The New York Giants approached this offseason with a savvy and calculated rebuilding strategy. New York’s approach has followed a consistent pattern, looking to simultaneously get younger and add depth throughout the roster. Out of the Giants’ 19 free agents, only kicker Josh Brown, at 34, is over 30 years old.
The NFL is a ruthless and unforgiving business, and in order to remain competitive, the Giants correctly realize they need a young roster they can build around. The Giants deserve credit for refusing to spend money on aged veterans who act as a band-aid, temporarily shoring up a position until their advanced age catches up to them. The team let Justin Tuck, one of their most recognizable faces, depart for this exact reason and asked Super Bowl champion veterans Chris Snee and Mathias Kiwanuka to take substantial pay cuts.
I believe that the 2014 season will reward the Giants for their strategic approach. In addition to getting younger, New York’s roster already looks considerably more dynamic. All of this change brings an exciting new energy to New York, but team management should be careful not to undervalue experience and veteran leadership.
New Giants center J.D. Walton has only 36 career starts and a history of injury issues. The Giants have no replacement for Walton if he plays uninspired football. Last season Eli Manning got consistently harassed from interior pressure that directly impacted his ability to see the field. The Giants will only go as far as their quarterback takes them, and Eli can only contribute when his offensive line gives him time.
I believe that the Giants should continue with their aggressive free agency pattern and add a free-agent center for additional security. The market has been dormant for centers this offseason, and the Giants can presumably get a seasoned starter like Bryan De La Puente or Ryan Wendell, both 28, for a cap-friendly deal.