IXI's New York Giants' Mock Offseason, Part III: Some Friends Join the Party

Justin Tuck and Jon Beason could both be a part of the offseason plan for New York - Chris McGrath

This is a four-part series where Invictus XI takes over as GM of the New York Giants and takes you through how he would aim to fix what's broken. Part III builds off of the previous two parts to explore what free agents the Giants can pursue to strengthen their forces.

This series has been kind of dark lately, eh, New York Giants' fans? In part I, we did some real soul searching as to the heart of this team. In part II, we reflected upon who it was time to say good bye to.

Well, it's time to cheer up again. This time, we'll be using all of that money we saved to fortify the players we currently have to create an actual, possibly competitive team. Let's start with our own free agents.

New York Giants 2014 Free Agents: David Diehl, Josh Brown, Justin Tuck, Mike Patterson, Kevin Boothe, Aaron Ross, Jon Beason, Trumaine McBride, Keith Rivers, Ryan Mundy, Louis Murphy, Bear Pascoe, Curtis Painter, Spencer Paysinger, Shaun Rogers, Hakeem Nicks.

I would not invite Diehl back because we are trying to improve the team. Ross, Murphy, Pascoe, Reynolds and Painter are marginal players that have the ability to contribute, but I envision younger players with higher ceilings entering those roles. Mark Herzlich and Shaun Rogers are interesting. Both are great stories but for me, I don't see high upside with either. They are the last of the bunch to not receive an offer from me, though it was tempting, to say the least.

As far as one of the big fish goes, I do not think Nicks is a Giant in 2014. He was my favorite player, so this hurts. Nothing about his body language or his play tells me that he's invested in staying here. He will likely go to the highest bidder, which many assume will be his hometown Carolina Panthers. I still believe he is an awesome wide receiver and I still make a responsible contract offer based on his production the last two years and his injury history. Like others before him, he will likely deny this and move onwards with his career. I truly do wish him the best of luck.

A few of players are Restricted Free Agents. They are Henry Hynoski, Jim Cordle, and Paysinger. All are valuable depth players that can be had relatively cheaply if placed on original round tenders. That is $1,330,000 for each player. Cordle is a center who can start if in a pinch. He did well enough before succumbing to injury in 2013. Paysinger can also play in certain packages and while he may not be a starting caliber outside linebacker, he can start if need be as well. Paysinger is a strong special teams player as well. I envision Hynoski to take over the Pascoe role in the offense. He is an upgrade in every way possible. This also allows for two-fullback sets at times to pave the way for Andre Brown and David Wilson. If we can keep him cheap, we're keeping him.

There are four players from that list that I would make veteran minimum offers to, and I'd be inclined to think they accept. I would bring back McBride, Mundy, Rivers, and Boothe at $890,000 each. All four have been good players for us and would not receive enough extra money from an outside source to warrant getting up and moving away from New York. So let's do a recap:

Spencer Paysinger

$1,330,000

Henry Hynoski

$1,330,000

Jim Cordle

$1,330,000

Ryan Mundy

$890,000

Kevin Boothe

$890,000

Keith Rivers

$890,000

Trumaine McBride

$890,000

2014 Remaining Cap Space

$32,301,734

So essentially, what we have now done is spend a little less than $8 million to add seven key depth players back into the fold for another year. I would consider that to be a success.

Let's go ahead and look at a few others.

Josh Brown

I don't think Brown is a must-have player, but he likely comes cheaply and has been a reliable kicker after a shaky start to the season. It does not help that no good kickers are coming out to the draft this year. I sign him to a three-year deal at the slightly higher than the minimum with workout and performance bonuses. Signing bonus of $2 million.

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$1,621,667

$2,000,001

-$378,334

2015

$1,636,667

$1,333,334

$303,333

2016

$1,651,667

$666,667

$985,000

Jon Beason

I am invested in keeping Beason a New York Giant. Not only has he provided a physical impact in the middle of that linebacking corps, but has added a mental and emotional edge as well. What is troubling is the injury history. He has previously stated he wants to stay in New York for the rest of his career. I likely will try and limit the guaranteed money. I used contracts of Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton as templates to give Beason a nice deal. This is a risk on my part because the money he is about to get is fair and marries the Giants to him as the middle linebacker for at least the next two years. There is no way to predict injury, but his leadership will be crucial with Antrel Rolle gone in my plan and his play has warranted it. I give him a four-year $19,944,000 with $8 million guaranteed ($4 million signing bonus).

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$4,900,000

$8,000,000

-$3,100,000

2015

$5,400,000

$6,000,000

-$600,000

2016

$5,979,000

$4,000,000

$1,979,000

2017

$7,665,000

$2,000,000

$5,665,000

With this deal, it's clear that he will not be with the team during his age 32 season. The dead money descends, leaving him free to be cut with minimal penalty on this back-loaded contract.

Mike Patterson

I think that Patterson has earned another year with the Giants. As a rotational player, he probably will not get many offers better than the veteran's minimum, but to ensure the Giants keeping him, I give him a simple offer of one-year, $1,100,000 all guaranteed. That should keep him around as an important rotational force for the upcoming year.

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$1,100,000

$1,100,000

$0

Linval Joseph

"Anvil" as we so lovingly call him, is a difficult decision. He is an above average defensive tackle not particularly elite at pass rushing, nor run defense. He is good for about four sacks a year and will never disappoint you in the run game with the occasional masterful tackle for loss. He is a disruptor, and those go for good money. He gets a strong deal here. I think Jerry Reese was on to something with his defensive tackles. I'll get him for four years (really only three), just in time for Cullen Jenkins' contract to end and Jonathan Hankins to hopefully step up and be the player we think he can be. The deal was centered around Desmond Bryant's deal with the Browns and Barry Cofield's deal with the Redskins. I gave him a four-year deal worth $26,840,000 and $11,500,000 guaranteed ($6.5 million signing bonus).

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$7,525,000

$11,500,000

-$3,975,000

2015

$8,325,000

$8,625,000

-$300,000

2016

$8,395,000

$5,750,000

$2,645,000

2017

$9,095,000

$2,875,000

$6,220,000

Some of you may think this deal is a bit rich, but remember, the Giants are competing against every other team for Linval Joseph's services and so you always overpay in free agency. In all likelihood, an average of about $6.7 million a year is probably fair for a solid producing defensive tackle. The guaranteed money is about 43 percent of his entire contract, which is a bit high, but it is the incentive to keep him around. Personally, having the defensive tackle spot secured for the next three years is comforting.

Andre Brown

Andre Brown certainly has been a boon for this Giant running game. He sure to be re-signed and will want a nice contract, but given his unreliability, I doubt he will get it. I give him a two-year deal worth $5,800,000 with $3,250,000 guaranteed ($1.25 million signing bonus). I think it is the perfect amount of money for a decent running back in a running back by committee. His average per year would be below Darren Sproles, and in the neighborhood of Knowshon Moreno and Michael Bush.

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$3,325,000

$3,250,000

$75,000

2015

$3,375,000

$1,625,000

$2,100,000

Stevie Brown

With Antrel Rolle gone in my scenario, it is pretty crucial that the Giants sign Brown. He was due for a nice, fat payday after his 8 interception year in 2012. However, a torn ACL changed all of that, and Brown must prove that he can play again. The Giants ensure that he rises again with his current team by offering a solid prove-it deal of two years, $5,800,000 with $3 million guaranteed ($1 million signing bonus).

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$3,170,000

$3,000,000

$170,000

2015

$4,170,000

$1,500,000

$2,670,000

Justin Tuck

Tuck has had a magnificent season. However, I'm not exactly buying that he is the dominant player he once was. He is aware of this and he knows he's a rotational player behind Damontre Moore and Jason Pierre-Paul. With the cutting of Mathias Kiwanuka, Tuck becomes necessary here. He gets a chance to ride out into the sunset with one last payday, one- year $2,250,000 all guaranteed. He has contemplated retirement before and I don't think he can be counted on for anything except run defense. His pay is slightly below Chandler Jones but still higher than Willie Young and Derek Wolfe.

Cap Number

Dead Money (if cut)

Cap Savings

2014

$2,250,000

$2,250,000

$0

Whew! That was a lot of free agents and a lot of money being handed out. We were able to give deals to Linval Joseph and Jon Beason that ensured that they become part of our "core group" for the foreseeable future. Andre and Stevie Brown were given 2 year deals that allow them to be a part of the team while fighting for new contracts. Josh Brown becomes entrenched as the kicker for quite some time. Finally, Justin Tuck and Mike Patterson get one-year deals above the veteran minimum so that they can ride off into the sunset with some cash in their pockets.

I'm sure what you are curious about is what's left. Right? Thought so.

2014 Cap Space

$8,510,067

2015 Cap Space

$47,200,461

That's a far cry from the $39 million that we started with, but that is the cost of keeping the team intact. In actuality, $8.5 million can buy us a couple of nice things. So let's get to it then!

When you think about the Giants, what is the one area that everybody screams for as a big need? Did you say interior offensive line? I think you said interior offensive line. I'm pretty sure you said interior offensive line. So, I guess it's interior offensive line. Who knew?

The popular figure of choice here would be Alex Mack, and I can see why. I just don't think the Giants have the resources to make it happen. The highest-paid center currently is Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers, who makes $8.186 million per year. Mack will likely fetch more than that on the open market. Unless the Giants are willing to part with all of their salary cap space, I don't see how they can afford him. I do present you with a viable alternative, however.

Brian De La Puente

De La Puente of the New Orleans Saints is Pro Football Focus' 13th-ranked center in all of football. He's also a free agent. On his current deal, he only makes about $2 million a year. However, he's been rock solid, scoring a +4.9 for the year, specializing in pass protection and screen blocking. He isn't a one-year wonder either. In 2012, he scored an astonishing +23.0. The Giants definitely could use some of that. He won't be cheap, but he'll cost approximately half of what Mack will. He is 28 years old, so a four-year deal should suffice. I would give him a four-year deal worth $21,330,000 with $8,500,000 guaranteed ($4.5 million signing bonus).

Cap Number

Dead Money

Cap Savings

2014

$4,895,000

$8,500,000

-$3,605,000

2015

$6,145,000

$6,375,000

-$230,000

2016

$7,005,000

$4,250,000

$2,755,000

2017

$7,785,000

$2,125,000

$5,660,000

This deal would make De La Puente the eighth-highest paid center in the league. It's a win-win for both sides. Ironically, the template used for De La Puente's deal was the one used for David Baas. Let's hope that this deal works out better for the Giants.

Tarell Brown

There isn't much money left, but the Giants can make one other move. I really like Jayron Hosley and I think Trumaine McBride is very good depth. Terrell Thomas is decent, but he's a ticking time bomb. The Giants need a starter opposite Prince Amukamara. I know just the guy. Tarell Brown of the San Francisco 49ers is a free agent this year and has absolutely no buzz. He's a strong player, grading +15.3 in 2012, and +2.3 this year. He is 28 years old and would be the starting corner opposite Amukamara. The going rate for cornerbacks last year in his class like Sean Smith and Brent Grimes was $5.5 million. I predict we can nab Brown for less than that, given that this year's free agent class is loaded with quality players.

I will therefore grant him a three-year deal worth $14,600,000 and $9,500,000 guaranteed ($3.5 million signing bonus).

Cap Number

Dead Money

Cap Savings

2014

$3,566,667

$9,500,001

-$5,933,334

2015

$7,766,667

$6,333,334

$1,433,333

2016

$6,766,667

$3,166,667

$3,600,000

What would be our final cap number?

2014 Cap Space

$48,400

2015 Cap Space

$33,228,794

I understand that the Giants need some cap space for draft picks as well as some in the "emergency fund." Rest assured, after cutting some people post-draft, as well as a few others here and there, they might have to make one or two small restructures, and they should be okay. I've more or less run out of gas with the billions of calculations just done to go back and tweak.

The overarching message of this series anyway is two-fold:

1) If the Giants want to be, they can be a team that competes in 2014. They can sign all of their free agents that you would be concerned about losing (except Nicks), as well as shore up weak areas in free agency like center and cornerback.

2) The Giants can go into 2015 with more than $30 million in space. They have some big players going into free agency like Pierre-Paul, Amukamara, and Jacquian Williams. They can be well-equipped to handle it.

Are we done? I think so. Wait. Are we missing something? What else do we do in the offseason? Oh. Oh, that's right. There's that...

Next time: Invictus XI tries his best to simulate the draft to fill in the needs and finish this mock offseason series.

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