The Giants have big questions to answer this off-season. The biggest of which, is finding out where the franchise stands as a whole. The team needs to decide if now it’s the whether or not it’s going to begin a rebuilding process. Many veterans have expiring contracts and some key pieces seem to be in place, but the expectation of playing in New York doesn’t usually allow teams that luxury. However, with 24 players coming off the books this off-season, the Giants may be left without a choice.
The first part of any rebuilding process begins with evaluating the talent that is already on the current roster. Justin Tuck will likely be the first player the Giants will evaluate. Tuck had 11 sacks this season and seemed to be returning to form down the stretch. Tuck will be looking to receive a contract that is similar to the one his former teammate, Osi Umenyiora, received from the Atlanta Falcons, but that price tag is far too high. Tuck has expressed interest in returning to the Giants, even possibly taking a home town discount, but like most things in the NFL it will come down to the money.
The decision on Antrel Rolle might be harder than it may appear on the surface. Rolle, a second team all-pro who finished second in the NFL in interceptions (6), was undoubtedly the Giants best defensive player. Not only was Rolle a statistical leader, he was the heart and soul of the Giants defense.While it seems like retaining him is a no brainer, he does count for $9.25 million against the cap which could make him a cap casualty. This leaves the Giants with a two options. The first of which would be to simply extend Rolle’s contract beyond 2015, alleviating some of his salary that would go against this season’s cap. The other option would be to cut him. By releasing Rolle, the Giants would save money they could use to resign Will Hill (Unrestricted Free Agent in 2015), Stevie Brown, and Trumaine McBride who are also free agents this off-season.
On the other hand one decision that is a no brainer is the one to extend Tom Coughlin. Coughlin is essential to the Giants rebuilding process. After the retirement of Kevin Gilbride and the strong possibility that special team’s coordinator, Tom Quinn, will lose his job, the coaching situation is more muddled than it has ever been during the Coughlin era. While he does have one year and around $7 million remaining on his current contract, a multi-year deal is necessary. Coughlin and the Giants have expressed mutual interest in an extension, but no deal is in place yet.
There are many other big names becoming free agents in 2014. Andre Brown, Jon Beason, David Diehl, Hakeem Nicks, Kevin Boothe, Brandon Myers, and Terrell Thomas are just some of the players whose future with the Giants is in jeopardy. With so many expiring contracts it seems highly unlikely the Giants will look like the same team we saw in 2013 and that might not be such a bad thing.