Including players on injured reserve, the New York Giants have 26 players on their roster who can be free agents at the end of the 2013 season. So, with the Giants' season teetering on the edge of playoff elimination, the outcome of the five remaining games may not mean a whole lot. The games are, however, incredibly meaningful to the futures of several players.
Much of the discussion has been, and will continue to be, about the future of free-agent-to-be wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, but there are many other players whose futures with the Giants would, right now, seem to be up in the air. Let's look at a few of them.
Justin Tuck -- The veteran defensive end and co-captain has had an excellent bounce-back year after two down seasons. He has only 2.5 quarterback sacks, but he has been the defensive line's best run defender and his 41 quarterback pressures lead the team. My guess is the Giants bring Tuck back, but at far less than the $6.15 million cap hit he is costing this season.
Kevin Boothe -- There is little doubt the Giants need to re-structure the interior of their offensive line. Will Boothe be part of that? The 30-year-old now has a five-game audition to show that he can be the team's starting center.
John Conner/Henry Hynoski -- Which one of these guys will be the Giants' fullback going forward? Conner is a UFA, while Hynoski will be a restricted free agent. Conner has played very well in recent weeks, and his play the rest of the way might make the decision for the Giants. I don't see how both guys are back next season.
Brandon Myers -- The tight end will be one of the Giants' most interesting decisions. The revolving door at the position is getting old, and it certainly can't be helping the team's spotty red-zone production. Myers, mainly a pass-catching tight end, has only 29 receptions in 11 games. Will the Giants hang on to him, or go with youngsters Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson. Perhaps Myers' impact on the next five games will have something to do with the decision.
James Brewer -- The third-year offensive lineman doesn't fit the free-agent discussion, but he does find himself with an opportunity over the next five games to show whether or not he can be part of the solution to the Giants' struggles on the offensive. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Brewer has the size, strength and athleticism to help the Giants at guard. Can he take advantage of the opportunity the injury to Jim Cordle has given him and grab a starting job?
There are many other decisions the Giants have to make. What about the futures of David Baas and Chris Snee? Can they re-sign middle linebacker Jon Beason? Aside from Beason, do they have any linebackers they really want to build a defense around.
Over the next five games, though, these will be some of the interesting players to keep an eye on.