This offseason the Giants will be looking to fix their most glaring problem from last season, their offensive line. With the retirement of David Diehl, and the likelihood that Chris Snee, David Baas, and Kevin Boothe will all become cap casualties, there could be as many as four new starters up front next season. With so many holes to fill the team will have to exhaust every option. The Giant’s scouts will undoubtedly have their eyes on the offensive line prospects in next week’s combine and it’s not unrealistic to think that they could use multiple picks on lineman. However Tom Coughlin and company can’t rely on draft picks alone to fix their biggest weakness, they will need veteran help as well.
Alex Mack, the center from the Browns, is going to be the hottest commodity among offensive line free agents this March. Cleveland is in front office turmoil, they traded Trent Richardson mid-season, and their Quarterback, Brandon Weeden, is looking to jump ship. With so much trouble around a franchise that hasn’t produced a play-off appearance in 12 years Mack may want bring his talents elsewhere. Mack and the Browns were seeking to work a long term deal last offseason, but since then his general manager, head coach, and offensive line coach have all been fired. Mack was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl this season and has played every snap since he was drafted.
The Chiefs are the exact opposite of the Giants this off-season. They have too many offensive linemen; so many so that they’re even letting go of former first rounder Branden Albert. However Albert is 29, and the Giants need to think further into the future. Jon Asamoah, an offenisve guard, is 25 and was a starter for the Chiefs until he lost his starting job to Geoff Schwartz because of injury. Asamoah is completely healthy now but Schwartz’s dominating play last season suggests that they will likely re-sign him as opposed to Asamoah. They four year player is 6’4”, 305 pounds and has only allowed six sacks since he became a starter in 2011, and the Giants need help in pass protection after they surrendered 40 sacks last year. The Giants have shown interest in signing him, and more importantly he should be in their price range.
NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, will have players to be had this offseason as well. As of right now, Dallas finds themselves about $25 million over the salary cap. The only way to get under the salary cap is to restructure with players on the current roster and to make cuts. One of those cuts expected to be made is Mackenzy Bernadeau. After the 2012 season, in which Bernadeau struggled with pass protection, the Cowboys signed Brian Waters to replace him after. Waters missed last year with an injury, which gave Bernadeau the starting role back and he had his best season with the Dallas. The Cowboys are also expected to release Center, Phil Costa. Costa was supposed to be the Center of the future for the Cowboys, but since they drafted Travis Frederick in the first round, Costa has been out of the starting line-up.
Off-season moves like these and the right draft picks, could hasten the Giants rebuilding process. After all, it’s common knowledge in the NFL that the key to building a consistent winner starts with bolstering the offensive line.