Projected Lineups: NY Giants
After an ugly 2013 season the Giants find themselves if not fully rebuilding than at least seriously reloading through free agency and the draft. A team that has won a pair of Super Bowls in recent years looked quite some way short of that standard this year.
The team has decided to stick the course with their proven and trusted regime though and they have a track record of making lemonade out of lemons when their roster looks like it doesn’t quite belong with the very best in the league.
With some reasonable cap space the Giants have the ability to get back in the lead of a division that has no clear front runner entering the 2014 season.
– Player markers are colored per class on a six-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.
– In 2011 Eli Manning put together one of the best extended performances by a quarterback in the face of sustained pressure you are ever likely to see. Given the current state of the Giants’ offensive line he may need to repeat that going forward if the offense is to have any chance. William Beatty has shown impressive play in the past and Justin Pugh on the other side played pretty well as a rookie. Still, the line has real problems in between those two with Chris Snee’s marked decline only one of several problems. The Giants need to address the offensive line in the draft and probably with veterans too.
– When the Giants won their rings they did it largely on the back of a formidable front seven and a pretty fearsome ability to bring pressure up front. Jason Pierre-Paul is a fine player (though perhaps will never wind up being one of the league’s very best pass rushers) but outside of him there is precious little reinforcement. While the D-line has its issues, if anything, the linebacking corps is in even worse shape. The Giants need some serious defensive help here.
– New York seems to keep finding reasonable safety play from all comers but they have struggled to find quality corners in recent years. Terrell Thomas has been unlucky with a series of knee injuries and Corey Webster has declined from a point of once leading PFF’s grading over a season. Prince Amukamara was supposed to be the answer but needs to take another step forward to be the top guy in that defensive backfield. Even if he does they still need to find at least one more capable starter.
– Since Jake Ballard’s career collapsed in much the same way his knee did when he tried to run off an ACL tear in the Super Bowl, the Giants have been struggling to replace his spot at tight end. Martellus Bennett was the last reasonable player they had manning the position and they allowed him to walk after a season of quality play.
2014 Cap Situation
Currently in reasonable shape. The Giants have something in the region of $13.4m of cap space (per overthecap.com) and several more contracts that could be either cut loose or restructured to provide more. The team needs to fix some serious holes, so they will likely be looking to free agency as well as the draft in order to get that done. They have the cap space to make a couple of moves before the draft arrives and narrows their focus.
Chris Snee has a cap number of $11.3 million this season and his play has long since declined past the point where that is palatable. It sounds as if he himself is aware of that and there is talk of him ending his career by retiring. Getting his contract off the roster would add nearly $7 million to the Giants’ cap space. Antrel Rolle finally lived up to the hype that has surrounded him from the outset with a pretty good year, but he has a cap number of $9.25 million in 2014. Cutting him would free up more than $7 million, raising the question of restructuring at the very least. As ever, with a quarterback sitting on a $100 million+ contract Eli Manning has the potential to restructure his deal to give the team a little more flexibility against the cap.
Opportunities on the Roster
Given the state of the Giants’ roster the truth is there are opportunities almost everywhere for somebody with talent to step up and win a job. Linebacker in particular is crying out for somebody to win a spot but there is also serious opportunity on both lines. Sadly for the team, there are few, if any, candidates for actually taking those opportunities because the backups have proven largely to be even worse than the players ahead of them on the depth chart.
Projected lineups by team:
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