If the report is true that Eugene Monroe has rebuffed overtures from the New York Giants and won’t join them to play right tackle, and let’s not be certain that is the case, then where might the Giants turn in an effort to upgrade the offensive line?
First, let’s talk about Monroe.
Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported a few days ago that Monroe, a career-long left tackle, would not come to New York because he does not want to play right tackle. With all due respect to Cole, a single report doesn’t make it so. Until he signs somewhere else, or comes out and is actually quoted as saying he won’t play the right side, you have to believe the seven-year veteran is still in play for the Giants.
Some folks in the @bigblueview Twitter feed are irate that Giants’ GM Jerry Reese didn’t either trade for Monroe or overwhelm him with a contract offer and sign him quickly. Reese likely did not want to trade a draft pick AND be responsible for the $6.5 million base salary Monroe would have been due if he traded for him, and I can’t blame him for that. As for signing him as a free agent, all reports indicate that the Giants have tried. Remember, Monroe is a veteran free agent and it is probably to his benefit to take his time, perhaps even into the preseason, to see what opportunities develop. Less training and more money at the end of the day? Sounds like a pretty good plan.
Where would the Giants turn next?
Pardon the cliche, but as much as the focus is currently on Monroe he is not going to be the only fish in the sea. Let’s look at some other names to consider.
If the 31-year-old four-time Pro Bowler was a primary target for the Giants, they likely would have already signed him. Still, he is available and after barely playing last season for the Atlanta Falcons (just 10 snaps for the entire season) says he is healthier than he has been in several years.
"I'm finally healthy," Long told ESPN on Saturday before coaching at the University of Michigan Big Man camp. "This is the healthiest and best I've felt in probably about five, six years. My knee's back. I've just been working out, feeling good and ready for the opportunity when it comes along." ...
"When I wake up and my knee doesn't hurt, you know what I mean," Long said. "I feel the strength back. You can see it. You can feel it. My body feels good the way I'm moving, working out and how good I feel moving on it.”
Long has torn his right ACL twice, the last time in 2014. He isn’t the player he once was. The Giants visited with him twice last year before he signed with the Falcons. In his final year with the St. Louis Rams, Long played some right guard. With limited options, playing right tackle is likely not something he would object to.
Speculation continues to swirl about whether or not the currently retired 26-year-old San Francisco 49ers right tackle wants to return to the NFL. What seems obvious, though, is he doesn’t want to return to play for the 49ers. He is a Piscataway, N.J. native, played for Rutgers and with Marshall Newhouse at right tackle the Giants seem like an obvious landing spot.
We recently discussed the situation with the Minensota Vikings, where the 30-year-old Loadholt could be the odd man out after mising the 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon.
The second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has never been able to justify that draft status and is now in a competition for a starting job. He is still just 24 and entering the final year of his rookie deal. Might a trade for Joeckel as a one-year flier to see if he can handle the right side be possible?
As I said recently in my latest 53-man roster projection, I remain convinced that whether it is a backup or a starting right tackle at least one spot on the roster will go to an offensive lineman who is not currently with the Giants.
Coach Ben McAdoo said after the draft that “the story is yet to be written on the right side of the offensive line” and that the Giants would add a player “if the right somebody shows up.”
Should the Giants be unable to complete a move for a starter, and it is obvious they are continuing to try, it appears they will enter the season with John Jerry and Newhouse on the right side. In that scenario, they will count on improvement from Ereck Flowers in his second season and continuity of Jerry and Newhouse working together for two seasons to improve the line play.