The rebuilding of the Giants is basically over, and now they're almost ready to begin the preparation. They have a three-day, full-team mini-camp next week, and then five weeks of training camp starting in late July to find out if they really are better than 3-13.
Just with better health alone they should be. And with some of the key additions they've made, perhaps the playoffs aren't out of reach either. But they do have a bunch of questions they need to answer first.
And you had a few questions, too. So one last time before the camps begin, I'll try to answer them here:
Odell suffered a major injury - is there a decent chance that he may never get back to full speed? And could that be a reason that contract negotiations have not materialized? -- @tonymaff
All indications at the moment are that Odell Beckham Jr.'s recovery from ankle surgery is going extremely well. In the videos we've seen on his Instagram account - both of him dancing and working out - he looks as able as ever. The little we've seen him at OTAs he's looked fine, too. And the Giants have said things are going well, and Pat Shurmur even said he's "pretty close" to being fully cleared by doctors.
So it seems he's already close to full speed. The real question is: Will he still be the same, old Beckham when he returns? Again, everyone thinks so. But there's truly no way to know until he's back on the field playing football.
The good news is he's still only 25, he's an incredible athlete, and no one thought this injury was serious enough to damage his career long-term.
But you just never know. And the Giants know that over the last decade they've seen injuries wipe out the second acts of promising careers of young (or young-ish) receivers like Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Yes, those were different players with different injuries. But the cautionary tale remains.
And yes, that is one of the reasons contract negotiations haven't really gotten going. There are other issues, of course, but the Giants would be crazy to give Beckham the kind of money he wants - perhaps $20 million per year, perhaps as much as $60 million guaranteed and $100 million total - without being absolutely sure he's fully healthy and the same player.
If he was in a lesser fiscal stratosphere perhaps they'd make the leap. But for that money? Of course they want to be sure he's still one of the three best receivers in the NFL before they pay him like he is.
My guess is that Beckham will be fine and will either be the same, explosive player or pretty darn close. And my guess is the Giants won't need long to determine that, and negotiations will take place sometime during the season.
But that's just a guess. Before I make a prediction, I want to see him on the field, too.
Will the giants actually have the backbone to rightfully bench Eli for Webb/lauletta if they reach a point where playoffs aren't realistic? -- @Cmorell72
Snark aside, that's a fair and interesting question. It's not one we can ask at the moment because the Giants fully expect to be in the playoff hunt for a while, and they have made it clear they believe Eli Manning has "years" left of playing at a high level. They're not likely to address a question that begins "If you're 2-12 heading into December …"
But it's an interesting 'What if.' On the one hand, if they are committed to developing Davis Webb and/or Kyle Lauletta for the future - and they seem to be - there's no need for an audition just to see what they've got. They passed on the quarterbacks at the top of this draft, and they're not likely to dive into what may be a lesser pool in 2019. So there's no urgency to see either of them in action.
On the other hand, maybe they learned the lessons from their terrible mistake not to play Webb late last season. Manning's career is winding down. Presumably if they are out of it in December, he's going to be a big reason why. Last year, it made all the sense in the world for them to look at Webb and see what they had in preparation for the draft. Maybe this year it'll be worth a look to see if they have something better on their roster if Manning is struggling again.
If there's a reason, it would make sense for them to avoid repeating the same mistake they made last year, and make sure to at least take a little look at Webb and Lauletta if the same situation arises again.
I don't know what they'd do, though. The Gettleman/Shurmur regime is in its infancy and wouldn't be in the same perilous situation that the outgoing tandem of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo were in last year, or the impossible situation that GM Kevin Abrams and coach Steve Spagnuolo were in when they were named interims for the last month of the season.
My guess is they'd find the "backbone" to at least look at those quarterbacks in the second halves of some late-season games. And they'd sure handle it classier and more delicately than the ham-handed way the Manning benching was handled last year.