Obviously, it's still way too early to give a definitive prognosis on the likelihood of the New York Giants returning to title contention in 2013. Free agency has yet to begin, the NFL Combine hasn't taken place and the draft boards are still fluctuating. We don't even know which team the Giants will be chasing to reclaim the title of defending Super Bowl champions. However, one thing we do know is that this offseason will require an admirable level of patience from Giants players, coaches, and fans alike.
First off, anything the team does will be predicated upon the salary cap. Big Blue is currently faced with a $4.17 million salary cap deficit which will limit the moves the team can make in the offseason. Obviously, it's never been Jerry Reese's style to make gaudy free agent signings to become cornerstones on the roster. For the Giants, free agency has been utilized to plug minor holes, not glaring needs.
However, this offseason, the roster will see significantly more turnover than it did a year ago. Osi Umenyiora is likely gone, Kenny Phillips is likely to leave as well, and 25 other players will be classified as free agents. Victor Cruz needs a new contract and two starting offensive linemen, Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe, are going to see considerable interest from team's around the league. Given the salary cap situation the Giants are in, it's going to be tough to retain the talent on the roster.
The Giants have dealt with rocky offseasons before. Prior to 2011, we saw he likes of Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Barry Cofield, Kevin Boss and Steve Smith all leave. Despite grave predictions of where the Giants would end up at the end of the season, Big Blue stormed their way to another Lombardi Trophy. The Giants will head into 2013 with a considerable amount of talent, but it's going to be a tough road to next training camp.
The process of watching Osi Umenyiora sign with another team, or thinking about Kenny Phillips lining up against Big Blue next season will be painful. The Giants are going to have to make several decisions regarding the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, Chris Canty, Keith Rivers, and Chris Snee. There will be players leaving that have been cornerstones of at least one Super Bowl victory.
As the saying goes, "In Reese We Trust." Those are words that Giants fans are going to have to repeat over in their heads continually this offseason. There are going to be times when it appears the team has failed to address essential areas of need. There are going to be times when the team lets a player go that played a vital role in previous seasons. There are going to be times when the front office elects not to pursue a free agent that could potentially fill a void. The Giants don't have very much room to maneuver this offseason, but we've seen how this front office produces results and creates a revolving door of talent at several key positions.
For the Giants to become Super Bowl contenders once again in 2013, the players already on the roster are going to have to have rebound seasons. Eli Manning must return to playing at an elite level, Hakeem Nicks must stay healthy, and Corey Webster must be able to be a No. 2 cornerback. There is no immediate influx of NFL-ready talent coming next season. It's going to take a monumental effort, but the Giants are talented enough to sustain the potential losses that are looming over the horizon.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty, Chris Snee, Corey Webster, Eli Manning, Football, Jerry Reese, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Rich Seubert, Steve Smith, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty