The New York Giants have issues, as you would expect from a team that didn't qualify for the postseason. But some are more pressing than others. In my view, here are four hot topics facing general manager Jerry Reese with an eye towards the National Football League Draft in late April.
Unrestricted Free Agents -- The Giants have several pending unrestricted free agents, including Osi Umenyiora and Kenny Phillips. Figuring out who stays and goes is going to shape next season's roster. Furthermore, the decisions made on the UFAs are going to impact next season's payroll. Remember, the G-Men have to get under the salary cap so they can lock up restricted free agent Victor Cruz. Thus, we may have seen the last of high-priced Umenyiora in a Giants uniform.
Fix the Secondary -- Big Blue allowed a franchise-record 6,134 yards this past season with more than half of those yards (4,068) being yielded by the secondary. Furthermore, New York allowed a league-high 29 passes of at least 30 yards and 60 passes of more than 20 yards. Outside of safety Stevie Brown, who pulled down a team-best eight interceptions, the secondary was the team's weakest link. Hence, the Giants may be forced to re-sign Phillips and look for depth in the draft.
Restore the Offensive Line -- Going back to my first point, tackles Will Beatty and Sean Locklear, plus guard Kevin Boothe, are unrestricted free agents. The Giants almost have to bring back Beatty and Boothe out of necessity. And Locklear may be a cheaper alternative to veteran guard David Diehl, who is entering the final year of his contract. Speaking of salary cap hits, guard Chris Snee and center David Baas are entering the final years of their deals and may need to restructure them.
Bolster the Pass Rush -- The Giants' pass rush lost its mojo in 2012. The team had 15 fewer sacks this past season than the year before, mostly due to the drop off in production from defensive ends Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. They finished the season with a combined 16.5 sacks. To put that in perspective, Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks by himself in 2011. With Umenyiora unlikely to return, the Giants may try to bolster the D-line in the first round of the NFL Draft.
More Giants content from this Yahoo! Contributor:Giants Face Tough Decisions on Unrestricted Free Agents Five Reasons Why the Giants Missed the Playoffs The Five Most Disappointing Giants of 2012 Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. He proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @Pegcitysports. Sources
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Osi Umenyiora
- National Football League Draft
- Unrestricted Free Agents