Updated February 17, 2017
Posted February 17, 2017
Dan Duggan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Giants general manager Jerry Reese has a head start on me this offseason, cutting wide receiver Victor Cruz and running back Rashad Jennings as well as re-signing a few exclusive rights free agents this week. But those moves were no-brainers. Business is about to pick up with the two-week franchise tag window opening on Wednesday and the start of free agency less than three weeks away.
The offseason is all about fitting the pieces of the current roster, free agency and the draft together. Heres my 10-step approach to improving the Giants this offseason.
1 more cut
Cruz and Jennings were obvious cost-cutting moves that cleared $10 million in cap space. Theres one more move to be made: Cutting linebacker J.T. Thomas, which would open an additional $3 million in cap space. If the Giants get desperate for cap space, they could approach cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie about a contract restructuring that would get him more guaranteed money while lowering his $8.5 million cap hit in 2017.
Saed Hindash | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Ideally, the Giants will work out a deal with free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul before March 1 when the deadline to apply the franchise tag passes. Pierre-Paul is the domino that will impact everything else the Giants do this offseason. I wouldnt break the bank for Pierre-Paul, which is why Id want to have him locked up before he can hit the open market. Using the franchise tag (approximately $17 million) to buy time to work out an extension is unappealing because that would tie up more than half of the Giants cap space. Something in the four-year, $60 million range seems like a fair deal for both sides.
John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Sign Andrew Whitworth
Left tackle is the Giants biggest need and they must address it with urgency. That means going all-in to sign the best left tackle on the market, even if thats 35-year-old Andrew Whitworth. The career-long Bengal has missed just two starts in the past eight seasons, so there are no signs that hes on the verge of breaking down. A two-year deal in the $16-20 million range seems reasonable. If the Giants strikeout on Whitworth, they have to hope a quality veteran, like Denvers Russell Okung, gets cut. Otherwise, theyll need to pursue a trade for Clevelands Joe Thomas or San Franciscos Joe Staley. Going into next season with Ereck Flowers at left tackle isnt an option.
Mitch Stringer | USA TODAY Sports
Let Hankins walk
Unless Hankins is going to come back for cheap, the Giants should say goodbye to the 2013 second-round pick. Hankins is a solid player, although probably overrated by Giants fans. Hes not the type of player that should be a high priority for a team with a finite amount of cap space and glaring needs elsewhere. A natural three-technique defensive tackle with more pass-rushing ability would be a better complement to run-stuffer Damon Harrison. Jay Bromley, Robert Thomas and a cheap veteran should be able to replace Hankins production.
William Perlman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com