By Daniel Brennan on March 9, 2014
The New York Giants are facing one of their most important offseasons in recent history after a very disappointing 2013 season. Although they are just two years removed from a Super Bowl victory, a certain amount of rebuilding must be done if the G-Men are going to attempt a return to Super Bowl glory in the Eli Manning era. Here is a look at New York’s five biggest free agents in the 2014 offseason.
In his four years in the NFL, Linval Joseph has developed into a very nice player along the defensive line. The Giants would hate to see Joseph go but they may not be able to afford to keep him around. At just 25 years of age, Joseph could get some major contract offers that the Giants won’t be able to match. If Joseph does in fact leave, New York could look to sign a veteran defensive tackle for cheap money.
Jon Beason came over to New York from Carolina and made an immediate impact on the defense. He quickly became a leader, both vocally and by example. Beason played in just 12 games for New York and was still second on the team in tackles, behind only Antrel Rolle. The Giants should do whatever they can to bring Beason back. If Beason does not return, the linebacker corps will have to be addressed in either the draft or free agency.
The Giants had a committee of running backs attempt to put their stamp on the position a season ago. David Wilson does not seem to be ready for a feature role but he is still young. Andre Brown was the most consistent when he finally returned to the field in the second half of the year. His production dipped towards the end of the season but he was the biggest spark the Giants had all year long.
Hakeem Nicks was cleared by doctors last week. However, his performance over the course of the 2013 season indicated something was not right, either physically or emotionally. Nicks did not look like the receiver he was in 2011, when he torched defenses in the playoffs. It should be time for the Giants to move on without Nicks, as he and the coaching staff did not seem to be on the same page last year.
Justin Tuck looked to be out of gas. Most people (including me) thought his time in New York had come to an end. And then the 2013 season happened. Tuck looked re-energized, as he brought New York’s pass rush a little bit of life. Tuck finished the year with 11 sacks, including 7.5 over a four-game span. He led the team in this category, as Jason Pierre-Paul suffered through another year of injuries and inconsistent play.
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