Excerpt: "Three key players from the Giants’ last Super Bowl championship team have already been booted out the door, and it’s possible more could follow in the next few days. The Giants have 16 unrestricted free agents. They’re coming off a disappointing, playoff-less season.
And without much salary cap room to make a big splash in free agency — at least at the moment — this would seem to be the perfect time to … rebuild.
“We don’t use that word,” Tom Coughlin said earlier this week. “I don’t want to lose anybody, but we know it’s a business. Change is always inevitable. But …”
Left unsaid is that the Giants still have a two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback and they believe they have a championship core around him. So when the free agent market opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday their priority will be keeping that core together. And then, if they are unable to re-sign players such as tight end Martellus Bennett, safety Kenny Phillips and guard Kevin Boothe, they would look to replace them at reasonable cost.
“You just try to keep as many good players as you can on your roster,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “Keep your nucleus intact.”
That’s why the Giants’ top priority this offseason was to re-sign left tackle Will Beatty, which they did on Feb. 27 when they gave him a five-year, $38.75 million deal. According to a team source, they also hope to re-sign Boothe and Bennett before the market opens, though deals do not appear imminent.
How far the Giants can go to re-sign them (or replace them) depends on their actions over the next few days. After restructuring the contract of center David Baas and getting cornerback Corey Webster to agree to a $3 million cut Thursday, the Giants are believed to be about $9 million under the $123 million salary cap. About $6 million to $7 million of that will be taken up by tenders to their three restricted free agents, running back Andre Brown, safety Stevie Brown and receiver Victor Cruz." Read more...