John Fennelly, Lead Writer
This week we’ve been talking offense line, the area where the Giants need to get some instant stability this offseason. We’ve canvassed our readers on what they would do to fix the situation (we’ll print some of those suggestions in another post) but first I would like to address a few quick questions.
How serious is the Giants’ offensive line situation?
Fennelly: It’s practically dire, personnel-wise. I think they need three new starters. They will seek to sign at least two in free agency and then bring in another via the draft. Who those players will be are debatable. Their cap situation and needs at other positions will limit what they can do.
My assessment is they already have their two tackles and center. Will Beatty and Justin Pugh are currently at tackle and David Baas is the center. Pugh can play anywhere and Beatty can play either side. The Giants have some flexibility with them if they bring in a big name.
Baas’ cap number will be hard for the Giants to shed, so he’s probably staying. That means no Alex Mack, Evan Dietrich-Smith or Brian de la Puente via free agency. Cutting Baas before June 1st would cost the Giants $6.45 million. If released after June 1st, it would only result in a $3.2 million cap hit.
They need guards. David Diehl retired and Chris Snee, barring a complete medical turnaround, could be behind him. The Giants could bring back Kevin Boothe, who has proved his worth over time, so we’re possibly looking at only one add here. That add needs to be a big one, however.
Eric Herman, a 2013 seventh-round draft pick who the team was high on, could factor into the equation at guard as could Jim Cordle at center. But clearly, if better players are available, the Giants will focus on upgrading.
How does the hiring of Ben McAdoo help the Giants on the offensive line?
Fennelly: I said all year the Giants’ primary issue was the length of time it took to get a play into Eli Manning’s headset. The process slowed the offense down to the point where defenses dug in and teed off on them. They fooled no one.
Sure, talent and depth played a huge role, too, but the slow pace is what really killed them. By taking so much time to get the play into the huddle, Eli had less time to read defenses and audible and players were more apt to miss assignments by not having enough time between the call and the snap.
Eli works better in an up-tempo offense. McAdoo will make sure the offense moves at a quicker pace and the line identifies their assignments more quickly. I think the new strategy will make everyone better.
With the Giants in need of offensive lineman, do you see them making a play for Jonathan Martin?
Fennelly: No, for several reasons. First off, they don’t need to add to their misery by bringing in a player with the type of baggage Martin is carrying. Bringing him into the nexus of pro football media would be the last thing he, or the Giants, need at this point in time. Second, Martin is not good enough a player for the Giants to take such a gamble on. They would have to trade for Martin and it’s unclear what the Dolphins would want in return.