Brandon Marshall to the New York Giants is a big thing for both the player and his new team, but despite the massive news a Super Bowl is not in the picture…not yet and not without some more work to be done for the Giants.
The signing of Marshall, one of the league’s truly "bigly" wide receivers enhances not only the options down the field for quarterback Eli Manning, but helps take the pressure off of star target Odell Beckham Jr. Last year, Beckham continued to face double teams as defenses shifted towards him in an attempt to neutralize the team’s one true playmaker. In Marshall, the Giants are adding a red zone threat to an offense that had trouble punching it into the end zone last year. He’s also a big target, a possession receiver just two years removed from one of the best seasons of his 11 years in the league.
He changes the offense and adds a new dimension to the playbook. He also is a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
But what Marshall can’t do is protect his new quarterback and no amount of shiny new toys for Manning will help the Giants if he’s making throws from his back like he had to in 2016.
The offensive line was among the worst in the league for the Giants last year, a unit that really was a hodgepodge of talent. Ereck Flowers, set to enter his third year in the NFL and a former first round pick, has been an unmitigated disaster. Up and down the line there have been injuries and struggles.
There is no depth, and the talent level of the unit is easily bottom five in the league.
Marshall is a nice addition, a player who wanted to stay in the market after two years with the New York Jets. He can further his television ambitions with the Giants being a stone’s throw from New York City and he play for a winner. What he won’t be doing is winning a playoff game if this line doesn’t get better.
The Giants are set to [over]pay Jason Pierre-Paul top money after placing the franchise tag on him, and keep in mind they need cap flexibility to re-sign Beckham either this year or next offseason. After all the matriculating is done, there’s not a ton of money to go around on offensive linemen and sitting at No. 23 in this spring’s NFL Draft, there’s certainly no guarantee that there will be a high-end tackle or guard available who can step right in and start.
Management and the coaching staff also must be willing to move Flowers after a disastrous two seasons at left tackle. Perhaps on the right side of the line he can excel. At the very least, it might hide his deficiencies.
Without at least two quality starters added to the line, the signing of Marshall means absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. The old nada. The work isn’t done here.
Now the Giants had to bring on board Marshall, it is a deal that made too much sense, a discount that adds up to a bargain for general manager Jerry Reese. But if the rest of the offseason isn’t a success in beefing up that line – and the Giants struck out several times in free agency a year ago there – then this hype about Marshall means nothing.
And then nothing will be the epitaph on the Giants' 2017 season.