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New York Giants Keep or Dump: Michael Boley

January 16th, 2013 at 5:34 PM
By Paul Tierney

Before the 2012 season, New York Giants' Michael Boley was being heralded as the most complete linebacker on the roster, His ability to cover tight ends down the field, as well as provide run support made him an invaluable resource to Big Blue's 2011 Super Bowl victory. However, just like the Giants 2012 campaign, Boley's season did not go as planned. After battling nagging injuries for much of the year, the eighth year veteran saw significantly reduced playing time in the final three games of the season. 

Boley will enter the final year of his contract in 2013 at 31 years old. He's owed $4.25 million, which quite frankly, is not a bad price for a versatile weak-side linebacker. If the team believes Boley's shortcomings were due to something other than a declining skill-set, then this is less of a debate than many are making it out to be. However, with the Giants tight salary cap situation, the team may very well look to younger options to fill Boley's role on defense next season.

Spencer Paysinger has been a player that the Giants have liked ever since they signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon two years ago. When Boley was on the sidelines during the stretch run of the 2012 season, Paysinger benefited most in terms of increased playing time. He has good size, above average athleticism and the ability to make tackles in the open field. It's unclear whether Paysinger's ready to take on full-time linebacker duties, but his emergence could allow the Giants to cut Boley loose and wipe out nearly their entire salary cap deficit in one shot.

Jacquian Williams is another second year player who many thought would come out and have a strong 2012 campaign. However, he was plagued by a multitude of injuries that never allowed him to become a productive player on the defense. That said, Williams has experience starting on defense and has shown the athleticism to accomplish anything the coaching staff could ask of him. He has excellent size and his elite speed give him incredible range. He needs to bulk up a little bit over the offseason, but Williams is an athletic specimen that has the ability to develop into a mainstay on the Giants defense.

The upcoming NFL draft is also a possible method in which the Giants can find a replacement for Boley. With the 19th pick, it's highly unlikely the team is able to acquire the likes of Jarvis Jones, or even Manti Te'o. However, the Giants have shown a propensity for finding value in the mid-rounds of the draft and even with undrafted free agents. Big Blue doesn't need to swipe a superstar linebacker prospect from the top of the draft board, they just need to find someone that fits their scheme and can play as part of a cohesive unit.

From the outside, it appears as if it makes more sense to let Boley walk and save some salary cap room. There's a good chance he's on the downside of his career and he's coming off a season in which he wore down during the stretch run. However, it's also possible that we are placing too much emphasis on his performance during the final three games of 2012. For most of Boley's career with the Giants, he's been the most talented and productive linebacker on the roster. Given the lack of depth the team has at the position right now, are they really going to get rid of a guy who is capable of being the best linebacker on the team?

It's a tough question to answer, but one that Jerry Reese is going to have to face as the offseason progresses. However, Giants 101 wants to hear what you, the readers, have to say about Michael Boley's future with the team. Let us know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Football, Jacquian Williams, Jerry Reese, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, Spencer Paysinger, Super Bowl

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25 Responses to “New York Giants Keep or Dump: Michael Boley”

  1.  Krow says:

    Screw Boley. Let’s draft Manti Te’o … and then bilk him out of his signing bonus.

  2.  kujo says:

    As always, the question here is about value and depth. Boley’s value is simple–he’s a veteran who knows the system about as well as anyone on the team. He can call the signals and can play at least 2 of the linebacker positions. He’s also due to make a lot of money, and he’s worth it if you assume that he will perform his duties in a consistent and above-average manner.

    The depth around him is questionable. Jaiqucan Williams didn’t exactly have an inspiring sophomore season. Keith Rivers did his usual Hurt Kid routine. Spencer Paysinger looked good enough in limited action, but hasn’t given us nearly enough of a sample size to determine whether or not he’s a real player. Herzlich didn’t impress. Blackburn is a journeyman who may or may not be on the team anymore. Kiwi is rumored to be on his way back to the defensive line. Practice squaders are just that–practice squaders, and until proven otherwise, really shouldn’t be entered into the calculus here.

    So, that being said, should we dump Boley? Not unless we’re gonna draft or sign a a Day One starter to replace him. Too much volatility.

  3.  Dirt says:

    We should dump Boley and Thomas and draft a defensive coordinator.

  4.  Dirt says:

    I am scared of Chip Kelly converting 2 point conversions all damn day from 2 yards out while Coughlin stands on the sideline with mouth open like sleeve of wizard as Tynes misses short from 42 yards (because the extra 3 is necessary when you trade 8 for 7).

  5.  G-MenFan says:

    He gets a “Mulligan” for 2012.

    Keep.

  6.  Krow says:

    How many ‘big hits’ can anyone recall our LBs making in 2012? You know … the kind where you say, “wow, that’s gotta hurt”.

    •  kujo says:

      Couple with Blackburn.

    •  sonnymooks says:

      Not many, not many at all, and thats a big big problem. You NEED hitters, at the end of the day, football is football, and the harder hitting team, more often then not, beats the softer team.

  7.  creewan says:

    OFFENSE

    Dump: Hixon, Diehl, Bradshaw, Beckum, Barden, Lumpkin, Scott, Torrain, Pascoe, Tynes, Locklear

    Keep: Beatty, Boothe, Bennett, Cordle, Carr, Cruz, Andre

    DEFENSE

    Dump: Osi, Phillips, Boley, Rivers, Bernard, Tryon, Rogers, Witherspoon, T2

    Keep: Stevie, Canty, Blackburn, Tracy, Trattou

    DRAFT

    1. MLB/CB
    2. OT/DT
    3. DT/OT (whichever not drafted 2nd)
    4. CB/MLB (whichever not drafted 1st)
    5. BPA
    6. BPA
    7. BPA
    8. K

    Whether or not you agree or disagree with this scenario… If we go this route what kind of shape do you think we will be in cap wise (assuming SOMEONE takes a paycut/restructure)?

    I think we are in okay shape. We can make some moves in free agency. Possibly some depth at OL, DB, LB. Guys who can contribute to special teams and provide competition/depth.

    Thoughts?

    •  creewan says:

      OFFENSE (17)

      QB – Manning, Carr
      FB – Hynoski
      RB – Wilson, Brown,
      WR – Nicks, Cruz, Randle, JJ
      TE – Bennett, Robinson
      OT – Beatty, Brewer
      OG – Boothe, Snee
      C – Baas, Cordle

      DEFENSE (19)

      DE – Tuck, JPP, Kiwi, Ojomo
      DT – Canty, Joseph, Austin/Kuhn
      OLB – Williams, Paysinger, Herzlich, Tracy
      MLB – Blackburn
      CB – Webster, Prince, Jayron
      S – Rolle, Brown, Hill, Sash

      SPECIALS (3)
      LS – Deossie
      P – Weatherford
      K – Draft (pick 8)

      That leaves 14 open roster spots.
      About 6 on defense.
      About 8 on offense.
      Give/take 1 or 2 on either side of the ball.

      7 of the 14 spots are draft picks (8th spot taken by kicker).

      First 4 picks

      1. MLB/CB
      2. OT/DT
      3. DT/OT (whichever not drafted 2nd)
      4. CB/MLB (whichever not drafted 1st)

      That leaves us with…

      Offense (18)
      Defense (22)

      And 3 more picks…

      5. OL BPA
      6. WR BPA
      7. RB BPA

      Any order. Now we’re at…

      Offense (21)
      Defense (22)

      Sign one OL vet
      Sign one CB vet
      Sign one TE vet
      Sign one K vet to compete

      Offense (23)
      Defense (24)
      Specials (3)

      That’s 50 players. Add 3 UDFA’s or PS players.

      Thoughts?

  8.  jb322 says:

    I have seen alot of talk about the players coming and going this offseason. If you look at the cap numbers, They point to Webster, Canty and Boley being cut. Not because thay are done but because everybody else is too expensive to cut. Cut Diehl? Forget it, it would cost us 3 million in dead cap space. Baas? $4.5 mil. Bradshaw? $2.5 mil. Further, I think Canty is a June cut to spread the numbers over 2 years. I look for Tuck, Diehl and Snee to renegotiate to add 2-3 years on to their contracts for much less money, effectively making them Giants for life. I look for Eli to renegotiate too, his $20 mil cap numbers for ’13 and ’14 are cap busters. With Osi’s $6 mil and the $3 mil of dead cap coming back to us we should be able to sign the Browns, Cruz, Beatty and Boothe.

    •  creewan says:

      Excellent post. Excellent points. Thanks for doing the research and explaining the cap hits. It makes a big difference in deciding/projecting who stays and goes.

      My only question is if we ad 2-3 years to Snee, Tuck, and Diehl… Will we be stuck with dead cap space when those contracts run their course? In other words, are we mortgaging the future? These players are declining already. It’s likely we enter 2014 – all of them another season older – wishing to get rid of them even more than we do now (likely). But if we extend them, we are facing the same situation (dead cap) that we are in right now. Correct?

      Also, assuming your scenario plays out, do you think we will have enough to sign Bennett along with the Browns, Cruz, Beatty and Boothe???

      •  jb322 says:

        Renegotiating and adding years for Tuck Diehl and Snee, assuming little or no signing bonus allows us to prorate the cap hit for this year over 3 more years. If we find they don’t warrant those contracts next year then we can simply cut them and suffer minimal cap damage.

        As for Bennett, I am sick of tired of the blocking tight ends and full backs. They are there only to cover up deficiencies at tackle. The opportunity cost for this is huge. It minimizes touches for guys like Beckum and Wilson who excel in other areas that would, frankly make us more dynamic. If you can afford $4 mil for a TE, why not just give it to a tackle?

  9.  sonnymooks says:

    Hey, I love Reese, I do, and have alot of faith in him, but to be honest, his one weakness, seems to be in drafting linebackers (though to be fair, it may be that the Giants scouts are not good at evaluating them).

    In other words, for us to get a good LB in the draft, its going to have to be a high draft pick, and even then, more along the lines of a low risk guy, I’m sorry, I really am, but we are not good at picking linebackers anymore.

    That said, personally, I’d prefer to draft a pass rushing DE or DT in the first, a DB in the second and a LB in the 3rd, in fact, since our defense has now allowed over 6,000 yards TWO years in a row, and this years defense statistically ranks among the worst in team history (and since we are keeping the d-coordinator), we need a big infusion of defensive talent, at all 3 levels.

    I don’t mean just depth either, I mean we need to seriously upgrade our defense, with young (and hopefully healthy) blood. We need more speed AND we need more size, we need HITTERS that are burners.

    I know we need OL help, we do, its true, and since we draft those guys in later rounds and then develop them in house, I actually hope we continue that practise this year, instead of spending an early pick on a OL, spend it on defense, go heavy on the D. Back of the draft, end rounds, then go for a lineman, look for value there, and develop but we need immediate infusion of talent on Defense, and we need Linebackers (and have needed them for some time).

    It takes time to develop guys, I also get that, but I think we can get contributions from our drafted defensive guys faster then we can from OL guys. Note, we also drafted 2 offensive lineman last year, and a TE last year (and we have the best TE coach in football), lets see how our development is working with them.

  10.  jb322 says:

    More food for thought. I wonder how long we will continue to place a premium on a blocking tight end and running backs? In my mind they are masking the deficiencies on the o-line. If I am going to give $4 mil to a tight end, why not just give it to a premium tackle and get one of the tight end JAGS out there? I would much rather have Cruz and Nicks than Bennett and either of those two.

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