Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls
up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
TIME TO SHAKE OFF 2023 AND LOOK UPWARD TO THE DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY...
EMBRACE THE TOUGH CHANGES THAT ARE BOUND TO COME
had time to shake it off now, wash the 2023 season away clean. You are now ready
to move on, forward into the offseason and 2024.
to the Great Reset. Again.
general manager Joe Schoen, have to remain focused and vigilant to get the Giants
to a better place. Scattershot is not a strategy. But where do we begin? The draft
already? Free agency? Coaching?
to all of the above, but with restraint.
The Giants, like all NFL teams, have the ability to operate on multiple fronts,
a luxury we don't have. They have a constantly moving scouting division, both
pro and college, as well as a specific core unit focused on the NFL Draft (April
25-27). They have people who do nothing but cap management and people who run
analytics, aiding both on- and off-field personnel concerns.
Per Spotrac.com, the Giants are currently projected to go into 2024 with just
less than $28 million under the cap. Don't fret too much about that number as
the team can easily convert salaries to bonuses and make key personnel decisions
that can bring plenty more room under the cap. However, some of those decisions
can be painful, and among those made will involve running back Saquon Barkley,
Xavier McKinney, Adoree Jackson, Tyrod Taylor, Isaiah Simmons, A'Shawn Robinson
and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, among others, who are all without a contract entering
the new league year (March 13).
likely will be discussions related to the contract statuses and financial futures
of players including Darren Waller, Mark Glowinski, Graham Gano, and Darius Slayton,
with the goal of not only creating more cap space but to focus on the roster architecture
of the future.
Question: What would
you do with Barkley? McKinney? Simmons? Only Barkley would be a reasonable candidate
for the Franchise Tag (estimated to be $12 million for a running back), but has
he earned a long-term deal? Maybe he's earned a free release into the open market.
Remember, it's not just about money. It's also about team personality and respecting
a player as well as the roster.
about the draft? Sure, easy to say, “Just draft a quarterback,” but is it really
that simple? Of course not. First, success for any quarterback is not guaranteed
and the risk of missing on a Top 10 pick can be disastrous. Of course, you know
that already. Second, after USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye
- and even they do not come with a guarantee - the rest of the group brings a
drop off and more questions than answers.
At the sixth slot, the Giants will
likely miss out on Williams and Maye unless a deal can be made with Chicago, which
owns Carolina's top pick as well as their own at No. 9. No.1 Washington and No.
3 New England are believed to be targeting quarterbacks and even No. 4 Arizona
could very well grab a quarterback if there is one they like.
it's all about, conviction. Are the Giants convinced that Williams and Maye are
worth selling the farm for? Undoubtedly the team is already working that angle
and will do so at a higher level at the Senior Bowl (Feb. 3) and the NFL Scouting
Combine (Feb 29-March 3) and all the time in between now. Are they convinced that
Jones is the quarterback of the near future? Of course, money is a factor of that
What about the offensive line,
the unit that has taken the brunt of the blame for the last several years? Feels
like 100, but regardless, the unit seems to need new talent. There happens to
be two or three offensive linemen rated in the current Top 10-12, including Notre
Dame's Joe Alt and Penn State's Olumuyiwa Fashanu among a good class that could
tempt the Giants into trading down a bit to justify drafting an OL in the first
round. That No. 6 pick may not be the right spot.
The Giants definitely need a true No. 1 wide receiver and this could be the year
to get one, like Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., Washington's Rome Odunze or
LSU's Malik Nabers. There is strong support for such a move, but one could argue
that a top receiver could wither on the vine if the passing game isn't fixed.
Same argument for drafting a quarterback if the line isn't fixed. Still, it's
all about value.
Edge rusher? Maybe
one or two, but probably not in the Top 6. Running back? Been there, done that.
Tight end? No thanks. The Giants' sixth pick is a blessing and a curse as they
are probably out of the blue-chip quarterback chase, barring a trade, but maybe
sitting a little too high to justify an offensive linemen, at least as it stands
now. Does that mean they just have to take a wide receiver? It wouldn't be a mistake
but would it be the best move to improve the team in 2024? Unclear.
you're muttering to yourself now, they can't really fix the financial situation
related to Daniel Jones as he's still getting his money, though they could convert
his $35.5 million 2024 salary into bonus money to free up space. And, yes, there's
an out built into the contract that takes effect after this season, with a roughly
$22 million cap hit. The Giants would take a massive cap hit if they wanted to
move on this year whether he is released as a pre-June 1 or post-June 1. No big
deal, you say? That money would hamstring the team for future signings.
you want to move forward with Jones or not, the money is still the one of the
elephants in the room... there are more than a few.
Send it all over to email@example.com
me on Twitter @_AaronKlein_
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