Media reports today revealed that the New York Giants will cut David Baas instead of offering their oft-maligned center a pay cut to remain with the team in 2014. The dismissal of Baas will save the team $1.7 million in cap space and aid in their immediate pursuance of other free agent offensive linemen.
New York’s decision was heavily influenced by Baas’ current inadequate bill of health; the center is coming off both neck and back surgeries and is still considered physically unfit to play. Although the team could have saved more than an additional $3 million by waiting until after June 1 to cut Baas, general manager Jerry Reese is showing savvy leadership by acting swiftly.
Waiting on Baas to recover to full strength would mean wasting valuable time. The premier free agents at both center and guard are likely to get contract offers from NFL teams immediately and will sign with teams before the end of the week. By June 1, the only remaining pieces left in the free agent market will be short-term veteran fixes. The Giants have too long relied on stop-gap players to protect quarterbak Eli Manning and seen lackluster results.
This year, however, the Giants are pursuing a different strategy. Today’s reports reveal that Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith is likely to sign with a team almost immediately after free agency commences, and both the Giants’ decision to unexpectedly cut Baas now, and Dietrich-Smith’s relationship with new Giants offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo suggest that New York might very likely be Dietrich-Smith’s destination.
Kudos to Reese for accurately realizing that in order to correct a recurring problem, the Giants need to aggressively pursue a young and talented player like Dietrich-Smith. With experience at both guard and center, the Packer offensive lineman is a perfect fit for the Giants. If this move pans out, it will hopefully signal the beginning of a fruitful free-agency period for New York.