The First 5 Things the New York Giants Must Do When the Lockout is Lifted
To call the New York Giants one of the teams that will be the most busy after the lockout ends is ignorant, and probably a little stupid. That said, they had a $126 million cap with the new one projected at $120 million and 15 free agents coming off the board.
They will definitely be busy.
Reports indicated that there will be a 72 hour window in which teams can sign their own free agents. With guys like Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, and Mathias Kiwanuka among those 15, you can bet the Giants will be active.
So what are the five most important things they need to take care of when the lockout finally see its resolution?
Re-Work Osi Umenyiora's Contract
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According to Sal Palantonio in an interview with ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, Osi Umenyiora and Co-owner John Mara sat down to have a talk about Osi's contract recently.
Apparently Osi did not back off his recent demands—pay me or I'm walking.
He wants to be paid as a top five defensive end in the league. I seriously doubt that's going to happen with the little cap space the Giants will have, but they might try and give him a decent raise.
I know one thing, Osi's not going to continue to make less than Chris Canty for much longer.
If he won't just take a modest raise, then trade him for a first rounder and be done with it.
Re-Sign Offensive Players Ahmad Bradshaw and Steve Smith
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Ahmad Bradshaw and Steve Smith are integral parts of the Giants offensive machine, and without those parts they could fail to function.
Bradshaw busted loose for a career year in 2010, and Steve Smith is just two years removed from one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver in New York Giants history.
They need to be re-signed, and perhaps this knee injury could get Smith to re-sign for a discount.
Bradshaw will have to be paid, however, and it could mean the end of Brandon Jacobs' time in New York.
Look into Signing Raiders TE Zach Miller
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Zach Miller is one of the more underrated tight ends in the NFL, and with a quarterback who can actually get him the ball, he could become one of the best.
He has three straight 55 reception, 685+ yard seasons, and this past year he even hauled in five touchdowns.
If the Giants are unable to come to an agreement with Kevin Boss, or just wish to upgrade the position, they should go after Miller.
Sign Mathias Kiwanuka, Let Barry Cofield Walk
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One thing I have thought about but never wrote about on this site is the possibility of Mathias Kiwanuka playing the strong side linebacker position that is currently vacant.
He has done so in the past and would be an upgrade over last year's starter Keith Bulluck. Bulluck was coming off knee surgery and could not move laterally very well, so his pass defense suffered.
He did collect two interceptions, but he was mostly used as a run defender.
Kiwanuka was expected to have a vast role in Perry Fewell's offense, one that included packages where he played linebacker.
I'm not sure the Giants want to put all their eggs in his basket given his history of injuries, but it is still a possibility.
I've also come to terms with the fact that Barry Cofield won't be a New York Giant in 2011. With the money needed to re-sign Bradshaw, Smith, possibly Miller, and Kiwanuka, there just might not be enough money to go around.
Cofield deserves a big contract, I'm just not sure the Giants are capable of giving it to him.,
Communicate with Rookies as Much as They Can
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This is one that all teams should have on their list, and probably disappointing that you're seeing it instead of me writing they should sign one of the many free agent defensive players on the market.
With the cap situation the way it is, the Giants won't be able to break the bank this offseason unless they cut some of their high salary players, which I don't see happening.
So when the lockout ends, the coaches, position coaches and any other front office personnel need to get off their seats and make sure all the rookies are as much up to speed as they can be before training camp starts.
I'm talking meetings specifically—teach the rookies what they don't already know, especially those offensive players who need to learn the playbook.
If the coaches are proactive, they can get a leg up whenever training camp actually begins.