The New York Giants didn’t exactly light the world on fire after their early splash of signing Brandon Marshall. Once free agency opened officially, they were pretty quiet. That stands to reason. The team had little money to spend.
Over the weekend, though, New York made some major decisions about the future of the roster. And it did so without breaking the bank or unseating the talent already here.
The main, non-logistical move was the signing of former Chargers offensive lineman D.J. Fluker. Fluker is a giant human who had spent parts of his career at tackle. Though New York has a dire need for a left tackle, it apparently doesn’t trust him any more than incumbent Ereck Flowers. Fluker was reportedly signed to move inside and play right guard. The addition came cheap, and Fluker has some nice upside, as well as that positional flexibility. Though the Giants’ o-line still needs more help, this was a great piece to add.
Fluker’s addition likely knocks over some other dominoes. Marshall Newhouse moved on, signing with the Oakland Raiders. John Jerry seems unlikely to return either after Fluker just took his spot. Depth is still needed, but it remains to be seen if Jerry wants that role for a team he had been starting for.
The perfect line outcome would be moving Flowers to right tackle and finding that franchise left tackle. Unfortunately, options are running dry in that department. It is going to come down to the draft.
Another player who might be a new Giant visited with the team over the weekend. That would be quarterback Geno Smith. His visit was reportedly great. Giants fans are familiar with Smith’s work during his time with the Jets. He isn’t a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL, but the G-Men don’t need him to be. He is an intriguing talent as a back-up and certainly an upgrade over anyone NY had in-house. Smith wouldn’t be a long-term solution to the problem of finding Eli Manning’s eventual replacement, but he doesn’t have to be.
With Fluker coming on-board, Smith possibly following, and the other small pieces and draft picks that will count against the Giants’ cap, salary issues are arising. Bleacher Report’s Patricia Traina surmised over the weekend that, rather than cuts, contract restructurings are coming any day now, perhaps as soon as Monday. We are all familiar with the names who could need to restructure or see the door: J.T. Thomas, Dwayne Harris, Shane Vereen. Jason Pierre-Paul is tangentially in this group as well, as agreeing to a long-term deal could free up space for 2017. Cap room will need to come from somewhere.
As the days pass, the lingering existence of Johnathan Hankins also hangs over decisions. The team needs significant space to re-sign the defensive tackle, but it may not take as much dough as previously thought. Baltimore’s Brandon Williams is the only DT to garner huge money in free agency. All the other big names remain unsigned for one reason or another. Hankins is one of them. The Giants have already said they want him back. Maybe the market is unraveling to make that a legitimate possibility.