Let the NFL free agency frenzy begin. Next Tuesday, marks the official start of NFL free agency and the beginning of shake ups across the NFL. One of the top free agents this offseason on the offensive line market is San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati.
Iupati has been a staple as one of the best offensive lineman, since he debut in the NFL at the start of the 2010-2011 season. In his five seasons in the NFL, Iupati has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and has been a big part of the 49ers run game, which has been one of the best the past four years. Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at over 330 pounds, Iupati is one of the biggest guards in the league and has the ability to play tackle on the offensive line as well.
Many scouts in the NFL would describe Iupati as very physical and aggressive offensive lineman, who plays with a nasty edge some say, which helps him be very good at run blocking.
This makes Iupati a great fit for a team like the New York Giants, who need to make improvements across their offensive line. The Giants ranked No. 23 in rushing offense in 2014, an improvement from last season, but still is one of the biggest weaknesses on their team. Signing Iupati would be a huge addition for the Giants. It would finally give them a physical presence from an offensive lineman, something that they haven’t had in awhile and it would solidify their offensive line as well. Also, signing Iupati would help give the Giants some protection for their young offensive lineman Weston Richburg. Richburg, who will be starting for the first time at center in the NFL after the Giants cut J.D Walton, who started all 16 games at center for the G-Men in 2014.
Iupati price range though might be too much for the Giants to sign up for. Since Iupati is one of the best offensive lineman on the market, he will be looking for huge long-term contract that could be too much money for the Giants and huge cap space hit for Big Blue as well. Because of that issue, the Giants could look to sign a more mid-range offensive lineman in free agency. One option could be resigning offensive lineman John Jerry, who started all 16 games at guard for them in 2014 and played at a higher level than most expected.
Another direction the Giants could go, to improve their offensive line, is, of course, through the NFL Draft. This year’s offensive lineman class is not as good as ones in the past couple of drafts, but there is the potential of some becoming good NFL players. Both offensive tackles Andrus Peat from Stanford and Ereck Flowers, have the potential to big good NFL offensive lineman in the future. They both are very talented, with great size and athleticism that give them a huge upside. Both though are very young and need to grow as offensive lineman through technique and getting stronger in the weight room, before they're ready to be starters in the NFL.
If Iupati is available at the right price, the Giants should try to sign him. An offensive lineman like Iupati would be a great addition to a team like the Giants and could help them get over the “hump,” to make the playoffs. It will also allow them to concentrate more on defense during the NFL Draft as well. If Iupati is worth too much money to sign, the Giants can find other ways through free agency and the draft to get better on the offensive line. That could give them a chance to spend more money in free agency on defense, at positions like linebacker and defensive line.