http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/jas ... nd-rebuild
It's time for the New York Giants to come to grips with the fact that this is not their season.
The longer the losing goes, the more they look like a team in transition needing a rebuild along both sides of the line. As you ponder that, it's impossible not to consider that Tom Coughlin might just be ready to enjoy his post-football life come this winter, as well.
So, what do I suggest they do?
Well, they can't rebuild on the fly because the kind of talent available in free agency and trades won't help much (Jon Beason of 2010 ... OK, I would sign on for that.) It's time to embrace the future and see just how the rest of the league values your roster. The sooner the better, before the market becomes even more saturated as the trade deadline approaches. Sunday's latest lopsided defeat, against the previously reeling Eagles, confirms this 0-5 start is no fluke. Even in the NFC Least, the Giants will not be contenders.
If it's me, I'm calling Justin Tuck
and Hakeem Nicks into my office, thanking them for their years of service and efforts to win championships. I'm sincerely telling both that we will make an effort to re-sign them in free agency, but with their contracts expiring and this team rebuilding and so many contending teams in need of precisely what they do -- rushing the passer (Tuck) and catching pretty much whatever is thrown near them (Nicks) -- I need to stockpile picks for the 2014 draft.
Rather than risk losing them in March anyway, and only then getting compensatory picks in 2015 that I can't trade, I need to jumpstart the retooling of this roster. In a perfect world I load up on mid-round picks (if the Browns would have dealt a third for Eugene Monroe, I can get a strong Day 2 draft return for these two guys) and then bring one -- if not two -- of these guys back as a free agent.
The Giants have pretty much shunned using the franchise tag for non-kickers in the past, so that's probably not a tool that would apply here. All the more reason to begin some calculated trade discussions that could be a boon in both the short and long term.
It's a new world approach, and not the kind of thing you think of when you consider the pragmatic way the Giants operate, but I wouldn't want to wait any longer or risk trade-able assets getting hurt or anything like that. I'm acting now. You don't think the Ravens or 49ers would have to explore a guy like Nicks? That wouldn't be right up New England's alley? Nicks would immediately leap past Kenny Britt as the best receiving option available.The Falcons, in Super Bowl or bust mode and lacking any sort of pass rush after signing ex-Giant Osi Umenyiora in free agency this offseason, wouldn't want to take a crack at Tuck, who has been a postseason pass-rushing demon? New Orleans wouldn't want to add another pass rusher to the mix? Chicago couldn't use him?
I could go on and on.
And this isn't unique to the Giants.
The Jaguars love Maurice Jones-Drew and his leadership and would consider re-signing him. All of that is great, but in the meantime get a pick for him and you can always go back to him in March when he is a free agent. Especially having dealt Monroe and losing No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel for the season, the running game isn't going to work. MJD's numbers aren't going to improve. Get a pick if you can.
The Vikings salvaged their season with a victory over winless Pittsburgh in Week 4 and they have added Josh Freeman, but I don't see them reaching the playoffs this season with or without Freeman. If they are sitting at 1-6 or 2-5 at the end of the month, I would be checking if anyone wants to take half of Jared Allen's $14 million salary off my hands and give me a high pick or picks for him. Imagine what he might fetch, even if a contender is just renting him for the stretch run?
Allen is a face-of-the-franchise guy, the Vikings love him and he loves the Vikings, but, again, I can always fight like hell to re-sign him. I can give him a chance to win this season if my team is out of the race, and I can try to get two or three playoff-bound teams in a bidding war for him. I'll also try like heck to convince my owner to eat a chunk of the salary in the trade to lessen the salary-cap hit for the other team like the Ravens and Steelers benefitted from in their deals for left tackles last week.
It might sound drastic to some, but the sooner I can come to grips with the reality of what my team is the sooner I can get a jump on the competition and begin assessing how much value there is on my roster and how I can be best positioned to make things happen this spring.
There are no guarantees I'm going to be able to re-sign these kinds of players anyway, and there just might be no better time than the present to begin repositioning the franchise for the future.