New York Giants: 3 Worst-Case Free Agency Scenarios for Them Post-Lockout
The NFL owners are apparently voting on a global settlement deal that would include a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement as I sit here typing, so the lockout could be over as soon as tonight when the NFLPA have a conference call with their executives.
The way things have been going, the pessimist in me believes the lockout won't be resolved until tomorrow or next Monday, but, hey, crazier things have happened.
If the lockout is finally lifted by tomorrow, that means starting next Monday teams will have a 72-hour window to re-sign their free agents.
This article will examine the worst case scenarios for the New York Giants in free agency, in order from bad to worse.
Not Signing Mathias Kiwanuka or Starting Caliber Outside Linebacker
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The more I write about this, the more it seems like this is what's going to happen. Mathias Kiwanuka has played linebacker in the past and brings a ton of versatility to the position.
If the Giants can re-sign him to a one-year deal—allowing him to prove he is healthy—it would give him the motivation to dominate at the position, maybe even more so than any free agents out there.
I've heard rumors in the past that several teams are interested in Kiwanuka's services, such as the Philadelphia Eagles. If he signs with another team and the Giants are unable to find a replacement, it could spell disaster.
I've been confident in 2011 sixth-round pick Greg Jones to come in and start, but that is dwindling the longer the lockout lasts.
Not Restructuring Osi Umenyiora's Contract/Not Getting 1st Round Pick in a Trade
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Osi Umenyiora has saved his demands for after the lockout is lifted, but he has not changed them in any way.
He wants to be given a raise or traded to a team that will give him that raise.
It's not a bad move for the Giants to explore a possible trade. They have depth at the position, just drafted Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round last year, and need to continue to rebuild the offensive line in the 2012 NFL draft.
However, they will do everything possible to convince Osi to stick around, but I'm not convinced they will break the bank like he expects.
According to Osi, he and Jerry Reese had a deal that if he were playing like it, he would get his contract restructured to that of a top five defensive end.
The problem is he was supposed to be at that level for the previous three years. Let's look: 2008, injured; 2009, benched; 2010, back to dominating.
That's not three years of top-five level, so honestly the Giants owe him squat.
If they cannot come to an agreement and are forced to explore a trade, anything less than a first-round pick would be a disappointment in my opinion.
Osi had 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in 2010. He's a game-changer and the Giants should be compensated accordingly if they have to give him up.
The Giants not holding on to Osi AND only getting a second-round pick or less for him would be a worst case scenario in my book.
Not Signing Ahmad Bradshaw or Decent Replacement
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The New York Giants have a terrific one-two punch at running back, but what happens when you take the one away from that combo?
Ahmad Bradshaw emerged as the team's starting running back pretty much at the outset of training camp in 2010, and while Brandon Jacobs made it known he wasn't happy about that, it was clear Tom Coughlin made the right decision.
Though he lost his starting title towards the end of the season due to fumbling issues, Bradshaw was still the workhorse back despite playing on surgically repaired feet.
Fully healthy in 2011, Bradshaw could emerge as a top five running back in the NFL.
Bradshaw told Sid Rosenberg on WQAM today that the Giants have the upper hand, but he's seriously considering the Miami Dolphins.
"Well it’s all in the Giants’ hands," Bradshaw said. "I love New York, I give them the upper hand. It is all about a business, it is a business. I take it very seriously where I want to be. I love New York and would love to stay there but then the money factor comes in."
Bradshaw had 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season with a major role, so he obviously deserves a decent contract.
However, the bulk of the money will have to be geared toward the end of the contract given the Giants current cap situation. They are a reported $8 million to $11 million over the projected cap right now, though they have a few players who nobody would miss if they were cut, as well as 15 free agents on the roster.
It's not crazy to think the Giants won't be able to afford Bradshaw, but they will do everything to get him back.
These three scenarios would really put the Giants in a deep hole moving forward. Yes, I could have put not signing a middle linebacker or a better tight end on the list, but those are just icing on the cake, not necessarily turn-for-the-worse season-changers.