Forget this frigid weather that's rocked the northeastern part of the country—over the next few weeks the NFL offseason action is going to start heating up!
According to the NFL's calendar of important dates, teams can begin applying franchise and transition tags starting Monday.
On Wednesday, the week-long NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in Indianapolis. And teams will continue pruning bloated contracts as they get ready for the start of free agency on March 11.
This week, we have a variety of mailbag topics from readers that pertain to the upcoming NFL offseason activities. So let's get right to it.
@Patricia_Traina eli always shined in 2 minute offense. You think with new OC giants finally go with more hurry up O ?— dave roselli (@curly517) February 13, 2014
Thanks for the question Dave. It’s really difficult to answer what the Giants will be doing on offense because, first, new coordinator Ben McAdoo has been on the job only a little more than a month, so no one outside of maybe the coaching staff knows how far along he is in developing his playbook.
The media hasn’t had a chance to speak with McAdoo; when that happens, certainly more specific questions beyond what was in the team’s announcement of his hiring are bound to be asked.
With that said, I don't think you can run the two-minute offense nearly exclusively. I do think the Giants are going to run a more up-tempo offense.
How many times do you remember seeing the members of the offense take their time getting back to the huddle after the play? I think those days are going to go away under McAdoo.
I think that McAdoo’s system is going to be different from Kevin Gilbride’s. What those differences are remains to be seen.
Which position on the Giants' offensive line is the biggest need?
Thanks for the question. If the Giants don’t fix that offensive line, it’s going to be another long season. So I think that unit is the favorite if you're hedging your bets on what the front office does in the first round of the draft.
Can that change? Sure, depending on how general manager Jerry Reese approaches free agency. For all we know, maybe they’ll come up with veteran free-agent acquisitions that lessen the need.
As of right now, though, I’d be absolutely shocked if the offensive line isn’t the top priority.
Thanks for the question Alf. Linebacker Jon Beason, safety Stevie Brown and kicker Josh Brown are three unrestricted free agents that immediately come to mind as guys who are a good bet to return.
I also think that offensive lineman Kevin Boothe, running back Andre Brown, tight end Bear Pascoe, cornerback Terrell Thomas and defensive end Justin Tuck are in the plans as well.
From the restricted free-agent side, I think it’s very possible that linebackers Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich both receive right of first refusal tenders. With Herzlich, I think given the uncertainty at this point regarding Beason's return, the Giants will have to protect themselves at that position just in case.
I think fullback Henry Hynoski and offensive lineman Jim Cordle will be given an opportunity to come back, but I'm not sure if the Giants will issue a right-of-first-refusal tender to either unless the team clears more salary-cap space. (Per Spotrac, subscription required, the Giants' estimated cap space is $12.7 million.)
Thanks for the question Rob. I think the Giants are finished making changes on their coaching staff for this year, so barring anything unexpected, there's no reason to think that strength and conditioning coaches, Jerry Palmieri, and two of his assistants, Markus Paul and Joe Danos, won't be back.
When you look at their injury situation from 2013, I think it's important to look at the nature of the injuries and determine which were a result of the violent nature of the game (e.g. broken bones, ankle and knee sprains, etc.,) and which weren't.
Obviously the fractures and torn ACLs are a result of the violent nature of the game. But groins and hamstrings and back issues could result from the player not stretching properly or from compensating for another existing injury.
Here’s the rundown of Giants injuries, as reported to the NFL via the weekly injury-report list in 2013. You’ll see there were only four players listed with hamstring strains (Cooper Taylor, Damontre Moore, Jayron Hosley and Brandon Jacobs). Of those, only Taylor ended on IR for a hamstring, while Jacobs landed on IR due to his knee.
Three guys were listed with groin injuries (Brandon Myers, Corey Webster and Trumaine McBride). Webster landed on IR due to his ankle.
Four guys were listed with back issues (Jason Pierre-Paul, Aaron Ross, Shaun Rogers and Zak DeOssie). Pierre-Paul's appearance on the report was expected, given his efforts to return from back surgery. Ross landed on IR due to his back issue, and Rogers was placed on IR due to a knee.
Obviously, teams have more injuries some years than others. But I think most of the injuries that happen are a result of the athletes trying to do things that the human body really isn't built to do.
@Patricia_Traina what do the giants do re: the tight end position. A very important position for Eli an the offense? Thanks pat!!— Robert Antonicelli (@nygiants328) February 13, 2014
Thanks for the question Robert. I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants try to pick up a veteran at the tight end position.
They already have two young players being developed, Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell. Both should get plenty of opportunities this spring and summer to make a case for a spot in the lineup. It makes sense to add a veteran who's "been there, done that" at that position.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if they re-sign Bear Pascoe given his versatility.
@Patricia_Traina I know you didn't think Joseph would be back but with his recent tweets what are the chances he's re-signed?— RJ King (@RJKing56) February 13, 2014
My opinion hasn’t changed. I think it's great that Joseph is on Twitter (assuming it's him since the account isn't verified) and is interacting with fans by tweeting his love to the N.Y. area. However, the next time a player lets the popular consensus dictate his career move will be the first.
Players have a very small window to score a big payday, and they’ll usually go where the money is. Joseph is entering his prime and is coming off a career year.
I wouldn't be surprised if he has several suitors for his services come March 11.
@Patricia_Traina Is there an urgency for the Giants to draft a DE in rd1 since Tuck is a FA & JPP will be next yr?— Saracino (@sjs0816) February 13, 2014
Great question! Certainly the Star-Ledger’s report about Damontre Moore undergoing shoulder surgery creates some concern about the team's depth at defensive end.
While Moore should be ready for the start of the season, what people tend to forget is that when a player has to devote time to rehabbing an injury during the offseason, he loses out on time that might otherwise be spent training. That can be a concern.
In the Star-Ledger's report, Moore didn't indicate if he knew when he'd be cleared to lift weights, and do all the things he needs to do in order to begin training for 2014:
I can do light stuff, I'm not cleared to lift weights yet but as far as the other stuff goes, I'm maintaining my cardiovascular strength and stuff like that. Just trying to enhance that part of the game so once I get cleared I can focus on the weights.
I think Justin Tuck is going to return to the Giants, and I think they might end up keeping Mathias Kiwanuka for depth if they can adjust his $4.375 million base salary (per Spotrac).
As you pointed out, Jason Pierre-Paul will be a free agent next year. If, as he said during his year-end press conference, his expectations of playing at "a very high level" in 2014 happen, I wouldn't be surprised if the demand for him skyrockets.
With Tuck and Kiwanuka advancing in their respective careers, I think the Giants will look to add younger defensive linemen.
What I can't tell you is whether or not defensive end is a higher need than the offensive line right now. I don't think it is, but that's just my take.
Thanks for the questions. If you have a Giants-related question, post it in the comments section or tweet it to me @Patricia_Traina using the hash tag #askpat.