Is Accorsi's offensive lockdown a good thing?

Paul Schwartz: I'm sure you've heard the old joke: The good news is State University has 20 returning lettermen. The bad news is they were 3-9 last year. Having veterans back is only good if what's being retained is worth bringing back. Otherwise, it's just more of the same old slop. That brings us to the Giants and their bold investments in the future.

The recent contract extensions handed out to Jeremy Shockey and David Diehl mean that 10 of the 11 offensive starters are signed through the 2008 season. That's highly unusual. The only one who's not, center Shaun O'Hara, is signed through next season and the Giants wouldn't mind extending him as well. Is this a good thing? I say yes. In the past, the Giants have been guilty of making sure too many marginal players stay around, valuing continuity by rewarding mediocrity. You know, like the way the bigwigs at Giant Insider reward mediocrity by keeping you around. That's not the case here. This offense should be potent for years to come, with Eli Manning at the helm and weapons such as Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey in their primes. If possible, you want Manning to be able to grow with familiar talent around him. That's what big brother Peyton had the luxury of doing, with Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James providing the Colts with a 1-2-3 punch that knew each and every move the other made. It would be a huge bonus for Manning if the chemistry he clearly is developing with the players in this offense could be advanced next year, and then the next, without having to grow accustomed to a whole bunch of new faces.

Ken Palmer: In theory, it's great to have everyone locked up for the foreseeable future. But let me throw a few names by you to see if you're still thrilled that they'll be Giants for the next several years: Luke Petitgout, Amani Toomer and David Diehl. All have played better than expected so far this season, but (with age Paul's memory appears to be going some) weren't we all questioning the ability of these three just a couple months back? Have they done nearly enough to warrant all this excitement that they'll be Giants until 2008? Hardly. Continuity and consistency are great, but these are the same Giants that jumped to lock up Marcus Buckley and Greg Bishop in years past. A lot of times, teams will get caught in the trap that their own players are better than what's out there. Rarely is that the case. The Giants gambled big-time after the Super Bowl and signed Tiki Barber and Jason Sehorn for big-time cash. They hit the jackpot with Barber; still look foolish for Sehorn. It's just too early to tell whether or not this was the prudent move, all the more reason why shortsighted Schwartz jumped the gun and loves every minute of it.

PS: Look, I realize this isn't one of the most prolific offenses of all time but any of these guys will tell you they're better the more they're together. Also, this bunch isn't bad. They were averaging nearly 30 points a game after five games, and that was with all of Manning's growing pains. Just take a look at the offensive line. The Giants are completely set at guard with Chris Snee and David Diehl, a pair of young, sturdy, dependable players. No one else on the line is even 30 years old. There's no risk of losing anyone and if the Giants want to upgrade, for instance, at left tackle, they can see if they can find one in the draft and then deal with Luke Petitgout from a position of strength, rather than worry about losing him or anyone else in free agency. If Tiki Barber shows some wear and tear, a younger running back can be added without any need to let Barber go because of salary cap restrictions. The team had the upper hand in deciding its fate, which is smart maneuvering by Ernie Accorsi.

KP: No question Accorsi is maneuvering to leave the Giants in the best possible shape when he does leave town. But there are still tons of questions regarding this strategy. A guy like Jeremy Shockey is having a phenomenal season. Yet two of his first three seasons were disappointments, due to injuries and inconsistent play. I love the addition of Plaxico Burress more than the next guy. But isn't this the same guy that muddled through four years in Pittsburgh, where they were only too happy to let him walk? Toomer has had a tremendous Giants career, but you can seriously tell me you want him lining up as a starter for the next four seasons? I highly doubt it. With locking players in, you make it that much more difficult to remove them, if need be. And you never hear of players getting soft in their contract years, only after signing big deals. The jury is most definitely still out on this philosophy. I'm not jumping up and down saying Accorsi was foolish for these moves. But I'm also not naïve enough to immediately buy into that it's the greatest thing since beer (not such a big fan of sliced bread) like someone I know.

PS: If you're so anxious to tinker with the roster, let's get down and dirty with upcoming free agency and get ahead of everyone on this subject. There aren't a lot of heavy-duty decisions to be made. We both know (at least I think we agree on this) that Will Allen isn't coming back. The handwriting isn't merely on the wall for Allen, it's plastered up on the wall in glowing neon. As for Tim Carter, I say give him one more shot. Yes, I admit to being enticed by his speed even though I cringe at his inability to stay on the field. He's not brittle, just unlucky, and with Amani Toomer not exactly lighting things up, it's not wise to shove a physically gifted receiver such as Carter out the door. As for the others, I say do what you can to keep Kendrick Clancy without breaking the bank, look for an upgrade at backup quarterback over Tim Hasselbeck and try to get Nick Greisen back at a modest rate, because I don't believe the Giants are interested in giving him starter's money.

KP: Boy, Paul, it sure is easy to see why you're a sportswriter and not a GM. Does the fact that every time Greisen gets on the field he excels mean anything to you? Or Accorsi, or the coaches, for that matter? He may not be fast enough. He may not be this. He might not be that. BS, the kid can play. He's always around the ball making plays. If he doesn't start the rest of the season while all the ‘tougher, better' players like Carlos Emmons and Barrett Green can't even suit up, then something's seriously wrong here. There's no doubt in my mind and those of several scouts around the league that Greisen will be starting and flourishing somewhere next season – whether it's with the Giants or not is totally up to them. As for Carter, only a fool would risk continuing to be burnt by his potential. Look up ‘coach killer' in the dictionary and there you'll see New York's other ‘TC'. The primary ‘TC'? He's listed under ‘killer coach'.

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