Predicting the New York Giants’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
New York Giants: Predicting the 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
The New York Giants rebounded after a dismal 0-6 start to finish the season with a relatively respectable 7-9 record, but this roster could see a lot of overhaul during the offseason.
Several key contributors are free agents, such as WR Hakeem Nicks, DE Justin Tuck, MLB Jon Beason and DT Linval Joseph just to name a few. On top of deciding what to do with their own free agents, the Giants have quite a few other holes to fill which they will look to do through free agency and the draft. Depending on what happens with the above players, the Giants will also likely be in the market for several offensive linemen, a tight end, a cornerback, a running back and a linebacker.
Owner John Mara has already gone on record as identifying the offensive line as the top priority this offseason which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who watched Eli Manning continually under siege this past season. With Chris Snee potentially retiring, Kevin Boothe a free agent, David Baas a potential cap casualty and William Beatty a question mark after breaking his leg in Week 17, this unit could (and probably should) see as many as three new starters in 2014.
Of course, as with any offseason forecast, there's the caveat that we have no idea which positions the Giants will target in the draft and which they will address through free agency. Given the Giants traditionally employ a "best player available" strategy come draft time, it's entirely possible that the front office is yet to know which direction they will head in either.
One thing is clear, however: The Giants have a lot of holes to fill and don't have much available cap space with which to fill it. If they choose to re-sign Nicks, Joseph, Beason, Tuck or any combination of the four, they could have even less, making it imperative that they identify quite a few value buys in free agency.
5. Evan Dietrich-Smith
The David Baas signing hasn't worked out at all for the Giants as even when Baas is on the field, he hasn't been very effective. Baas was one of the main culprits this season for the Giants' offensive line turning into a veritable turnstile.
Evan Dietrich-Smith has anchored the Green Bay Packers' offensive line from his center position for the last three seasons and enters free agency at 27-years-old with what would appear to be several good years left. Although the Green Bay line experienced a rash of injuries around him, Dietrich-Smith hasn't missed a game since he took over as the starter. With the Giants desperately looking to upgrade the interior of their line, this is a guy they should take a long look at.
4. James Jones
Hakeem Nicks is an impending free agent and coming off his worst season as a pro where he didn't score a single touchdown. Nicks will likely want to be paid like a star receiver and will probably price himself out of the Giants' range.
Although there are several other big name receivers on the market, the Giants will likely have to look to someone who will provide production without breaking the bank. With new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo having come over from Green Bay, James Jones seems like a natural fit. Although he's had some injury issues and is on the wrong side of 30, Jones could serve as a nice complement for Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle in the Giants' passing attack.
3. Zane Beadles
Keeping with the interior linemen theme, the Giants face the possibility of losing both starting guards from last season's opening week, Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe. Snee has hinted at retirement and Boothe is a free agent meaning the Giants will likely have to look for at least one new guard.
Fresh off a run to the Super Bowl, Zane Beadles is a free agent and could be just what the doctor ordered for a Giants line that's in complete disarray. Although Beadles may command a contract out of the Giants' price range, he has the added benefit of playing every game the past three seasons which would be a welcome sight for the Giants.
2. Toby Gerhart
With Andre Brown a free agent and David Wilson dealing with spinal stenosis that could have his career very much in doubt, the Giants need to address their backfield this offseason. The Giants got by with a combination of Wilson, Brown, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs last season, but they need an insurance policy for 2014.
Toby Gerhart has served as the backup to Adrian Peterson in Minnesota for the last few seasons, but he's been quietly productive when he's gotten his chance. While there are several more enticing names in the running back market, Gerhart seems like he could find himself in the Giants' price range and be able to carry the load if Wilson doesn't return.
1. Scott Chandler
Perhaps the biggest black hole on the Giants roster in 2013 was the tight end position. After watching Martellus Bennett sign a big money deal with the Chicago Bears, the Giants inked Brandon Myers to a one-year pact and watched him flounder his way through the season. New York has now started three different tight ends in the past three seasons, and it's time for them to land a long-term solution.
Although Scott Chandler won't wow you, he's a very solid pass catcher and in-line blocker who has been surprisingly effective for the Buffalo Bills. Chandler's big frame would help with some of Eli Manning's errant throws and his blocking would be a huge benefit to the beleaguered line.