Even after an 11-5 season there are so many questions about the Giants and their offseason plans that I had to split them into several SNY Twitter mailbags. Part I ran on Wednesday. Part II ran on Thursday.
Here, as promised, is Part III … with a IVth still to come:
What's the biggest need for giants next year? -- @tonypicc1
I don't think there's any question it's the offensive line. They spent $200 million plus to rebuild their defense last offseason and it obviously worked great. There are still some needs there, especially if they lose Jason Pierre-Paul or Jonathan Hankins. But at least on the defensive side they're working from strength.
Not so on offense, where they were one of the worst and least-productive teams in the league. They need to fix that, especially since they've got a 36-year-old franchise quarterback who's got maybe three years left anywhere near his peak. The window to win another championship in the Eli Manning era will slam shut if they don't fix the offense.
Now, I believe they have some weapons. Any team would be happy to start with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard as the 1-2 at receiver. They could use a third, and will likely go after one to replace Victor Cruz. They absolutely need a play-making tight end. And maybe a running back, too.
But none of that works -- none of it -- if they don't have an offensive line that can protect the quarterback and open holes for the running backs. The holes were just not there, especially on important short-yardage runs. And Manning was under pressure constantly, right from the start of the season. So the Giants have to make this offseason about fixing that offensive line.
That probably means one or maybe two tackles, depending on what they do with Ereck Flowers (if he moves to right tackle, then they need a left tackle; if he moves to guard, they need two tackles; if he stays at left tackle … well, they better hope he gets better fast). They pursued some free agent tackles last offseason and weren't willing to spend big money or move Flowers out of the left tackle spot.
They better be willing to do both of those things this offseason. They also should take a long, hard look at the available offensive linemen when they draft at No. 23. They already have a bunch of high picks along their line -- Justin Pugh and Flowers were first-rounders, center Weston Richburg was a second-rounder. But at this point it wouldn't hurt to add one more if the right player is there.
T. King looked like a playmaker at end of season. Will he be given a chance to be the complement to OBJ? -- @tonymaff
I've actually heard a lot of fans -- and a few of my media colleagues -- say this in recent weeks. There's this idea that the Giants somehow screwed up by keeping receiver Tavarres King on the inactive list for more than half the season -- especially after he had a relatively productive preseason (seven catches, 126 yards). It certainly looked like a mistake when King made a key, 44-yard catch in the regular-season finale at Washington and then caught three passes for 73 yards -- and a 41-yard touchdown -- in the Giants' playoff loss in Green Bay.
I have to admit, after the summer I thought King had earned a spot in the receiver rotation over rookie Roger Lewis, who did not impress me this season (7-97-2 in 13 games). If nothing else, I thought the 26-year-old King, who had bounced around to five teams in four NFL seasons, would be a steady veteran presence as the fourth receiver.
He could have been. And he probably should have been. But I wouldn't get too excited and start thinking he's going to be a "playmaker" or Robin to Beckham's Batman. All those teams likely didn't miss on King's potential and it's not suddenly going to emerge after all these years and at his age. Yes, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said he "opened some eyes".
But almost certainly not as a starter or a key part of the offense.
I would think next season that Beckham and Shepard will be the 1-2 and there will be a new No. 3, either from free agency or the draft. And it'll be someone with a longer resume and more potential than King -- and probably someone a little bigger than King, who is listed as 6-1, 200 pounds.
King probably earned a chance to go into camp as the fourth receiver, definitely over Lewis. From there, he can certainly earn his way up the depth chart. But I don't think the Giants should or would count on him to be much more than that. They can do better in the Top 3, regardless of what he did in the last two games.
Will Jennings be back if not will they sign free agent rb? -- @thejintsman
It's really hard to see the Giants bringing Rashad Jennings back given all the numbers that are working against him. For one thing, he'll turn 32 years old in March, which is pretty old for an NFL running back. He's a low-mileage 32 -- only 930 carries (and 191 catches) spread out over eight NFL seasons. He's in good shape and only missed three games the last two years.
But he also only rushed for 2,095 yards in his three seasons with the Giants, averaging just 52.4 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry. He topped 100 rushing yards in just three of 40 games. And he's due a little over $3 million in 2017. The Giants could clear about $2.5 million by letting him go.
That's not a huge expense or savings, so money likely won't be the deciding factor. And it's possible the Giants bring him back as a backup on a slightly reduced salary. But going forward, I think Paul Perkins showed them enough to earn the starting job. His numbers weren't terrific (112 carries, 456 yards, including 102 in the regular-season finale) but he showed good burst and explosion behind a pretty bad offensive line.
Imagine what he can do if the line is fixed. And remember, he won't even be 23 years old until November. He's got young, fresh legs and the Giants believe he's only going to get better.
The Giants also believe in a two-running back system, at least. They might bring back Shane Vereen, but he's going to fill a specific role so I don't think they view him as a direct backup to the starter. So I would assume they'll want someone behind Perkins, just in case. Someone with a little experience, but probably someone a little younger than 32.