John Fennelly, Lead Writer2014 promises to be a turning point in Giants’ history. The roster roulette wheel has been churning and probably won’t stop for awhile. John Mara has adapted some of Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft’s management skills when handling players and salaries.
Kraft is known for treating players like family, but when it comes to keeping them and paying them past their prime, he draws the line. We have seen the Giants begin to do that this offseason with several players, i.e. Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks.
The club has several core players remaining they plan on building around, but those players won’t find themselves in the core for too much longer if they underperform.
QB Eli Manning – After leading the league in INTs last year, Eli will have to be less careless, more productive and return to form as a championship-caliber QB. The new offense will play to his strengths by speeding things up and giving him less time to slip into bad habits and turn the football over. Manning needs a strong season to convince the Giants’ hierarchy he’s worthy of a contract extension.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul – This year is crucial to him as it’s the final year on his contract. The back issues are said to be behind him and the rehab from his shoulder injury is on schedule. That being said, JPP has to have a throwback season for the Giants to a) have a successful pass rush this year and b) make himself marketable for next March’s free agent class. If he struggles again, and the Giants see no upside, expect him to get the Nicks/Tuck treatment from the Giants after the season.
OT Will Beatty – As far as we know, the Giants will give Beatty the chance to reassert himself back at the LT position. He could begin camp on PUP if he’s not fully healed from the broken tibia that ended his 2013 season. The Giants are relying on Beatty to be their man protecting Eli’s blindside and should he continue to slip, they will be looking for another solution at LT.
WR Rueben Randle – In his third season, Randle has to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him. The Giants will need him to step up to the next level as a player. Last year, he looked awkward and confused at times and needs to polish himself up as a pro. The Giants are counting on him, too, having let Nicks go. If he falters, they could be in trouble.
S Antrel Rolle – He is in the final year of his contract and is willing to sign an extension. The Giants have not made any overtures in that direction. Rolle could play this entire season with free agency staring him in the face. Perhaps that is the Giants’ plan to motivate him further. He will be 32 this December and the Giants just might take their chances signing him back as a UFA next March rather than paying him up now.