The New York Giants' $200 million offseason rebuild got them into the playoffs for the first time in five years. It just didn’t take them any further.
Sunday’s deflating 38-13 loss at the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round ended the Giants season, underscoring that while this team has made progress from recent years they still are nowhere near elite.
Three Things for the Giants to address this offseason:
The offensive line – Easily the weakest unit on the Giants on either side of the ball, the team and general manager Jerry Reese need to upgrade at right tackle and right guard this offseason. Ideally, the Giants will find an answer at left tackle in the NFL Draft, allowing the current starter there Ereck Flowers to move to the right side but that likely won’t happen. Simply, the team seems unwilling to explore that option.
So finding a good right tackle and a solution at right guard is ideal for the Giants, who struggled to protect Manning much of the season. If they can address their offensive line issues, this team could be poised for a long and deep run in the playoffs in 2017.
Be prepared to let JPP walk – This won’t be popular for Giants fans, especially after a season where Jason Pierre-Paul registered seven sacks. But the Giants showed over the last month of the season that they can get good production from their defensive line without Pierre-Paul. They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times this past season.
Given the relative strength of the defensive line and the good production from rookie Romeo Okwara and veteran defensive end Kerry Wynn, this might not be a huge priority. Plus the Giants can always look to the draft for some good edge rushers to bolster their overall depth.
He might be a Giants legend, but JPP has played a full season just once in the last four years. There’s beginning to be diminishing returns here. Not an easy call by any stretch, but it's time for JPP to go.
Draft a replacement for Cruz – Given the spending on the defense this past offseason, the Giants shouldn’t be afraid to look offensive line in the first round and then a wide receiver with their next pick. In Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants have two bright players as downfield targets in their wide receiver stable.
But the veteran Victor Cruz was hot-cold this season and the Giants must be willing to let him walk if his price isn’t reasonable. He struggled to find separation this season and his burst and wiggle of old just isn’t there anymore. If he’s willing to come back cheap (again) then the Giants should listen. If not, they should look to draft his replacement.