The New York Giants horrific 2017 season has mercifully come to its end. And with that, the Giants have already turned their attention to the future. With new general manager Dave Gettleman at the helm, the Giants should look noticeably different in 2018. The front office change brings hope, but it also brings tough decisions. Here are three players Gettleman should make part of the Giants immediate future plans, and three that should get the boot.
Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants Immediate Future
Odell Beckham Jr.
While the Giants do not have to make any decisions on the future of Odell Beckham right away, it is better to get the ball rolling early. Beckham is the best player the Giants have had on their roster in decades. His dynamic playmaking and passion to win are unmatched by any other player on the team. Beckham wants to get paid, big time. While Gettleman notoriously let Beckham’s arch nemesis Josh Norman walk, he would be making a tremendous mistake letting the Giants fan favorite test free agency after next season. Beckham pumps life into the offense and the struggles without him were evident in 2017. Gettleman should make locking Beckham into a long-term big-money contract a top priority as soon as possible.
Perhaps the toughest of Gettleman’s decisions, the future of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will be decided within the coming months. Manning has two years left on a four-year contract that pays him $21 million a year. With the second overall pick in the draft, the Giants are likely to lock up a new franchise quarterback. The question is: When will this quarterback take the reigns? If the Giants want to properly prepare for the future, they would let Manning play out his contract and groom the next leader of the team. A quarterback like Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold could learn a thing or two from a quarterback with as much experience as Manning. When Manning retires in two years, the Giants will have properly respected a Giant legend while simultaneously having prepared the future face of the franchise.
The 19th pick in the 2013 draft, Justin Pugh is the one piece of the Giants offensive line puzzle that has actually worked out. In a contract year, Gettleman should look to lock down Pugh for a few more seasons. Playing both guard and tackle, Pugh gives the Giants some options heading into next season. If the Giants want to move Ereck Flowers over to the right side, Pugh can go back to left guard. If the Giants want to move Flowers inside or get rid of him altogether, Pugh has the versatility and experience to play the tackle position. The revamping of the line will be one of Gettleman’s top priorities and Pugh is a player the build should revolve around.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Weston Richburg was one of Jerry Reese‘s picks that he really hit on. Richburg has developed into one of the best centers in the league. This could be troublesome when it comes to contract talks. While Richburg is listed to get the boot, this is contingent upon his asking price for a new deal. If the Giants are able to re-sign Richburg for the right price, they should certainly seize the opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how the Giants handle the situation. Richburg recently came out saying that the Giants held him out of the last few games even though he was cleared weeks ago. This could be because the Giants were trying to get a good look at Brett Jones, a player who can play both guard and center who would likely come at a significant discount in comparison to Richburg. Jones will likely slide into Richburg’s role more permanently if Richburg gets carried away with his demands.
A “cancer” to the team as described by Giants star Landon Collins, Eli Apple may have played his final game for the G-Men. Apple, the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft, showed promise in his rookie year. However, 2017 was a much different story. Apple’s play and effort were highly questionable this year. He was held out of multiple games through the final stretch of the season for his off-field issues.
While Collins’ comments may have affected the trade value of Apple, Gettleman should still shop around to see if he could get any kind of significant return in a trade. A team that just went 3-13 has to recognize that a rebuild is coming. The Giants should only work with players that are dedicated to the team to build a better atmosphere. With veterans Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already on the roster, the Giants could draft a corner in one of the middle rounds of the draft to replace Apple.
Brandon Marshall has never played for a playoff team. While fans hoped this would be the year that Marshall finally made it, they were in for a rude awakening. Marshall only played in a handful of games before he ended up on injured reserve. The games he did play in did not help his case for remaining on the team. The 6’4″ red zone threat that was supposed to be the new Plaxico Burress did not pan out the way everyone was hoping. The Giants are going into 2018 as a new team. It makes sense to cut ties with a veteran past his prime and utilize the draft to start fresh.