The football world is currently analyzing and predicting who will be crowned world champion at Super Bowl 50. A small minority of fans who cheer the other 30 NFL franchises are focusing on the off season moves the team they have a vested interest in should make. For the New York Giants who are coming off another sub-par season the Big Blue brain-trust have some key free agents where difficult decisions need to be made.
It has been well chronicled that the Giants defensive pass rush was anemic this season and finished 30 out of 32 in the category of sacks. This is a far cry from a franchise that emphasizes constructing a defense that brings nightmares to opposing quarterbacks. While the overall play of the defensive line left a lot to be desired Robert Ayers had a career year by totaling 9.5 sacks and had 41.3% of the Giants overall sacks in 2015. There are still certain caution flags that arise when evaluating Ayers. First, the last time he played all 16 games in an NFL season was 2011. Second, Ayers does not have a track record of success which raises speculation that Ayers performance in 2015 was just an anomaly.
Decision: Over Ayers a two-year contract. While he does not have a proven track record he still was the best the Giants had and can be a short term insurance policy if a top draft pick or free agent acquisition does not fulfill expectations.
In today’s version of the NFL a solid cornerback has become very valuable as more offenses prioritize on having a strong vertical attack. Amukamara was drafted to become that shutdown corner but unfortunately in his five year career Amukamara only played 16 games once and has not developed into a Pro Bowl cornerback.
Decision: The Giants need to upgrade their pass rush and the because of that it is easy to believe that Amukamara will be a casualty. Instead of allocating resources to a starting cornerback those same resources will be used on a pass rusher.
Similar to Amukamara, Ruben Randle was a first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft and was able to ease into the wide receiver role with the Giants. While Randle has been healthy Randle has made some key drops and given up on plays this season.
Decision: Randle should be given his walking papers by the Giants. Dwayne Harris has emerged as a valuable 3rd receiver and the Giants should be able to upgrade the number 2 wide receiver position in free agency or via the NFL draft this offseason.
JPP dominated the headlines the previous off-season for all the wrong reasons by being involved in a fireworks accident on July 4th and that one moment has cost Pierre-Paul millions of dollars. That one lapse of judgment changed JPP from being a much sought after free agent to a man who might not have a job in the NFL. Pierre-Paul did return at the midway point of the 2015 and was able to pressure the quarterback but was unable to finish plays.
Decision: Sign JPP to a one year deal with the rationale being low risk for a high reward. Pierre-Paul could be an upgrade at the position that appears to be the weakest for Big Blue D on paper. JPP has gone under another hand surgery this off-season with the sole purpose of improving his grip. If Pierre-Paul returns to form Jerry Reese will look like a genius and if JPP still struggles Pierre-Paul’s contract would not be eating up valuable cap room.