Giants OL Justin Pugh has been placed on IR and will miss the remainder of the season, but does not need surgery on his injured back.
Instead, Pugh has been prescribed rest and rehab.
Pugh was in Los Angeles on Wednesday getting a second opinion on his injured back from Dr. Robert Watkins, a spine specialist. The Giants had been hopeful that all Pugh's back needed was more rest, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported.
The 27-year-old Pugh will wind up missing the final seven games of the season due to the injury.
He made $8.8 million dollars this year and is an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Justin Pugh hasn't just played his last game for the Giants this season. He might have played his last game for them in his career.
Pugh, the Giants' first-round choice from back in 2013, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March. And he's made it pretty clear for months that he's looking for a big pay-day. It's hard to tell if the market will develop the way he hoped now that he's coming off a back injury that cost him half of the season. But he knows the size of the deals guards have gotten in recent seasons.
And he wants to be paid.
It's hard at this point to imagine the Giants paying him what he's likely to want -- and a good starting-point would be the four-year, $29 million deal (with $15 million guaranteed) that the Jets gave guard Brian Winters last offseason. For one thing, their offensive line has been terrible even with Pugh and there's a feeling in the organization that they'll have to completely start over. Center Weston Richburg (who is out for the season with a concussion) is a free agent too. They might need four new offensive linemen, and that's if they bring left tackle Ereck Flowers back.
They are healthy cap-wise, but not healthy enough to be free spenders given the many other things they need. Breaking the bank for one player when they need at least three others at his position likely won't be wise.
Then there's also the matter of the new general manager and new head coach who will soon be running the show. The Giants wouldn't begin negotiations with any of their free agents until they're both in place and have completed their evaluations. And neither of them are likely to be tied in any way to former GM Jerry Reese's old picks.
Maybe the back injury limits Pugh's market and he comes back for a discount or a one-year, prove-it deal. But the market tends to explode for offensive linemen, and it should for him if he's able to prove his health. But it's more likely the Giants will save their money and move in another direction.
And Pugh will become the latest of many, many Reese draft picks who played out their rookie contracts with the Giants and then went elsewhere for their second deal.