After the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, all 32 teams officially entered the offseason and started plotting how they could position themselves for a shot at Super Bowl XLIX. Shutdown Corner will look at the offseason blueprint for each of the 32 NFL teams, presenting one team a day (using the 2014 draft order, starting with the Houston Texans and finishing with the Seahawks), leading you right up to the start of free agency on March 11.
NEW YORK GIANTS
2013 record: 7-9
Projected current salary-cap space (according to OverTheCap.com): $12.6 million
Possible salary-cap casualties: OG Chris Snee, S Antrel Rolle, DE-LB Mathias Kiwanuka, C David Baas.
Draft situation: Have 12th overall pick, own all of their original picks except for their seventh-rounder (traded for Beason).
Revisiting 2013: Losing six straight games to open the season — even to four eventual playoff teams — was not what was expected out of this veteran bunch, including the core of a championship team two years earlier. It led to talk and speculation about the future of head coach Tom Coughlin, but the Giants finished fairly strong. Despite being outclassed in late-season losses to the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks, the Giants looked like a playoff-caliber team in winning seven of their final 10 games, despite the lack of consistent run game, a poor season from Eli Manning and a banged-up defense and receiving corps. Proof that Coughlin still can coach a little.
Reasons for optimism: Multiple Super Bowl winners Manning and Coughlin are two good reasons, and there are other star-quality contributors in Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz and Rolle (if he sticks around, perhaps as a reduced cap figure). The NFC East is still a division in transition that appears to lack on the defensive side of the ball, so the chances are good that Manning can bounce back under the guidance of new play caller Ben McAdoo with a few smart additions.
Glaring hole to fill: As it stands, the offensive line has question marks at nearly every spot. Left tackle Will Beatty hasn't lived up to his big contract yet. Boothe is a free agent. Both Baas and Snee are very possible cap victims. David Diehl has retired. Only Justin Pugh, coming off a solid rookie season, appears to be an iron-clad starter along with Beatty, and the Giants can't feel too good about that. The team likely needs help up front from multiple sources, including free agency and the draft, to fortify the front. The team has missed on some mid- and late-round picks in recent seasons, thinning the depth, too.
Toughest decision: The Giants will struggle with some of the players they must shed because of large salaries. And there will be some tricky navigation with Rolle, who appears to want to return (and deserves to based on an excellent season) but likely doesn't want to forfeit too much salary. Re-signing Beason appears to be likely, but the team also has a few other free agents to consider, including Nicks and Joseph. Right now, it would appear both could go, although Joseph is clearly the more likely of the two to be back. The problem is that he's not worth $9 million or more per season, as the franchise designation would assure him on a one-year deal, and there doesn't appear to be much movement on a long-term deal yet. Letting Nicks go means the Giants would go into the season with Cruz, Rueben Randle and Jerrell Jernigan as their top three receivers, but little else behind them.
Best-case offseason scenario: The Giants have a lot of needs, but they can't panic either, so expect a flurry of smaller and mid-level moves to fill them. First and foremost, they must repair the offensive line — first via free agency, then through the draft. Then there's the matter of finding cornerback and linebacker help, likely in the form of multiple bodies at each position. In addition, defensive end is a concern with Tuck a free agent and the disappointing Kiwanuka a possible cap victim. After that, they'll need to re-sign Andre Brown (or sign a similar veteran back on the cheap) and likely add another young back through the draft with David Wilson's recent neck surgery clouding his NFL future. This will be a very busy offseason for the Giants to be sure.
Previous Blueprints: 32. Houston Texans; 31. Washington Redskins; 30. Jacksonville Jaguars; 29. Cleveland Browns; 28. Oakland Raiders; 27. Atlanta Falcons; 26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 25. Minnesota Vikings; 24. Buffalo Bills; 23. Detroit Lions; 22. Tennessee Titans
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