming changes for the club. 

Let's jump right into it.


What is the salary-cap loophole for contract extensions that opens up at the end of this year?

The Giants are projected to be in good cap shape this coming offseason.
The Giants are projected to be in good cap shape this coming offseason.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The loophole only applies to players who have a contract that exceeds five years in length, which quite honestly is becoming a rarity these days.

Anyway, per the salary-cap rules, a player’s signing bonus can only be spread out over a maximum of five years, which means that if a player signs a six-year contract and gets a $5 million signing bonus, his cap figure in Years 1-5 will include the prorated signing bonus ($1 million).

In the sixth year of the deal, his team will not be charged for the prorated signing bonus, unless the player has restructured along the way and money is pushed around.

So like I said, it’s a loophole that teams can use when they want to secure a player’s services for a long time, but the conditions have to be right.


Coughlin defending Gilbride insinuates that Eli Manning may be the problem. Thoughts?

I think you misinterpreted Tom Coughlin’s words. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think anyone who has braved watching the games this season knows that the pass protection has not been very good—and it’s not just the offensive line, either.

Here’s a breakdown of the sacks given up this season, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required): 

A Breakdown of the Giants' Sacks
NameQB Sacks Allowed
William Beatty11
Justin Pugh5
Jim Cordle4
Kevin Boothe3
Chris Snee3
David Diehl2
Eli Manning2
Andre Brown2
Bear Pascoe1
James Brewer1
David Baas1
Peyton Hillis1
Da'Rel Scott1
David Wilson1
Pro Football Focus (subscription required)

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who’s about as forthcoming as you’ll find, accepted his share of the blame as well this week, but like Coughlin, he noted that it’s a team effort.

“As we’ve said many times, it doesn’t matter who is being blamed,” Gilbride said. “The bottom line is that we all have to do better.

“(Eli) is doing the best he can. Could he perform better in some cases? Sure. Could the line perform better? Sure. Could the receivers perform better? Sure. Could I have called some plays differently that would have helped them out? Yeah.

"We’re all contributors to this thing, just like when we have success, we’re all part of the reason for the success. … The bottom line is that we have to do well enough to win a game.”

The offense's struggles are not the fault of just these two guys alone.
The offense's struggles are not the fault of just these two guys alone.Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Getting back to your question, no, Eli Manning isn’t blameless in this mess. No. He’s tried to make some plays that just haven’t been there this year, but he’s also been victimized by dropped passes by his receivers—17 by the wideouts and four by the tight ends, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

He’s had a struggling running game all season long that currently is averaging 3.6 yards per carry, 28th in the NFL.

Per the stats section in the weekly game release, the Giants’ rushing game has ranked at or near the bottom of the league in all but two games this season, at Kansas City (Week 4, 10th and against Philadelphia, Week 5, 14th).

Among those rankings, the Giants’ rushing game was at the bottom of the league Weeks 2-3, when they had most of their starters.

With that said, it starts up front in the pit, and I think we can all agree that the Giants haven’t really won many of their one-on-one battles in the pit this season.

Thus, I truly believe that if they fix the offensive line and straighten out some of Manning’s faulty mechanics, he’ll look like a completely different quarterback next season.


What will be impact of media and former players calling for a regime change?

Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA;  New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Absolutely nothing. The Giants view their needs and their personnel differently than people on the outside, and thus act accordingly.

So unless an outsider comes across a lot of money to where they can afford to buy a piece of the team, we’ll just have to wait and see what the offseason brings and hope that no rock-throwing will be necessary when those moves are announced.


What do you think about drafting a left tackle in the first round? You can then move Will Beatty to right tackle and Justin Pugh inside, shoring up three spots with one pick.

It would be surprising if the Giants move Justin Pugh inside next year.
It would be surprising if the Giants move Justin Pugh inside next year.Elsa/Getty Images

I don’t think it happens because I doubt they put a rookie in at left tackle to protect the quarterback’s blind side unless they get a surefire prospect—and even then I don’t see it happening given the investment they’ve made in Will Beatty.

I do, however, think they might look to add depth at the tackle spot that they can groom for a future role. I also think the following will happen in some order:

  • Re-sign Kevin Boothe to play center for a couple of years.
  • Draft a center to groom for the future (and hence release center David Baas).
  • Place a heavy emphasis on getting at least one veteran guard this offseason in case the kinds (Eric Herman, Brandon Mosley, etc.) need a little more seasoning.

It should be an interesting offseason! 


Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Patricia on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.


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