We have already established that the Giants do not have a lot of money to
work with in this offseason. There are some definite cutbacks that have to be
made. In doing so, there will be some rather large holes to fill that will
effect this team for years to come. Big Blue has been synonymous with the
running game for, what seems like, an eternity. That simply was not the case
this past season. As I touched on in the first episode of BBV-TV
reason for the lack of a running game in the 2011 regular season was partially
due to the backs and the offensive line.
Hitting the free agency this offseason is twelve-year veteran, Kareem
McKenzie. It is becoming more of a lucid reality that McKenzie will most likely
be cut. That leaves some very large shoes to fill. The most important thing for
this Giants regime is to meet the primary needs of the team, in order to be
successful and defend their shiny, new Lombardi Trophy. Right now, there is no
need greater than that of the offensive line. Without a solid replacement for
McKenzie, Eli Manning's
Iron Man Streak is as good as gone.
The New York Giants' offensive line went through a number of shifts
throughout the 2011 season. With Rich Seubert
and Shaun O'Hara
given their walking papers at the start of training camp, it was a necessary
evil. Despite injuries and player shuffles, the line did seemingly well.
However, there were some major differences. In 2010, the o-line gave up sixteen
sacks and fifty-two quarterback hits. Last season, the line gave up twenty-eight
sacks and seventy-two hits on Manning. A great Diehl of that came from the left
side. "Let's get rid of him, too." That is not the answer.
If this theoretical scenario plays out and Kareem McKenzie gets the boot, who
is going to fill his slot? Stacy Andrews
is listed as the backup right tackle. Andrews was signed late last season in a
desperate attempt to patch up the offensive line. He wound up proving, as in
seasons past, that he is a magnet for injury. This time, however, he was
sidelined due to health issues, not a physical injury. Andrews is also hitting
the free agency market. Re-sign him? That's not the way to go. Getting back to
the question, who fills in for McKenzie - in this scenario, we would play
"musical linesman" once again. Here we go.
The one guy who was most versatile on the o-line last season was Kevin Boothe
His size, speed and ability parallel Kareem
. Shuffle Boothe to fill in for McKenzie. This move makes good
sense, as he has played this position before and seems to adapt well wherever
you place him. What to do with Double D? Shuffle Diehl back to where he plays
best, left tackle. Diehl is very intelligent. He is a true team player and he
doesn't become a free agent until 2014. He is not going anywhere. "Who fills in
for Diehl?" Enter my targeted free agent.
For this one, we travel down to Baltimore to scout out one of the league's
best offensive linesman. Last season, he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
With price tags that guys like Ray Lewis
commanding, the chance of Ben Grubbs
getting the money he wants are favorable. Yes, Grubbs will be looking for a
nice, juicy contract. But it is highly unlikely that he will be able to snag the
bloated deal that McKenzie was getting with Big Blue. McKenzie had a reported
seven-year deal at thirty-seven and a half-million bucks. Grubbs' contract,
which is over and done with, was a five year contract at eight-million
In case you didn't realize, the New York Giants' stock just went through the
roof. They beat the best of the best to get to the Super Bowl. They came out
victorious for the second time in four years. Eli Manning proved to be one of
the absolute, top-rate quarterbacks in the NFL. Plus, they have a real nifty
stadium that still has that new smell. The allure to play for the reigning Super
Bowl champs that have a good chance at repeating is quite hard to resist.
Throwing some money at Grubbs would not only be an extremely smart move to make,
it would be an investment that would pay dividends for years to come.
Ben Grubbs will be going into his sixth-year in the NFL. He is a six-foot,
three-inch - three-hundred and ten-pound, natural left guard. The Giants need a
new addition to the left side. Grubbs is the ideal candidate for the job. The
scenario would be Kevin Boothe at right tackle, Chris Snee
right guard, David Baas
center, Ben Grubbs at left guard and David Diehl
left tackle. That's a very solid line. It would also bring the age factor down a
To bring Grubbs in would require careful structuring of a multi-million
dollar deal. But there are plenty of players sitting around on this team,
earning a decent sized paycheck, that could be cut in order to make such a deal
possible. There will undoubtedly be some free agents who walk this offseason.
Some of them are making a decent dollar.
There are a few key positions that absolutely, positively need some
experienced players acquired and thrown into the Big Blue mix. With the
possibility of Kareem McKenzie flying the coop, the offensive line is, more than
likely, the single, biggest need. After all, the Giants have proved to be a
high, flying aerial attack team over the last few years. Someone has to protect
Eli Manning. Ben Grubbs is like All-State Insurance. Manning would be in very