QB: Eli Manning hasn’t missed a start in 135 games, which makes him the “NFL Ironman” at the QB position. In fact, only 2 other QBs have a streak half that long:
As a result, the Giants have often only carried 2 QBs on their roster in recent years. Eli Manning is 32, but should have plenty left in the tank. At what point do the Giants begin to think about drafting a QB to groom behind Eli? I don’t know the exact answer to that, but my guess is “not yet.”
David Carr is a free agent this offseason, but I suspect the Giants will make a push to retain him as Eli’s backup. The team also recently signed Curtis Painter.
RB/FB: The big question here is, “What’s going to happen with Ahmad Bradshaw?” Bradshaw always runs like it’s his last carry in the NFL, he’s a decent receiver, he plays hurt, and he has become one of the best pass protecting RBs in the NFL despite his smallish size. You have to love a player like that. Unfortunately, over the last 2 years, he has battled an assortment of injuries.
Bradshaw is due to make $3.75 million in 2013, but according to Matthew Cohen on SNY, the Giants face a $2.5 million cap hit if they cut him. Of course, the Giants could always ask Bradshaw to take a pay cut, but if I were Ahmad, a guy that has given everything he has to the Giants, my answer would go something like this:
Otherwise, the exciting/explosive David Wilson should continue to develop, and RFA Andre Brown has proven to be a good #2 if need be. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants grab a RB in the later rounds, but I don’t see it as an immediate need.
WR: Victor Cruz is a restricted free agent this offseason. That means the Giants can slap a 1st round tender on him for the low, low price of roughly $2.9 million:
At that point, Cruz can look for offers elsewhere around the league. If a team wants to sign Cruz, they would have to not only likely pay him something close to $10 million per season, but they would also have to surrender a 1st round pick. That’s not happening (just ask Mike Wallace). If a team was stupid enough to pay Cruz $10 million per season AND give up a 1, the Giants would then have a chance to match the offer.
The far more likely scenario is that Cruz doesn’t find any lucrative offers from other teams around the league and he faces the prospect of playing for way below market value for the 3rd consecutive season.
In the last 7 years, the Giants have spent 7 picks on the WR position within the first 3 rounds:
At some point Cruz is going to have to play in 2013, even if it’s under a contract that does not suit him. WR is not a need for the Giants this year, but don’t be surprised if they draft themselves some Victor Cruz insurance.
TE: Martellus Bennett started out 2012 on fire, but cooled off considerably the rest of the way.
Bennett also has a reputation for being a great blocker, and while I agree that he’s good, it’s not as if he’s Clint Didier. I think there’s a perception that Bennett has made himself into an attractive option in free agency. I don’t see that at all. If the Giants want him back on another “show me” 1-year deal, they can probably wait him out in free agency and get him back at a reasonable price.
It will also be interesting to see how far along Adrien Robinson has come since being drafted in the 4th round as a raw prospect with upside.
OL: I’m not saying anything new in noting that David Diehl has been very bad the last 2 years. It appears that the Giants also recognize that Diehl is not good. In 2010 and 2011, with Diehl playing on the left side, the Giants ran heavily to the right. In 2012, with Diehl playing the right side, the Giants ran heavily to the left:
The player that filled in for Diehl last season, and played better, was Sean Locklear. Locklear is a free agent. However it shakes out, the Giants need something better than Diehl/Locklear at RT next season.
But that’s the easy part. The far more worrisome position is LT, where Will Beatty is a free agent. Beatty is a good player who only has 31 career regular season starts, and should only get better. Bad OL play around the league has become an epidemic, so if Beatty is able to test the market, there’s a very good chance that some team out there is going to throw a lot of money at him, which the Giants may not be able to match because of their salary cap issues.
And oh yeah, versatile starting LG Kevin Boothe is also a free agent.
OL help, and more specifically OT, is by far and away the Giants’ biggest need area heading into this offseason. Fortunately for them, this upcoming draft is very deep at OT. The top two OT prospects are Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. There’s almost a 0% chance they’ll be available when the Giants draft at 19. However, if Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson somehow slips into the teens, the Giants might want to think about trading up to get him.