Justin Tuck is officially parting ways with the New York Giants. After two injury-riddled, struggle-filled years in 2011 and 2012, the two had grown apart, but a surge in 2012 left the door open for Tuck to return to the G-Men.
However, the Oakland Raiders offered Tuck two years and $11 million, which the Giants wanted no part of. New York declined to match the offer and said its goodbyes to Tuck.
Tuck led the Giants in sacks in 2013 with 11, most of which came in the second half of the season. With Tuck, New York is left with defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and Damontre Moore, who combined for a total of eight sacks last season.
Pierre-Paul battled through injuries, missing five games and seeing limited action in others. The four-year defensive end never seemed to fully recover from major offseason back surgery and then he suffered a serious shoulder injury that kept him out the last quarter of the season. All in all, Pierre-Paul finished the year with two total sacks. That makes a total of 8.5 sacks in the two seasons following his 16.5-sack season in 2011.
Kiwanuka had six sacks last year and was quiet for the majority of the season. He is far from a reliable pass rusher and is beginning to seem more and more like a situational player.
That leaves 2013 rookie Damontre Moore. Moore did not record a sack in his rookie campaign, as he failed to register any type of impact as a regular defensive player. However, Moore showed a spark on special teams and was able to block a couple of punts.
With Pierre-Paul’s recent struggles, Kiwanuka’s decline in production and Moore’s unproven abilities, the Giants are in a bit of a bind on the edges of their defensive line. Even if Pierre-Paul can get back to the player he was a couple of years ago, defenses will once again be able throw double teams at him without having to deal with a threat at the other defensive end position.
The Giants need to find another pass rusher, whether that is through free agency or the NFL Draft. New York’s pass rush struggled enough the past couple of years and now removing Tuck from that equation is sure to make things worse.