Words cannot adequately describe the manner in which the Giants finished their season. Several come to mind like hideous, awful, disgusting and embarrassing, but none aptly describe what took place this past season. There is nothing as futile as watching a team that cannot stop anyone on defense. There is no hope. Does this team need to be blown up? No, but there need to be major changes of the defensive side of the ball. Bill Sheridan was dismissed, but that is just the beginning.
Before we attempt to put ourselves in Jerry Reese's shoes and try to fix this mess, some housekeeping is in order. Since it doesn't look like a new CBA will be in place any time soon, 2010 is likely to be an uncapped year. The thing to keep in mind is that fourth- and fifth-year players will no longer be UFAs, they will be RFAs. That means those players can solicit offers from other teams, but compensation in the form of draft choice(s) will be attached depending on the amount tendered. It will also be an opportunity to dump unproductive salaries since there will be no cap restrictions. The Giants will want to put a quality team in their new stadium so spending money should not be a problem for them. The PSL money has to go somewhere.
Here's what the uncapped year means to the Giants: Only Danny Clark, David Carr, Jeff Feagles and Fred Robbins will be "normal" UFAs. Except for Carr, whom they should try to re-sign, the rest should be gone.
Domenik Hixon and Darcy Johnson will be "normal" RFAs. We would bring Hixon back, but Johnson has outlived his usefulness.
The players most affected by the uncapped year are Kevin Boothe, C.C. Brown, Barry Cofield, Kevin Dockery, Derek Hagan, Sinorice Moss, Guy Whimper and Gerris Wilkinson. In a normal year, these players would be UFAs, but now the Giants have the opportunity to keep any of them under the RFA guidelines. Only Boothe and Cofield should be re-signing priorities.
One more thing before we start: This team is currently void of substantial leadership. There is no Harry Carson or Michael Strahan on the team now. Eli Manning is not and likely will never be a vocal leader, unless he undergoes a substantial personality change. Brandon Jacobs and Osi Umenyiora are all bark and no bite. The closest thing they have to a leader is Antonio Pierce, and he may have played his last game for the Giants. Teams know that if they punch the Giants in the nose; instead of fighting back harder, this team collectively runs home to Mama. Roman Oben made a great point the other day. Leadership has to come from within the home-grown talent. It can't be bought in free agency. Free-agent acquisitions for the most part are mercenaries who are there for the money. It takes guys like Carson or Strahan who have their entire life's work invested in the team to be real leaders. A few young guys have to emerge on this team and become the type of leaders they desperately need. Justin Tuck appears to be the most likely.
Stay tuned for three more articles where I outline how the Giants can get right to fixing this once-proud franchise.
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